If you haven't done something before, sometimes it's hard to get started. I can remember a large computer installation getting off to a bad start when the boss sent a new guy out to the site to start the install. The next day another engineer was sent out to help and he found the first guy sitting on a box with his chin in his hands. Nothing had been done. When asked why he hadn't done anything, he said that there was so much to do that he just didn't know where to start, so hadn't. Any task that must be repeated on a regular basis can also bring with it challenges. Developing the song service can be that way. Where do you start? There are hundreds of songs to pick from.
I like to start with a topic. Right off the bat, that will narrow the song choices down. Ask the preacher for his sermon topic. Also get from him key scriptures that he will be using. Make sure you find out his closing thoughts. If he publishes his sermons, get a copy, or an outline. Either can be a great help. If he can't give you his topic by the time you need to start work on your song service, pick one that you know will benefit you and/or your congregation. But don't allow him to call you up on a Saturday evening, expecting you to do your usual fantastic job of song leading. Churches suffer from preachers who wait until Saturday night to put their sermon together and they will suffer when you wait that long also. Use the Topical and Scripture Indexes to find your songs. Put those songs together in a logical sequence. Singing a fast song, then a slow one, then a fast one, etc. is not good. It just jerks folks around. One such sequence would be to start out with a slower song, then progress to the faster ones, then end on a moderate tempo song. Or arrange the songs in an order necessary to tell a story with the songs. You shouldn't start or end a series with songs that are new to your congregation. Put them in the middle and never two new songs in a row. If you pick out songs in the same key, it will be easy to move from one to the other with no interuption between them.
Some songs naturally go together: like "He Paid a Debt" that says "I now can sing a brand new song, amazing grace", followed by "Amazing Grace". They are not in the same key, but the closing note of "He Paid a Debt" can be your starting note of "Amazing Grace". Don't hesitate between the songs or you will lose the effect. Then there is "O the Depth and the Riches" followed by the chorus of "The Old Rugged Cross". These are in the same key, so the transition is very easy. There are several songs about Jesus' name that are in the same key and they make a wonderful sequence. These should be enough to start you thinking. Once you find a good set of songs, write them down so you can easily find them later. And if you wouldn't mind, share them with us. We will see what we can do to make space either in these newsletters or on the web site for them.