I guess maybe I don't listen to enough worship or something, because it seems that as soon as I catch on to one worship leader, there are a hundred others that everyone but me is familiar with. Is there a CD service you guys use that automatically ships you new music, or do you just go in the store and browse? Also, how do you keep it affordable? I go to a small church, and we just don't have the money to support my "music habit" as much as I would like.
I just found yourmusic.com today, by the way, where all the CDs are $6.99 plus free shipping. You might want to check it out.
Get two things - 1) a subscription to CCLI's song select which gives you a lot of resources, your church should be able to spring for the ~200 per year. You get song scores, chord sheets, lyrics, videos etc. 2) Rhapsody is only $9-$14 /month and gives you access to most of the worship that's out there in an all you can eat format. I've actually spent hours combing through hundreds of songs to come up with potentials.
Also, if you have Christian radio, turn it on from time to time. I don't spend a lot of time on there, but every once in a while, it yields something good.
The ccli song select option is a really good tool. They also have the top 100 used songs, which can help as a guide to which songs might work in your church if it's working in a lot of others, but don't limit yourself to it either, I know a lot of other songs that are gems that never show up in the ccli radar.
I don't have Rhapsody, but iTunes works really well. I only add a new song maybe once a month, if not less than that so spending 99¢ for a song is pretty reasonable to me, and they have a pretty large selection. I only buy a few albums that I know I'll like listening to whether I use some of the songs or not. I also find it's more helpful to be familiar with praise and worship "producers" rather than each individual artist that way you get a range of songs written by different people. Right now at the top of my head, the three "powerhouse" organizations putting out some of the more popular praise and worship songs that I can think of are Hillsong, Passion, and recently, Jesus Culture. Some of the larger churches also put out some good stuff, New Life Christian Church, Gateway Church, and Vineyard.
I know Worship Leader Magazine has a "Song discover" cd where they mail out a collection of new songs. My pastor did that for 2 years and I honestly didn't care for their selections, but rather found new material on my own.
I keep up on the internet. Check the bands/artists webpage and you can usually listen to/preview the song right there streaming on the website. If not, there is youtube (free). Also check out some magazines maybe?
I understand there are a few sources for new material with chord charts and sheet music included in the price. We use Club Vineyard and get 3-4 cd's a year with all the fixins' included. A lot of Vineyard music has the chords either embedded in the cd or downloadable with purchase of the music. I know other sources do this as well, but am not that familiar with any of them. Hopefully somebody else on the site uses these sources. Here's the one we use.
You have to pay extra for the tracks you want to burn, but you can pull them down to your iPhone or MP3 player as part of the "anywhere" subscription. I pay 14 per month and can put anything I want onto my iPhone with the new Rhapsody app. It's a great app because it will actually download to your iPhone and you can play the songs when offline.
I usually keep an eye on what other worship leaders are doing. Check the monthly set lists that are on this site. Often there will be songs I have not done. I go to Youtube and give them a listen and decide if it may be a song I would like to incorporate in my sets. I also have other worship leader friends who share with me any new songs they may be considering. And another really good way is to listen to various Christian radio stations around the country. Many of them you can listen live on the internet. I just found a couple of new tunes from a station I listen to 1000 miles away from me.
Yup. I have Dish for my TV and it's got some "religious" channels beyond the typical TBN fare. I pick up HillSong once a week and check out what they're doing. There are several others, many of which are sub par, but I keep looking and find a jewel from time to time.
Get a subscription to Rhapsody. Yes, it is $10 a month, but you can listen to all the music there.
Check out CCMMagazine.com TONS of stuff there. Worship songs can come from just about anywhere, so study up. These pages will be especially helpful:
Fellowship with other worship leaders. Most of them will always talk about what new music they are bringing in. See if some churches will allow you into their planningcenteronline software. This will show you what your neighbors are doing on a weekly basis... This is also a great way to share music with your band, so you might end up subscribing to the service yourself.