This is your personal repertoire. It is a stock list of songs which you know internally. Songs which live in you. Songs that you can sing and connect with from a real place in your heart. Songs you could sing with spirit and with truth (John 4:24).
So, let's talk about repertoire. For those of you in a worship team or department use these posts to consider why you do what you do. For those of you who are not leading worship, here's some info that might help understand why those people on stage do what they do! Today, we will start with a big issue for many churches and worship departments: the number of songs in our repertoire.
Why it's Important.
Too many songs in the repertoire make it difficult for the congregation to worship.
Size of Repertoire.
The size of your repertoire is dependent upon how often you use the music. And that is dependent on how many songs you sing on a normal Sunday. A church which uses 3 songs (12-15 min) each week will have a very small repertoire compared to a church that uses 8 songs (35-40 min) each week. Take your average number of songs per week and multiply it by 12. A church with 3 songs a Sunday would benefit with a repertoire of 30-40 songs. A church with 8 songs each week would be around 90-100 songs. It's would be a general rule because...
This depends on a few factors. If yours is a "worshiping church" which is very engaged you could possibly have more songs. If the church struggles to engage, decrease the repertoire. If the church has established songs which have been around for decades and every one knows you could have a bigger repertoire. But keep in mind that it can discourage newer people, who do not know the music, which eventually will cause the worship and the church to fade away.
At our church, we normally have 6 songs (24-30 min) each week. This would put us at 70-80 songs. That's the ideal. We also have many older hymns and worship songs which the current congregation knows very well, so we've kept our range higher at the moment... 105-115 songs. This has been a big change for us. Prior to my arrival the repertoire was at 300 songs. Many people did not know the music and as a result worship engagement was low.
Bottom line: a repertoire that is too big or too small can negatively impact your church's corporate worship time. If they don't know the music well, worship is difficult.
Frequency of Repertoire.
An average song for an average person would take 4-5 uses in order to really learn the song. (We will talk about this more in our next post on new songs.) Considering this, the average person will not be able to freely worship with a decent amount of music over a long period of time unless they use it frequently enough. (Obviously a song like Amazing Grace would be an exception for many if they lived and breathed it for many years. But most songs are not like Amazing Grace!)
Keeping this in mind, you want to aim at having each song in your repertoire sung 4-5 times in a given year to keep it on their personal internal repertoire. (New songs will need to be used more often. See the next post.) Take your repertoire size, multiply it by 50 weeks out of a year (Sundays like Christmas that use special songs get a pass) then divide it by the number of songs in your repertoire. For example... a church with 6 songs each week times 50 weeks would have 300 song slots. Divide that by a repertoire of 75 and you get 4. That is a healthy frequency number for songs (4-5 times a year). A less healthy example would be a church with a 300 song repertoire with 6 songs per week. That only allows each song to be sung once a year. This would frustrate many in the worship setting.
Know your church. These numbers are great guidelines. But... You need to know your church. Talk to people. Find out if they feel they know most of the songs on a given Sunday. Notice whether they are engaged or not. As worship departments, know your church. Be more concerned about their worship than getting excited about what you want to do. We are here to minister to God and to them!
All this helps people to worship in SPIRIT and in TRUTH (John 4:24). Rather than trying to struggle learning or remembering how a song goes!
worship Him 24/7...
PS - For those of you who may say, "I don't want to sing the same music again," remember this... day and night they never stop singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy" (Revelation 4:8).