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5 Big Reasons That New Song Tanked, Part 2

5 Big Reasons That New Song Tanked, Part 2

By Jon Nicol on January 08, 2015

We’re looking at reasons that new song we selected for gathered worship didn’t really seem to connect. If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.

The first two reasons had to do with us not selecting a song that fit our congregation, and not helping the congregation want to sing it. But even if we pick the right song and present it well to the congregation, it can still fall flat for these final three reasons.

3. I Didn’t Really Teach The Song

Another reason why new songs tank is because we never actually teach them. We expect non-musicians to pick up on songs like we do, and they don’t. (Click to tweet!)

What do I even mean by teaching? I mean intentionally going through the song piece by piece: “Hey everyone, this is a new song. Let’s learn it. Here’s how the chorus goes…now let’s try that together...now let me teach you a verse…alright…let’s give that a try...and then we’ll get to this section called the bridge. Let’s learn that…"

Does that take you out of the “flow” of worship? Sure. But so does playing a song nobody knows.

Teaching a song does two things. First, it says, "We value your participation and we care that you know this song.” And secondly, “We expect you to sing along. We’re not here to put on a concert.”

4. I Didn’t Give The Song Enough Time And Exposure

So you can pick the right song, sell it to your congregation, and teach it to them, but if you don’t give it enough exposure over time, it won’t catch on.

 One of the reasons Top 40 songs become Top 40 songs is because they get so much airplay. Some are great songs and deserving of the high rotation. Some are just catchy and fun and people want to hear more. But all of them benefit from the high rotation of a top 40 radio station.

I started experimenting with repeating my newer songs at a higher rate of rotation for a longer time a few years ago. It’s paid off. It was a huge factor in making new songs stick.

Here’s a great indicator if you’re repeating your songs enough:

Your team is getting sick of them.

When your worship team is starting to get tired of a song, your congregation is probably just starting to catch on. (Click to tweet!)

5. I've Introduced Too Many Other New Songs

One of the reasons we don’t give songs enough time and exposure is that we have too many new songs in the rotation.

In my younger days, I used to be a serial song introducer. I’d introduce a new song every couple weeks, but people can only learn so many new songs.

Currently, I will rotate a new song in only about once a month. Occasionally more. Often less.

Are there a lot of great songs I just have to pass on? Absolutely—and it kills me. But if I can’t take time to introduce, teach, and repeat it effectively, then it doesn’t matter that it’s a great song.

So these five reasons aren’t the only reasons why new songs tank, but they’re definitely five of the big ones. Would love to hear your comments below. What are some ways you help new songs stick?


To dive deeper into the topic of songs for worship, you can download a free resource called, 7 Checkpoints to a Healthy Master Song List.

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Jon Nicol

Jon Nicol (Guest Writer)

Jon Nicol is a worship pastor, coach, blogger and author of "The SongCycle: How to Simplify Worship Planning and Re-Engage Your Church." You can learn more about him and his many free resources at WorshipTeamCoach.com.

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