Part of our desire of presenting a church to unbelievers as attractive, accommodating and accessible is the ability to create an atmosphere during the times we meet together. These times are primarily Sunday mornings; which is not a bad thing! Many people know that “Church happens on a Sunday” and so will come and find you on a Sunday if they want to. We should not neglect these meetings as they are often the most accessible way for unbelievers to find us!

This ‘atmosphere’ that we create can be achieved through many factors, but I want to focus on just one in this post, which is the pre-service playlist.

Scientifically speaking, background music can actually cause people to relax, communicate in a greater way and encourages people to engage with what is going on. On the flip side of this, entering a room that is quiet can cause people to feel intimidated, self-conscious and inward-thinking. Background music is found everywhere – shops, cafés, car journeys, homes.

Here’s some tips on how to make the most of the pre-service playlist; how to create one, how to choose the songs and how to keep it up to date.

Use iTunes, Spotify, Google Play etc.

It’s important to take advantage of the technologies available to us and the services that we use every day. The majority of people nowadays have smart phones with some sort of music player on them. Services such as iTunes, Spotify and Google Play are a great way to create playlists. They can be accessed on multiple devices and all offer ways of streaming or playing music without interruptions.

Create playlists for different moods and genres

You might have one playlist that is full of energetic, up-tempo, electronic music which would be perfect to play at the start of a youth service, but it may not be appropriate for a Sunday morning service where you have families, elderly people and young children present. Equally, you would not want to play a selection of slower, thought-provoking songs at the start of a youth service! Think about your audience, the service type and the time of day that your playlist will be played. Take advantage of the ability to create multiple playlists and create enough that mean you don’t have to repeat the same one every week.

Create playlists of new songs that the worship team are learning

Any worship leader will tell you that it can be very difficult to get a congregation of people on board with a new song straight away. It often takes weeks of repetition before they feel comfortable. This process can be helped by the pre-service playlists though. A playlists that contains some of the new songs can be played for a few weeks before the song is sung on a Sunday, and the congregation will already find themselves familiar with the song, often without realising!

Don’t be afraid to use ‘non-christian’ music

It can often be a relief to some people to hear songs playing that aren’t christian. Playing some up-beat, happy, funky songs that were released in the charts recently can be just as useful as playing christian songs of the same genre. Show visitors that you aren’t always super spiritual and religious, but that you are contemporary and relevant and actually enjoy the same music that they do. It’s obviously wise to make sure that the lyrics are appropriate before playing the song so that people do not get offended. A great example of a song to use could be ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.

Do you have any tips on creating a successful pre-service playlist? Why not comment below and let us know.