Five Steps to Develop Your Music Plan – Part 2

Have you been there before?

After leading a powerful worship set, you come to the end of the final song. It’s a
quiet moment of worship and the congregation fully engaged and focused on God, when . . .

. . . the “announcements guy” comes out with a big laugh and smile, and sets a completely different tone from the one you just created.

On their own, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about either of these worship service elements. But back to back in your worship service, the light and fun announcement time quickly jerks the congregation out of the moment like going from 1st gear to 3rd gear without pushing in the clutch.

Last week we kicked off this new series on Five Questions every worship leader needs to ask each week to help them develop their Music Plan for Sunday.

Your music plan is more than just your set list… it’s your map for making sure that the Sunday service isn’t just “three songs and a sermon”, but is a powerful, transformative time of actual worship.

Today we’re going to look at the 2nd question for developing your music plan, and this one is all about creating the right “flow” in the service:

How does this worship set connect with the rest of the worship order?

There’s a temptation as a worship leader to focus only on the 20+ minutes of music in the service on Sunday. Not what comes before or after… just the music.

The problem is that if, like the opening scenario above, you’re taking the service one direction and all the other elements of the service are heading another direction, rather than create a service that effortlessly moves the congregation from beginning to end, you can actually take people about of the moment where God is working in their heart.

So – as you create your music set list each week, you must do so with an eye on everything else that’s happening in the worship order and how the set you’re selecting fits into it.

Here are 3 principles to keep in mind when planning your set:

#1 – What’s before the song or set?
If it’s your opening set, and you use a video clip pre-service to set up the topic of the day, you probably want to start with a quick introduction to that days topic, and then make sure your first song fits into that theme as well.

If your final song of the day is after the message, talk with your Pastor to see how he’s planning to end the message. Not every song after the message has to be “reflective”. Sometimes your Pastor will want to end the service with a challenge, so you’ll want a more “motivating” song. Sometimes, he’ll end  upbeat, so you’ll want a “let’s stand and celebrate” song. Knowing what comes before your set, will help you keep the mood that’s already being created.

#2 – What’s after the song or set?
This past Sunday at The Journey we ended our opening set with a very quiet moment of worship. And like the story above, our welcome time is very upbeat. So rather than pulling people out of the moment at the end of the set, I worked with one of our pastors to come out at the end of the song, say a few words to connect the song to the topic of the day, and wrap-up with a prayer for what God wanted to show us. A simple idea, but one that allowed us to create a great moment in the service, rather than a great distraction.

#3 – What’s the Big Idea?
Finally, make sure that wherever your set falls in the overall worship order that you’re planning songs that will keep the theme or topic of the day on track. Check out last weeks article to learn more on this.

Remember – It doesn’t matter how great the worship set you have planned, if it doesn’t take into account what’s before it, what’s after it, and what the big idea of the day is, you (and your congregation) will leave the service wondering why all the pieces quite didn’t fit together today.

So — how are you doing at connecting your worship set with the rest of the worship order? This week ask, “What is before and after the set and how can I choose music that fits into the overall flow?”


Your partner in ministry,




PS – Want to go deeper on this topic? The Leading with Authority in Rehearsal will teach you how to locate the moments of life transformation in your worship order and make the most of the opportunities you have to lead your congregation in worship ever week.

The quality of your worship service on Sunday is directly determined by your ability to lead an effective rehearsal during the week. After all, poor worship rehearsals mean poor worship sets on Sunday.

The Leading with Authority in Rehearsal resource will teach you a proven system for relieving your stress and maximizing your ability to to lead powerful and effective rehearsals and worship sets.

In this 3-hour resource you will discover the secrets of:

  • Removing the fear of how the worship set will go this Sunday
  • How to bring the best out of the musicians on your team
  • Where your authority comes from in rehearsal, and how to use it to create a culture of excellence
  • How to develop your vision for the worship set and inspire your team to embrace it
  • The 4-Step process that will radically transform the culture of your team, create accountability and ensure everyone lives up to your expectations
  • How to create your Music Plan for maximum impact each week
  • How to invest personally into the lives of your Worship Team members at rehearsal and the weekend service
  • The Journey’s Nine Core Values for Music Planning and how to begin writing your own
  • How to lead a music planning meeting, and the Five Questions you need to be asking every week to get ready for rehearsal!
  • Avoiding the #1 mistake that keeps your Sunday worship set from being incredible!
  • Building momentum, removing distractions and leading your church into powerful worship this Sunday!
  • Cutting your rehearsal time in half and creating more time for personal investment and vision casting
  • How to turn “difficult” team members into your biggest allies
  • The one rehearsal principle that will dramatically reduce your stress on Sunday (Hint: it’s not what you think!)
  • How to guarantee that every team member arrives on-time, prepared and knowing their parts
  • Plus much more!

This 3-CD resource also includes a Full Resouce CD complete with:

  • A fill-in-the-blank printable notebook
  • Expectations of The Journey Music Team
  • Real-life examples of emails and communication that Jason uses to prepare his team for rehearsal every week
  • Notes from recent Music Planning Meetings with The Journey’s planning team.
  • Worship Orders with in-depth notes and instructions to help you communicate with your team.
  • The Journey’s “famous” Top 10 list for new team members PLUS The Journey’s Sunday Dress Code for Music Team Members


  • 2-hour mp3 of Jason teaching values and expectations to The Journey Worship Arts Team that you can use to teach your team as well.
  • FREE Download of the “Creating Servants, Not Superstars” audio resource (a $23.95 value)
  • FREE Download of “Run to Conflict” audio resource (a $23.95 value)

Immediately download the complete 3-hour training and Bonus Resources and SAVE!


Secure your 3-CD set here


Jason Hatley
Pastor of Worship Arts
The Journey Church