Top 25 Hymns Sung in Churches

In a previous post, I noted the top songs sung in churches. I got the information from CCLI, but CCLI does not track songs in the public domain. As a consequence, my list missed many of the great hymns of the church.

I am grateful for the work of They were able to provide me a ranking of sales of the top 25 hymns sung in the church. The period covered contains cumulative sales for the past four years.

  1. How Great Thou Art
  2. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  3. Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine
  4. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
  5. Holy, Holy, Holy
  6. Jesus Paid It All
  7. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
  8. Crown Him with Many Crowns
  9. It Is Well with My Soul
  10. To God Be the Glory
  11. The Solid Rock
  12. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  13. I Stand Amazed in the Presence
  14. Victory in Jesus
  15. Nothing but the Blood
  16. Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound
  17. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
  18. At the Cross
  19. Revive Us Again
  20. Be Thou My Vision
  21. Because He Lives
  22. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
  23. A Mighty Fortress is Our God
  24. For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
  25. America, the Beautiful

“How Great Thou Art” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” are still under copyright, so CCLI tracks them and they rank #26 and #53 respectively on their list of all songs sung in church.

To create this list, we combined the sales from a traditional arrangement and a contemporary arrangement for each hymn. I encourage you to visit It’s a great resource for all churches.

So what do you think of this list?

Posted on November 5, 2012

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Peter Maxwell says on

    These hymns of praise are really lovely. During the epidemic, I was able to find comfort in these lauds and hymns. Have you heard of one of Texas’ top churches? A black church called is obviously doing a lot for the community and has truly helped me personally discover inspiration and God.

  • Grampy Nate says on

    Technically, numbers 3, 6, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, and 23 on that list aren’t hymns, but spiritual songs.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I’m just bein’ pedantic about it. (But No. 25, as others noted, is a hymn to a nation, not to God.)

    One thing’s notable in the New Testament’s references to Christian singing: All the religious songs quoted therein were without exception long-proven “old standards” with Biblical relevancy.

    Paul and Silas came from different regions in the Roman Empire. They didn’t listen to the same radio network; didn’t buy the same recordings. Yet both knew and sang the very same songs together in a dark Philippian jail. I’m just guessing (no one knows), but they may not have had musical instruments in there. So any harmony parts would have to be written into the songs, improvised, or learned and known by heart.

    The best hymns have:
    1. Reverent and scripturally edifying lyrics,
    2. Neither a hard tonal range, nor lots of large tonal leaps (except an occasional octave skip).
    3. Catchy tunes and a well varied vocal harmony: Both easily understood and sung by ordinary folks with only a little training necessary.

  • Sandy B Duke says on

    Could you and/or Lifeway check to see if this has changed at all since its post in 2012? Thanks!

  • Scott Downey says on

    Because He Lives © 1971 William J. Gaither, Inc. All rights controlled by Gaither Copyright Management.

  • Ron Clinton says on

    These are all my favorites from when a was a young man growing up in church. Would you happen to know of a CD or musical compilation with most of your Top 25 songs on it. What source or resource would you recommend?

  • Thank you so much for this list. I am a contemporary praise and worship leader and largely use fairly current songs with some hymns from different denominations. Each deniminations seems to call a different subset of songs “hymns” and that gets confusing. This list you’ve compiled looks like if has a lot that either are common to many hymn books, or at least somewhat in the mainstream American culture.

    I’ve just started leading worship on the streets of DC among homeless folk and am stumped as to what may be familiar to them. Not getting a lot of suggestions from them so far, but this is a new part of the ministry. I think this list will help. I want to blend what is familiar in with what is new. While so many recently written songs address where these folk are right now, and do show so much of Who the Lord is, it is difficult for people to enter into worship when the songs are totally new.

    So — the plan is widely known hymns + contemporary praise and worship songs + — do you have a list of “gospel songs” that would be widely known? Kind of like those sung in the Church of God in Christ?

  • I’m a little late to the party but thanks, Thom, for the list. I am compiling a top 40 list of worship songs for the congregation to sing over the course of 10 weeks at the church. Having Lifeway’s list allows me to program many hymns (albeit contemporary versions) into the worship, as we do each week.

  • Rainier Rolda says on

    I agree with you sir Paul.

  • Thom Rainer says on

    That’s a great story Curtis.

  • Dr. Curtis D. McClane says on

    Pretty interesting that “How Great Thou Art” is number one. Last week I climbed to the top of LOOK ROCK in the Smoky Mountains here in East Tennessee. With a 360 degree panoramic view stretching out before me as far as the horizon would let the eye rove, I sang softly, reverently and in awe of God’s creative work. “How Great Thou Art” was the only hymn that seemed appropriate for the experience, and I remembered almost every word to all 4 verses!
    In Christian love, Curtis

  • Paul Batson says on

    As a pastor in a traditional church setting, I’d say this is a pretty accurate list. However, for me #25 is out of place. Personally, I cringe when Worship Services include patriotic songs whose words more accurately worship America, rather then God. There’s a place for those songs, even at a church for specific events, but not worship. That’s reserved for God.