One of the best ways to find new songs is to see what is most popular among other churches. These songs have already been put through the fire and risen to the top as some of the best worship songs of our time. Probably the best place to determine this is to look at Christian Copyright Licensing International’s (CCLI) top song lists. Twice yearly, CCLI reports the top 100 songs that churches are using most in worship. The churches they survey include all liturgical, evangelical, pentecostal… from traditional to contemporary, and everything in between. Only copyrighted songs will appear in these lists.
If your church is just beginning to use newer songs, the CCLI lists are the best places to start. Songs on this list would be known by most people who have been exposed to more current worship music. Arrangements for your use are easy to find–be sure to check out www.LifeWayWorship.com for great a la carte downloads of instrumental parts, vocal parts, and accompaniment tracks (great for churches with few musician resources). Another great resource is www.PraiseCharts.com, but take care in selecting the key you choose for congregational singing (see this post for more information). LifeWayWorship.com arrangements are specifically adapted for congregational singing.
I often lead worship in events that gather people from churches of vastly differing worship styles. I almost always select music from the CCLI lists and great hymns, knowing that it is more likely these songs would be a common worship vocabulary of those attending.
On this blog each week, we publish three of the most informative lists to help you find new songs and discover what is “hot” in a particular week. We list last week’s top 20 songs from CCLI, LifeWayWorship.com, and PraiseCharts.com (visit TopWorshipSongs.org for the complete lists). We include a Spotify link to the audio of all the CCLI songs, and the other two lists link to their sites where you will find their products and audio. If you want to stay up on new worship music, make it a habit to check out TopWorshipSongs.org each week.
Other ways to find great, new worship songs:
- Ask other worship leaders what songs are connecting well with the congregations they serve.
- Listen to Christian radio stations that play worship music.
- Listen to worship CDs. (realize there is a difference between appropriate congregational worship music and CCM (contemporary Christian music).
- Attend worship conferences and other events and follow up immediately with any great songs you hear in those settings. (I will usually have a pad to write down any songs I hear. If I do not know the title, I will write down some lyrics and do a Google search on them later to discover the song.)
- Subscribe to Worship Leader Magazine’s Song Discovery
Finding songs is an important step in introducing new songs to your congregation, but evaluating the music and lyrics to determine if the song is truly something you should use in your setting is another issue. Stay tuned for more on that.
Take some time now to check out the Top 20 lists as well as the Top 100. If there are many songs on the lists that you do not know, you might need to spend more time keeping up with what is new to find those great gems that will work in your setting.
What are some ways you discover new songs?