What is “wordy” in worship


In our worship ministry, we have more than one worship leader. I don’t mean the overseer, I mean the worship leader that leads worship in a particular service.

I am one of them.

And we are all different in the way we lead, the songs we choose and the style we have. We are musically different, our talents are different, our ideas of what worship is- is also different.

God created us to all be different and that is great, otherwise, our services would be pretty mundane.

But there is one area that we have never seen eye to eye on, and that is acceptable songs.

I love new and fresh mixed in with traditional.  I don’t like burning out a song because it is easy and repetitive. But I also understand that the congregation needs to be able to sing along.

Recently one of the debates has been that some of the newer songs are “too wordy”. One of the worship leaders feels that leading those songs make us “song leaders” and not worship leaders.

I disagree.

May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalms 19:14

If one was to sing a verse of the Psalms, that would be wordy. Rarely were the Psalms repetitive. They told a story, they spoke of and to the Most High God. They took people on a journey to know Him more. They were lengthy because they had something to say. They were not short and “to the point”. They were meditations of the heart, to be pleasing to God.

Now, there is a time for songs that only have a verse and a chorus. Especially if you take time to worship freely in the middle of the song, or God gives you a new verse to sing spontaneously. But to do 3 songs in a row that only have a verse/chorus combo is draining of the atmosphere of worship.

Here is 1 point:

The congregation does not alway have to sing along.

Singing a verse that is long, but leads up to the chorus engages them so much more. We are telling them a story, and then asking them to participate in that story. If they sing the entire song, sometimes they miss out on singing scripture, or singing with deeper meaning.

Point 2:

How is singing a “wordy” song any different than a wordy worship leader that talks for 3 minutes in the middle of each and every song?

If you have a worship leader that is also a preacher, chances are- they can’t help but talk TO the congregation when there is silence. They preach and speak words that the congregation has to stop worshipping to listen to the speaker now talk.

Point 3:

Singing the same verse over and over causes people to lose focus and forget the meaning of the song.

There is a difference in repeating a verse to drive the point home, and repeating so many times it becomes nothing more than an empty chant.

What if we only sang one verse to How Great is Our God-?

How great is our God – sing with me
How great is our God – and all will see
How great, how great is our God

But have a soloist bring in

“The splendor of a king
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps Himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice”

When you go back into the chorus with the congregation engaged, they now are singing How great and awesome is our God, they are singing of his splendor, they see Him coming in light, and the darkness trembling at His feet.

Point 4:

The content of the words matter more than the length of the verse.

If you choose to sing a song that has no scriptural reference, or is not relevant to your congregation, then it will be boring- wordy and possibly selfish. But again, a short song can be selfish too. If the song is easy sing along to and the words are scripturally sound, why not sing a long song that sings praises to God without getting repetitive and loses the congregation’s focus?

Point 5:

What the Pastor wants, matters more than what the worship leader wants.

If your Pastor is asking for a specific song, or genre, or theme- follow his advice. I bet when your Pastor gives you a song choice, he is not asking you to only sing the chorus and 1 verse. (Unless he specifically asks that of course). If your Pastor asks when you are going to get a new song out and why you are still singing a rotation of songs that are 10 years old, it is time to listen to the heartbeat of the shepherds God has placed over your church. If the worship team is not in step with the pastor, the enemy will take that division and run with it. If the worship is not God centered, the rest of the service falls apart. From the pulpit to the nursery.

Now, I will agree that not every good song has a place in a worship service. If it the rhythm is hard for a congregation to follow, has too many pattern changes or does not have strong meaning- is it better left for a special song, or exit music over the PA.

Chose your music prayerfully- if you are a new church just stating, a simple, 2 verse song will impact your services in a big way, but if you are over 10 years old and you are still stuck on singing simple songs, be careful that you are not hindering God to a simple, boring service in the name of tradition and simplicity.

How do you feel about singing a song that has more than 1 verse with more than 2 lines?




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