Connecting Songs With Scripture

Intentionally Sharing Scripture During A Worship Set

“A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence, and to live for God’s glory.” - Bob Kauflin

The Need

Recently, our pastor has been pushing us to be more intentional about times of reflection and meditation in our worship gatherings. At our last night of worship, there were a few moments where the music quieted down and we fixed our attention on Scripture that was being displayed on screens. It was during these moments that I felt the Lord use His Word to tell us something new and give us a new reason to sing.

The Word of God changes us. It expounds who God is, what Jesus has done, what’s to come, and who we are in Christ. The Psalmist in Psalm 119 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light to my path.” God’s Word speaks and directs us in His will. So often, however, it can be an after thought in our times of corporate singing.

What Do I Do?

So, this Sunday is approaching and you feel like the Holy Spirit is prompting you to share Scripture before a song. Where do you start? Which passage should you choose? What if you choose the wrong verses? I have asked myself these same questions. Here are just a few things that I hope will help you as you let Scripture lead your church.

Selecting scripture for your set:

  • Fall in love with reading the Bible: A great place to start when you’re planning to share is with your own personal study time. What is God showing as you pray, listen, and study the Bible? I know as worship leaders we can some times be guilty of just skimming through the Bible, looking for an applicable excerpt to set up a song. And sometimes, that works. Other times, it’s not enough for you to share a verse that doesn’t mean anything personally to you. There is so much potential for intimacy in the Body of Christ when we exhort one another with our own revelations that God has given us.
  • Analyze the context: Is the song you are singing declarative, petitionary, or poetic? It’s important to know what you are saying in your song and why you are saying it in worship before you pick which scripture you are going to share.
  • Consider direct and indirect relationships: Sometimes a song is a paraphrase of scripture and you just need to share that scripture before you sing. Other times the word you are about to share indirectly supports the song and needs explanation in order to tie the two together. And finally it could be scripture that just expands the hearer’s thoughts on the nature of God or what you are singing about.
  • Examine extra-musical components: Are there other factors you need to consider before picking a bible verse to share? Look at your set and think about how the verse you choose would work with the whole of your gathering musically and thematically. Also consider the season your church is in and what your community is going through.
  • Combine it with the song: Think and pray about where the best place to share your Scripture is. There are plenty of ways to combine Scripture with a song, so feel free to get creative. Perhaps you share in the beginning of the song in order to help your church understand why they are singing that particular song. Or maybe a better place would be in the middle of a song, during an instrumental. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
  • Presenting it in worship: The execution is where many worship leaders fall flat (including myself). We can often over plan our oration to the point of it feeling sterile or we can wing it and end up freezing or rambling on and on. Ultimately, do what works for you, but here are a few steps to help you as you think things through.
    1. Write out what you want to say first and edit it. I know that may seem counter-intuitive to some but it will help you narrow the focus of what you are going to say.
    2. Establish a main point. What’s the one thing you want your church to remember when you finish speaking? Stick to that.
    3. Eliminate unnecessary details. Unnecessary details take away from your main point. Get rid of them.
    4. Be confident! Once you start to speak you must trust the Holy Spirit. He will guide you through it and any small blunders or mistakes will be covered by His grace.

I hope this helps you as you prepare for Sunday. For most people, public speaking takes practice. So don't be discouraged if it doesn't feel natural at first! God is faithful and is continually speaking to His Church. It is not our responsibility to create a "spiritual experience" for people. Our responsibility as worship leaders is to ask as we plan and sing, "God, what do you want to say to this church? Show me, please."