Below is a list of some of the newer songs we’ve been introduced to recently and have used in various conferences. Some you will know already, some of them will not suit your church context at all, some you may not like at all, but some you may find useful! Do have a little look and see what you think!
Rejoice- Dustin Kensrue and Stuart Townend
It does what it says on the tin in many ways, the verses line you up really well to do what should come naturally- rejoice the Lord who has blessed us in so many ways.
It is written in a fairly ridiculous key, and so might be useful (unless you come from a church of opera singers) to bring it down a few keys.
Come and stand amazed- citizens and saints
This is a new tune to an old hymn, written originally as a christmassy hymn, but the new tune doesn’t massively scream christmas to me, and the words would be great in any service where you are thinking about the incarnation, and Jesus mission on earth, so give it a listen and see what you think!
Prepare him room- Sovereign Grace
Again looking ahead to next Christmas, you may have already become aware of the Sovereign Grace Christmas album that was released this year. It has some really strong material on there. This is my favourite on the album, tracing the promised-for-all-of-history Saviour finally arriving. The chorus is simple and effective, and this is definitely a song where less is more where the band is concerned.
Im unconvinced of the strength of this for congregational singing. Do give it a try and let us know if you’ve a capable congregation, but otherwise, it’s a beauty of a solo for a Carol service.
(Another one on the album is ‘Who would have dreamed’, again a beautiful solo, although if I were doing it at a service with potentially lots of non Christians, the line in the chorus “..that we could hold God in our hands” might be worth explaining…)
I Believe (The creed)- Hillsong
This is great. A couple of the writers from Hillsong have taken the Apostles creed and made it singable. It is easy to learn, a bit repetitive perhaps, but is a great tool in helping us as church to sing about, and reflect on the truths that should unify us.
Two minor points:
1- With this one you could take or leave the bridge, it doesn’t add anything content wise, and is pretty high to sing for the average person. (In fact the whole song is pretty high, we take it down 3 or 4 tones when we do it.. much more comfortable!)
2- Quite often we do find Hillsong a little loath to sing of judgement, and interestingly they do slightly dumb down the creed’s original description of judgement, here it only gets a quick mention with ‘Our Judge and our Defender’ in the second verse. This isn’t a big deal, the song is still great, but it is worth thinking about in general in what we sing. So many (particularly modern) songs focus wholly on the love and grace of our Lord, and miss the more uncomfortable truths of judgement and just anger towards sin.
Jerusalem- City Alight
There is already an entire blog post dedicated to this, so see here for thoughts on it.
Christ Triumphant- Michael Salward, Ben Slee, David Tubbs and Zoe Tubbs
This is an old hymn that some of our in house songwriter friends have written a new tune to. The version you will find here states to do verse 1, chorus, verse 2 and 3, chorus, verse 4 and 5. I think that it actually flows a little better to go 1, 2, C, 3, 4, C, 5, C, but you can see what you think.
It is a really easy to pick up tune, and breathes a little new life into great words.
Now why this fear- sovereign grace
The words of this are brilliant. Again it is a rework of an old hymn with an added chorus.
In all honesty, the tune took me a while to warm to (2 years in fact!), but it can be done beautifully, and is so great at pointing us to Jesus, the only one who can take away fear.
The time signature is interesting in the verses, so will may take a little effort to teach. And again the bridge can be hard work for a smaller, less musically able congregation.
The best recording is the one below featuring Sojurn
Praise to the Lord- Citizens and Saints
We’ve had a lot of fun with this arrangement in a few conferences recently. It adds a new feel to an old hymn that still works very well in it’s original state, but everything can benefit from variation! This slows it down and gives more space to think between lines
The beauty of this is in the drum line, you cannot beat a good rim shot…!
If your congregation are lovers of old tradition, this isn’t probably the way to go, but it may be a good way of introducing an old hymn in a fresh cover to a younger congregation.
Man of Sorrows- Hillsong
I was a huge fan of this after listening to the recording of it. The words are brilliant (drawing from the old hymn), but in reality it can be hard to teach and sing.
It is made of quite a few sections, so teaching can be confusing, best spread over a couple of sessions perhaps.
But if you have a capable congregation and band ( i don’t think this is really made for solo piano accompaniment) then go for it! Though please feel free to think up another riff other than the one in the recording… that open third thing can get a little repetitive!
This is amazing grace- Bethel/ Phil Wickham
This is a great song celebrating the miracle of the mighty Jesus being willing to humble himself to die in our place.
If the tecno Avicci style of this arrangement of this isn’t your thing, it works well slowed slightly with a more syncopated funk groove, or even stripped right back as a ballad.
My worth is not in what I own- Getty
Contentment is such a massive problem for us as Christians, it’s a constant battle to ignore the world that tells us to run after happiness here, and instead find our identity and contentment in Jesus. This is a great song for pointing us to truth, and helping us to vocalise again the desire to focus on him who has given us all we need and more than we deserve.