I am oftentimes guilty of teaching a new song to my congregation on a Sunday, without either committing myself or making sure it’s possible to use that same song the following Sunday. I’ll teach a song and the congregation will hear it and join in towards the end, and then will either decide to dump the song, or let several weeks pass before I use it again. Bad idea.
If you (and by “you” I mean “me”) are going to teach a song to your congregation, then you have to commit (and make sure it’s possible) to follow through with that new song and use it again, if possible, the next Sunday. This helps people learn it. This helps them feel confident enough in it to start to sing it. Better yet, if you do it a third week in a row, a critical mass of people will actually “know” the song and sing it out.
It’s not fair to your congregation to teach them a new song, then let a week or two (or more) pass before doing it again. It gives them whiplash. You’ve known it for months, they haven’t. You’ve practiced it, they haven’t. You’ve gone through it with your team and worked on getting it right, but they haven’t. They need time with a new song to get acquainted with it. Give them that time.
And don’t do what I do, which is do a song once, and make a decision based on that one usage of the song whether or not it’s worth using again. You can’t tell, after using a song one time, if it’s a keeper or not. Maybe you butchered it and need to try it again. Maybe they just couldn’t hear the melody clearly enough. Who knows. If a song seems to be a dud the first time, I still suggest you follow-through, since you took the time to teach it in the first place, and let people attempt to get to know it.
It’s not often when a song catches on the very first time. It usually takes 4 or 5 times for people to hear it and sing it to get comfortable with it. So give a new song several rounds on a Sunday morning before you decide if it’s a regular or not. This is advice I need to hear!