Why does this blog exist?
Often when other pastors or worship planners come visit my church, I get asked the same question: “Where do you guys find your songs?”
I always feel awkward trying to answer that question as it’s not a simple answer. The answer is that we spend a lot of time listening to a lot of music and after sifting through literally hundreds (if not thousands) of songs, we find a few that we think are valuable for use in worship. This might seem like we are trying too hard, or that we are doing work that has already been done (isn’t this what hymnals are for?). I suppose the argument could be made in either direction, but that’s not the point of this post or this blog.
The point is that we have and will continue to look through both new songs and old to find ones that are valuable for worship in general and for the specific services we are working on. And it seems a little silly for that work to benefit only us. So I am going to share the songs we find here in this blog. I am going to explain why we find them useful for worship and in what contexts we have found them particularly valuable.
How do you determine what songs are included on the blog?
I think it’s important to carefully explain what we do and do not consider when we think about what makes a song valuable for use in worship:
Above all, a song must be Scriptural, meaning it agrees with what the Bible says. It doesn’t matter how catchy or beautiful a song may be if it is leading people astray from what the Bible actually teaches.
A song must be Congregational. The rhythms, range, tempo, and repetition of a melody must be easy for a congregation to learn. That’s not to say that the congregation will instantly be able to sing a song the first time they hear it, but with careful and deliberate teaching and repetition, the congregation should feel comfortable singing along.
Those are the only two criteria for making the list and it’s important to note that they are both objective qualifiers.
Aren't There other factors to consider?
When evaluating more subjective qualities (catchiness, beauty, style, etc.) there are a few important factors to consider:
Ideally, our churches have a fairly diverse group of worshippers. Diverse worshippers have diverse tastes. Therefore, it would be strange for us to not have at least some diversity in the songs we use in worship. While there may be some songs that everyone in your congregation loves, it’s far more likely that one person’s favorite song is another person’s least favorite (and vice-versa). In order to reach all of our members (not to mention prospects and visitors) we should have some diversity in our songs.
God has blessed many of his children with artistic gifts and the ability to write songs. He has done this throughout history and continues to do so today. As such, the songs I consider and share in this blog will reflect that. There will be songs that are hundreds of years old and songs that are merely weeks old. Again, the only two criteria a song needs to meet are listed above and age is not a consideration.
There are certainly other factors we consider when selecting songs:
-How clear is the vocabulary?
-How easily understood are the metaphors?
-Does another song express this idea more clearly?
The list could continue and take an entire blog post by itself, but again, that’s not the point of this post.
Instead, I hope you have a clear understanding of what this blog is and what it isn’t. We are simply recommending that these songs are ones that are valuable for use in worship. They are certainly not the only ones that are valuable and we are not claiming they are the best songs (as that is a subjective claim). It is my humble hope that you find this a valuable resource that helps save you some time as you look for songs to use in worship.