I just had 12 people over for a church music meeting. It was the first official church thing I've done and it was lots of fun.
We sang songs, shared our best experiences of congregational singing, talked through Colossians 3:16 (the kinds of things I wrote about in this post), then got on to specifics about song choice etc.
My current thinking is that songs should be:
Clear - what point is there if no one can understand what it's about?
True - look for subtleties. A slightly wrong picture of God is a big deal in a song that is stuck in your head.
Worthwhile - is this song worth giving 8% of our weekly time together to? If not, scrap it.
Memorable - we want what we sing to minister to people during the week. If they won't remember it, what's the point? and
Moving - This one is more subjective, but singing is an emotional thing. If a song doesn't do anything to you, why would you bother with it?
I'm on a rampage against 'nothing' songs. A 'nothing' song is one that has no impact, that does nothing, that is immediately forgotten - if it was ever noticed in the first place. Nothing songs have no place in our churches. Death to them all.
The challenge is to choose a good set (maybe 25 for a semester) of 'something' songs, and present them as 'something' songs. (It's easy to make a 'something' song into a 'nothing' song through poor preparation.) In the way we lead we are to help the congregation understand the meaning of the song, feel its weight, remember it's truth and live it so that Jesus will be glorified.