Why It's Important.
You can check out my previous three posts about worship repertoire! We need to keep our hearts fresh with new songs, yet not overload our overall worship repertoire. We also need to stay current to allow for fresh people and a fresh movement in our church settings.
It's Not About When the Music Was Written.
When we say we need to take out the old to make room for the new, we are not talking about chopping out all the hymns. We could be chopping out the more modern songs. This is about taking out songs that are "feeling" old. Why would you keep a song around in your repertoire that people aren't engaging with? It's like eating a year old steak. Why not start fresh?
New Music That Doesn't Work.
There is no shame in removing new music from your repertoire that isn't working. (Check out the post on new music to have a better concept of this area.) When you first introduce a new song, please keep in mind that people will most likely not engage right away. They need to learn it first. This takes 4-5 times for most people. So don't give up on a new song. Stick to the process of frequency for new songs on that previous post.
However, once a song has been done 4-5 times and it still isn't gaining any traction, take it out of the repertoire. There is no point to using a song that you like if people aren't engaging. This brings up an important note: Be careful choosing your songs. It is NOT healthy for a church to have lots of new songs that are only being done 4-5 times without having songs stick around for a while. A good new song should stick around in your repertoire for a few years.
Older Music that Doesn't Work.
There may be songs which the church really gravitated towards and worship well with that have lost their punch. Don't keep a song around simply because it once worked or because you or a few people still like the song. Use it at home in your own worship. But remove it from the church's repertoire. Keep music in the repertoire that works for the mass, not the few.
Struggling with those Hymns.
No need to struggle! Treat the hymns and older songs like new songs. You may be in a church like mine which loves hymns yet loves the new stuff. Don't feel like you need to keep hymns around forever. Treat them like the newer songs. When they get stale, take them out. If they aren't stale, keep them. And keep in mind that there's no reason why a hymn can't be brought back a few years later as a "new" song. Just remember to treat it as a "new" song for all those newer people (and for the older ones who forget)!
When to Remove Repertoire.
This depends on your worship department. Some churches remove repertoire once every few years. Some churches remove repertoire every month. Ideally, removing repertoire every 3-6 months would be best. If you wait too long, the overall repertoire gets too big, which was addressed on a previous posting. If you do it too often you may remove songs which need some time to breathe and in doing so remove a song prematurely.
Bottom Line: Keep your worship repertoire fresh. Know your church. Rely on your team for thoughts: worship team members, speakers, senior pastor, congregants. Most importantly, use what you can to see Jesus lifted up (Romans 1:16)! It's not about the song. It's about Him!
worship Him 24/7...
Special Note to Worship Pastors or Worship Leaders (whoever has final say on the repertoire):
You will always be told opinions. People will always have preferences. Including yourself. Pray God would help you to use these as tools to make a decision, and go straight towards it. Then keep going. Otherwise you will get side tracked by people's preferences. One sad fact remains as leader: You can not make everyone happy. But you can make God happy. He already IS happy with you if you know Christ! So pick a direction for your repertoire with his discernment and the discernment of those on your team and go!