There are times when choosing songs for corporate worship on Sundays is easy. Themes, keys, grooves, transitions, dynamics, blend of new versus old, etc., all seem to come together in beautiful stream of inspiration, as if the very gates of heaven have been opened and you are guided by God himself which songs to sing.
Then there are times when choosing songs is not so easy. You stare at your song list in a haze of depression, with every option feeling worn-out, too new, too fast, too slow, not right, done too recently, a bad fit, or uninspiring, and you pray that Jesus would either come back between now and Sunday morning, or zap with you a lighting bolt of creativity. That lightning bolt never comes.
And the computer screen stares at you, menacingly, waiting for you to think of a brilliant list of songs.
So what do you do when you can’t think of songs for Sunday?
Stop thinking about songs for Sunday.
You’re not likely to make any huge progress when you’re in that murky haze of song-selection burn-out. Move on to another task, go mow the lawn, play with your kids, sing some worship songs under your breath (or louder) while you wash the dishes, and clear your head as much as you can. Get the song-selection part of your brain completely turned off. You might be surprised how, once you’ve stopped thinking of what songs to sing on Sunday, God finally tells you what songs to sing on Sunday.
Song-selection brain freeze can be brought on by many different factors. Fatigue is the number one factor; when you’ve been picking songs for services for weeks and months with no break. Spiritual dryness is the second factor, when you haven’t been worshipping God in the intimacy of your home or car. And finally, mental ruts keep you going back to the same sources, same routines, and the same favorites. You can’t break through all of these things by thinking really hard and having an “aha!” moment.
So in the short term, when you can’t think of what songs to sing, stop thinking of what songs to sing. Clear your mind, and you’ll find that when you reach for the tupperware bowl in your pantry, you all of the sudden get an idea for your opening song.
But in the long-term, if you’re experiencing this murkiness on a regular basis, you need a vacation. You need at least two Sundays off in a row. You’ll find that you come back refreshed with clearer vision and clarity about things like what songs to sing. Give yourself a break!