Song Categories Part 1 - Openers

Wouldn't it be great if everyone showed up on Sunday morning ready to worship?

Even if you do take the time to prepare before coming it can be offset by the whole process of getting the family out the door and to the church facility. I remember those days all to well! That's where the Opener comes in; its purpose is to remind us why we have come. It also helps us transition from what we were doing previously and shift our focus to God. You might call Opener songs, Come to Worship, Call to Worship, or maybe Walk In songs (I discovered this last handle as a result of exploring Sunday Setlists at

A good Opener simply redirects our attention back to the Lord. A great opener does it with more substance, but that is a judgment call. It depends on what the worship leader wants to emphasize and believes the congregation needs. Openers often set the tone for what is to come. Many Openers are upbeat, but they don't have to be. One classic example is "We Have Come into His House". Often Openers can be used as Response songs or Closers. "Lord I Lift Your Name on High", another classic, works well as an Opener, but we put it in the Response category because we have plenty of openers. Songs are often multipurpose, I have chosen to put songs in a single category because they are easier to manage, but I may depart from that in practice on special occasions.

It's not unusual when I'm worshipping somewhere else to see songs I have classified as openers show up in other places or to sing multiple openers. When multiple openers are present, something important may not be covered. I recently attend one worship service where Revelation Song (a great song to be sure) was used as an Opener. To me it seemed like a weighty song to just jump right into. The song was done with excellence by the worship team (it nearly matched the recording I have heard), but as I looked around, I observed few people singing and I could not help but wonder if the song was new, the congregation wasn't ready yet, or both. Does that mean Revelation Song can't work as an opener? Not at all, as I surfed the Sunday setlists this past week, I noticed it showed up as an Opener. We don't currently do Revelation Song, though I have been considering it, and it would be a great GITS-Jesus song and so it would be the second or third song in the first set.

We have plenty of openers to choose from. Here are five we use frequently:

Better Is One Day
1097451 Matt Redman ©1996 Kingsway's Thankyou Music/EMI Christian Music Publishing
The Heart of Worship
2296522 Matt Redman ©1999 Kingsway's Thankyou Music
Hosanna (Praise is rising)
4662491 Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown ©2005 Integrity's Hosanna! Music/ASCAP/Thank You Music
All Creatures of Our God and King (Classic Hymn)
Public Domain - St. Francis of Assisi, 1225 Words © J. Curewen & Sons
O Worship the King (Updated Classic Hymn)
Robert Grant/Chris Tomlin ©2004 Songs/sixsteps music

We have discovered Openers are one of the easiest songs categories to fill. They are very popular because they are usually upbeat, fun to sing, feel good songs which is not a bad thing in the mix of a balanced set.

What are your best opening songs?

Song Categories Part 2 - GITS: God in the Spotlight


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