The Importance of Song Selection w/ Brian Doerksen

As worship leaders, it’s important to choose the songs we’re adding to our setilsts with thoughtfulness and care. It’s not always best to choose the newest song or most popular song. Matt McCoy from Loop Community sat down with songwriter Brian Doerksen to talk about why it’s important to choose songs with care, and how to do it.

Why should we be selective in choosing songs?

Brian: “Our song selection, that which we repeatedly sing, is either formative or de-formative. We sing these songs on repeat with a community of people. When we sing songs with a community of people they are more deeply imprinted on us. The words of these songs matter because they guide us and aim us towards what really matters in life. What our priorities, values and character should be.”

How would you say that songs form or deform us?

Brian: “It’s actually connected to how the brain works. When you take a set of words and fuse it with a melody, it goes to a completely different part of the brain then when you speak or read something. We can call on these memories when we’re in need and when we’re in trouble, and it can create a tendency in our heart and mind towards certain actions. Our goal in worship is to put ourselves in God’s presence to be more like Christ and take on the mindset of Christ. So singing songs about Jesus and what He did is formative. Whereas repeatedly singing songs that are about power, mindless entertainment, etc, can deform us and harden our hearts.”

How do you choose the right songs?

Brian: “It’s all about the lyrical content. I love music, I love great melodies, and chord progressions. But it’s all about the lyrics. Are the lyrics making the connection between what’s inside us and what’s going on in our lives? Choose music that helps people yearn to become more Christ-like.”

For more on this topic check out the full interview below!