Recently we emailed a number of music directors around the UK and asked what songs they had been teaching over the last few months in their churches. We hope the list below and the Spotify playlist will give you some inspiration in the coming weeks and months.
Obviously with lists like the one below; have a think about whether the song would work in your context with musicians you have and within the congregation in which you serve. Every church is different. There are also a few kids songs suggested at the bottom
We’ve listed the top 10 in order of their popularity amongst those who responded along with some of the comments they came with, and below that are a list of other songs mentioned.
Hope this gives you all some ideas, or at the very least, some new songs for your own listening!
So singable , so full of truth – love that 3rd verse! So Getty-esque!
Has a very singable melody and some fresh ways of putting Biblical descriptions of Christ
This song is fairly easy to sing and teach as it doesn’t have any complicated sections to it. It follows a straight hymn path without a chorus or a bridge to have to learn, so its incredibly straight forward.
2. Come behold the wondrous mystery (Matt Papa)
Rich theologically, with some particularly good biblical theology about Christ (Adam etc).
A GREAT ‘Call to worship’ / top of the service type song (similar to ‘Come People’ or ‘Come Praise and glorify’). Again has been well loved, and would work with a very simple band.
3. This I believe (Hillsong)
We’ve taught this primarily because we’re doing a series on the apostles creed. It’s singable and memorable. Getting the creed stuck in peoples head is probably the main strength of the song.
4. Mercy is More (Matt Boswell)
Honest about sin, gives hope of greater grace . Singable . Easy to arrange nice with any size band
Just taught this one in the last few weeks… taught it because I don’t think we sing enough songs that help us to engage with sin properly. It can be easy to think either sin is too small to confess, or too big for God to cover… but to know the truth that because of Christ, whatever our sin – His mercy is more! Really really easy, people picked up really well (would also suit a very small band well too!)
5. He will hold me fast (Matt Merker)
Another song to help us to connect suffering / temptation with Christ’s sure and certain hold on us. A great ‘preaching truth’ to self song! I’ve heard a number of stories about how this particular song has had a real impact on people…
6. Where O grave is your victory (Ben Slee)
Taught this to fill a ‘gap’ as I don’t think there are enough songs that help us to connect the reality of suffering / sin now with the sure and certain hope that Christ has conquered the grave and that we WILL have life eternal with Him!
7. Lift high the name of Jesus (Keith & Kristyn Getty)
A nice celebration song – very different style to most songs we sing with a ceilidh type rhythm. Simple but good words. The kids REALLY like this one.
8. We Declare (Alanna Glover & Liv Chapman)
Easy to pick up, short, people enjoy singing about what we are.
9. O God of Mercy, Hear Our Plea (Sovereign Grace)
Great lament song because it deals with themes neglected in lots of our church songs, but is still contemporary and upbeat enough to be carried by a church band.
10. Behold the power of His Word (Michael Morrow)
Another ‘word’ song to fill that pre sermon gap so often filled by ‘Speak o Lord’!
Our Great God (Fernando Ortega)
Great on God’s transcendence , the reality of the Devils schemes , and much more v.simple chorus . Beautiful melody – MINOR key – so nice .
Arise my soul arise (Sovereign Grace)
Interesting – slightly more divided opinion on this one. Some love it and say its one of their favourite choruses.
Impossible Things (Chris Tomlin)
This is really easy and fun (although we simplified the melody from Chris Tomlin’s recording. It helps balance the weight of our hymn-heavy repertoire.
O Praise the name (Hillsong)
We learnt this for Easter last year. It’s your standard Hillsong power ballad / gospel outline! It’s a good one… simple – well loved! Would probably work simpler and more stripped back!
It is finished (Dustin Kensrue)
This is simple, and has a good energy. We have to work hard to get the transition from Chorus to Bridge right. It fitted perfectly with our Reformation series last term, and I think will continue to play the role of a good upbeat opening song.
Your Word (EMU Music)
Really helpful pre-talk or pre-bible reading song.
(Works well – small range, simple tune, can be accompanied with one instrument or many. Good potential for a capella if needed/wanted. Most of all, really great words on such a central and encouraging truth. The congregation only had a slight difficulty picking up the tune in the penultimate line of the chorus, but otherwise picked it up strongly straight away from one play through.
Only a holy God’ (CityAlight)
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand (Indelible Grace)
An absolute cracker for congregational (sometimes acapella) singing – it has a gospel feel to it. A chorus that sticks in the memory.
We have an anchor (Moore/Webster/Owens)
This song was based on the old Boys Brigade hymn, but changing the nautical feel of verses 2 &3 with fresh lyrics. The verse melody was re-written to make it less of a sea shanty but retaining that powerful melody and lyrics of the old hymn. The verse melodies are easy to teach and the chorus is so familiar that it almost doesn’t need teaching at all. It went down extremely well!
I’m following the King (Paul Sheely)
Reharmonised the verse to make it sound more gospelly, actions are great, lots of fun, easy tune and words
Nuggets of Gold (Sov Grace)
Killer groove so the kids went nuts – gave them the challenge of coming up with actions, simple theme of digging into God’s word
Light an a hammer (Awesome Cutlery)
Went down well, but it’s not easy, and I’m not convinced it would work without a decent band…