I’m not the best worship leader. I can lead and am willing to help. But there are many more capable musicians here at FCBC Walnut and I am willing to support them whenever I can. I had the opportunity to lead music in the college group recently, and I want to share about the process of planning my set.
The sermon that night was on Ephesians 4:1-6. The theme of the passage was unity—specifically, unity amongst the body of Christ. The first thought that I had was, “What kind of songs would talk about unity?” This was a tough question to answer and I spent a couple of days working through different songs and praying over them. Here is what I came up with and why I chose these songs.
Scripture reading: Psalm 32
I began praise with a call to worship from Psalm 32. This psalm speaks about the need for confession in our lives. By confessing our sins to God, we receive the pleasant relief and joy of His great mercy. The last verse of the psalm speaks of our response to God’s mercy—in great joy for God.
I chose this psalm as an opening because I wanted to set our hearts to focus upon what unites us together as a body. It is God’s grace that unites us together through the sacrifice of Christ. Without Christ, there is no unity, because there is no forgiveness of our sins. One of the great blessings of Christ is the removal of hostility between people caused by sin.
Song 1: Grace Alone
This song has been the theme song for our series through Ephesians. It speaks greatly about how the grace of God is our center for everything. It enables us to run this race together towards God. And God’s grace is bestowed upon us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
I opened the set with this song because it wrapped up everything taught in Ephesians 1–3. It provided a great theological foundation for the topic of unity in Ephesians 4.
Song 2: He Will Hold Me Fast
I prayed about this one for a while. This song had been on my heart for a while and I loved singing it. It speaks of how our salvation is held not by our own strength but by the faithfulness of Christ. I ultimately decided on this song because I wanted to remind us that our unity is not held together by our own work. It is held together by Christ. Christ is our cornerstone. He is our identity. He is the head of our union. I took a minute to explain this to the fellowship before singing the song.
I meditated over Ephesians 4:1-6 for a day, just trying to think through the central implication and application of this passage. After mulling over the verses, verse 2 jumped out to me. The passage speaks about how our unity is defined by our humility, gentleness, and patience. In other words, in order to walk in unity with one another, we must constantly look to serve others above ourselves.
Therefore, I went to find two songs that put us in a position of humility. I thought these two songs fitted well to create that attitude. The first song reminded us that our worth is always and only in Christ alone. It moved our eyes away from our own success to the benefit of the body of Christ. The second song simply applied the attitude of humility to prayer. Our lives are no longer our own but instead they are an offering to God.
(Side note: For this song, I used the Chris Tomlin version. However, because I personally find the added chorus of this version hard to sing, I decided to take it out. While it’s a great chorus, I didn’t want to distract the congregation with my inability to sing the right notes.)
Song 4: The Stand (Chorus only)
I mainly put this in here because I wanted to end my opening set with a chorus. I like The Stand, but I don’t like leading the entire song for worship. I feel like the lyrics of the verses don’t really make logical sense and the melody isn’t intuitive for congregational singing. But the chorus is great! It works well as a response song to a deep theological truth. Given how theological my previous songs were, I think a simple chorus like The Stand was a great way to end the opening set.
Closing song: O Church Arise
After the sermon, I decided to use this song to wrap up the central idea of the message. O Church Arise really captured the entirety of Ephesians 4–6. It speaks of the church rising together as one against the evils of this world. That really is the purpose of the church: To stand strong for the gospel, as one body in Christ alone. And most importantly, to remember that our strength is drawn from God.