I am always fascinated to learn what is taking places in churches across America. As I was yet in another church this past weekend and listening to the music as we worshipped together, I became curious. What do churches typically sing during their worship services? I began to do a bit of research and found the CCLI list by month. Since CCLI is the largest licensor of church music, I would say that their list is very representative.
Here are the top 25 songs for the most recently reported month:
- How Great Is Our God
- Mighty to Save
- Our God
- Blessed Be Your Name
- Here I am To Worship
- Revelation Song
- Everlasting God
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
- Jesus Messiah
- In Christ Alone
- Your Grace Is Enough
- Open the Eyes of My Heart
- Forever Reign
- How He Loves
- You Are My King (Amazing Love)
- Holy Is the Lord
- From the Inside Out
- Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
- Shout to the Lord
- Come Now Is the Time to Worship
- The Stand
- Lord I Lift Your Name on High
- Glory to God Forever
Are there any surprises on this list? What do you think of the current popular worship songs?
Posted on October 22, 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.
More from Thom
Any well rounded church needs to perform every type of music imaginable fro
classical to the age old sacred classics to spirituals, gospel hymns, classic
hymns, to some of the best contemporary Christian music. The problem is education, instead of worship and song leaders who are at their worst musical
show-offs the Protestant church needs to train the best and most well-rounded music majors as cantors, and reach those through song of every conceivable style. I can see why there are so few church music majors, it has become a joke over the last thirty years. They need to stop entertaining just one age group of people and concentrate on the church family as a whole. Have concerts and sacred voice recitals instead of wasting two years of your choir budget on another contemporary Christian band. Hire a black gospel group instead if your congregation is mostly Caucasian. These mega churches are nothing but country and pop concert arenas and not churches, some don’t even have an ordained pastor in charge of them. The church is where modern music education needs to take place nowadays, just as in the past. And Christ centered hymns and songs based on theology not these dreadful praise songs that repeat the same six words over for fifteen minutes. And don’t get me started on musical inspiration and the power of real MELODY.
Some songs which can be added up to the list :
1. Lord I lift your name on high
2. How great thou art
3. Great is thy faithfulness
4. All Hail Jesus
5. Blessed Assurance
6. To the God be the Glory
7. There shall be showers of blessing
8. When I survey the wondrous cross
9. Praise to the Lord , The Almighty
10. In Christ Alone
I couldn’t agree with you more! Anyone who says segregation is dead, obviously has not considered American churches! God has created us all; let’s worship together!
“Also, trying to use your music style to attract the non-believers in your community to your worship service tells me your seeking the wrong audience. But that’s just me being judgmental, divisive, arrogant, biased and uninformed …. and that’s an entirely different comment thread.”
Rest my case.
It’s sad to me to read the posts listed here. Dr. Rainer simply posted a top 25 that he believed was “representative”, not “comprehensive” of what today’s church is using for praise and adoration … and our worship wars have splattered out all over this page. Judgmental, divisive, arrogant, biased, uninformed … that’s just some of the words that I believe describe many of the comments. (And yes, I was probably judgmental, divisive, arrogant, biased and uninformed in writing that last sentence.)
FOLKS … IT’S NOT ABOUT US!
IT’S ABOUT USING PRAISE AND ADORATION TO WORSHIP GOD!
He uses hymns, praise songs, gospel, pop-songs, orchestral, sacred, secular, country, hip-hop, zydeco … He uses songs written by Chris Tomlin, Bill Gaither, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther, Rueben Morgan and Fanny Crosby to bring Him glory!
Do you think when the four creatures at the throne are singing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”, God’s going to stop them and say, “Hold it guys, that just a little too repetitive to be worshipful”, or … “I really appreciate it fellas, but I wish their was a little deeper theology tacked on there. Feels like you need 8 more verses … and give it that good ol’ King James” feel for heaven’s sake.”
My point is … it’s about God … not our preference or even what we “think” God wants to hear from us. He tells us He’s seeking “true worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and truth”. If your songs aren’t Spirit led or true according to scripture, they’re not what God’s looking for … no matter how it makes you feel. Just to be clear …. I believe both Matt Redman and John Wesley have written songs full of spirit and truth.
How much more worshipful this comment section would have been if someone just simply said “How great Thou art!” and someone replied with “Amen! How great is our God!”
Also, trying to use your music style to attract the non-believers in your community to your worship service tells me your seeking the wrong audience. But that’s just me being judgmental, divisive, arrogant, biased and uninformed …. and that’s an entirely different comment thread.
I am not really surprised by the fact that so many churches sing the same songs year after year. The “Church” is so slow to change. I believe it is why we don’t reach the next generation as effectively as we could. Could you imagine using these songs to reach people who go to raves? Probably wouldn’t happen. We try so hard to please the money people that I think we overlook who we are meant to reach.
Some of the songs listed have been sung for years and years and are STILL popular. And where is the song “How Great Thou Art”?
I, too, agree with most of the points made already. But for those of you who think a white dude leading a white choir doing (trying to do) R&B/Gospel music is what it will take to bring more diversity to your church…well, as we say in the South, bless your hearts! : )
As a writer of all sorts of songs (mostly the white-dude type), including worship songs, I can’t help analyzing the songs we do in church, and especially the lyrics. We have a lot of pro musicians in our church body so the music is excellently executed. But even then, I have a hard time getting past how little lyrical variety there is. SO many tend to hammer the theme summed up in the phrase “you are my King,” using the tried-and-true #nothing wrong with true# accompanying terminology of that metaphor #reign, bow down, obey, etc.#…that it becomes cliche. And we don’t even live under a monarchy! So my desire would be to see more original & relevant #but still biblical# lyrical and topical approaches. Preferably ones that stick to a theme. A praise song has to be more than a bunch of religious phrases strung together by a pretty melody. It has to be ABOUT something, as well as Someone.
Many great points listed above. Personally I really enjoy when our team leads a hymn.
I wish many worship leaders would not just want to be ‘spiritual entertainers.’
We have had to cancel a concert and decline on scheduling two others with Tomlin because he, or at very least his management, would not permit a call for the lost during or at the conclusion of his worship set.
Maybe I am just not contemporary enough – but why not give people the opportunity confess Jesus as Lord and Savior? Sad.
We seem to be too concerned with what others are singing. Songs are not contemporary enough, not ethnic enough, not traditional enough. It doesn’t matter. Sing what God leads you to sing and what is best for your church and don’t worry about what the other guy is singing.
Of these 25 songs, we have sung 11 in the past year. According to my records here, we have sung 107 hymns and 31 worship songs. We would like to say that we are a blended worship kind of church and compared to some we are. But we are blended leaning way toward traditional. I am ok with this because it fits our church but would love to be able to be closer to 50/50 balance. I love the new hymns are being written and believe they are as deeply rooted if not more so than some of our older hymns. It’s interesting to still hear that those ‘new’ songs just repeat the same words over and over again. My #1 response is ‘what about “Blessed Be the Name”. Isn’t ‘blessed be the name, blessed be the name, blessed be the name of the Lord. blessed be the name, blessed be the name, blessed be the name of the Lord. just as repetitive?’ Just a thought.
As has already been implied by others, this list completely ignores those churches which have robust and meaningful worship using hymnals, or who choose to use contemporary music from sources other than those which might be listed with CCLI. (Not every music publisher subscribes to CCLI. My last church had three different licenses in order to encompass all the publishers from whom we used contemporary music. All in addition to our denomination’s published hymnal, which we used extensively.) To say that these are the top songs sung by “churches” is not only misleading, but implies that those who use anything else aren’t really churches.