Every year, around this time, I offer a list of contemporary song selections for the upcoming year based on the lectionary readings. Here is a link to download my list for 2017:
This is an excerpt of what the file look like:
Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2017
|Contemporary Song Choices for 2017 based on the Lectionary Readings|
|Date||Song Title||Writer||Scripture Ref|
|Jan 6 Epiphany||Mighty to Save||Reuben Morgan||Isa 60:1-3|
|One Small Child||David Mecce||Mt 2:1-12|
|Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)||Chris Tomlin||Mt 2:9-11|
|Jan 8 The Baptism of our Lord||One Small Child||David Mecce||Isa 42:1|
|Jan 15 Epiphany 2||Jesus, Son of God||Chris Tomlin||Jn 1:29|
|Hear the Call of the Kingdom||Keith Getty||Acts 13:47|
|Jan 22 Epiphany 3||Whom Shall I Fear?||Chris Tomlin||Ps 27:1-3|
|Children of Light||Stanfill, Reeves & Ingram||Isa 9:2|
|Children of God||Mac Powell||1 Jn 3:1-2|
|How Great is the Love||Paul Baloche||1 Jn 3:1-5|
|Glorious Day||Mark Bird||1 Jn 3:2|
|Jan 29 Epiphany 4||Speak O Lord*||Keith Getty||Mic 6:8|
|God of Justice||Tim Hughes||Mic 6:8|
|Lord I Need You||Matt Maher||1 Cor 1:30|
|Unwavering||Matt Maher||Mt 5:1-12|
|Feb 5 Epiphany 5||Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)||Chris Tomlin||Isa 58:6|
|Here I Am Lord||Dan Schutte||Mt 5:14-16|
|Hear the Call of the Kingdom||Keith Getty||Mt 5:16|
|Feb 12 Epiphany 6||Beautiful One||Tim Hughes||1Cor 2:8-10|
|The Same Love||Paul Baloche||1 Th 4:7|
|Speak O Lord||Keith Getty||1Cor 2:8-10|
|Feb 19 Epiphany 7||Living Stones||Michael Schmid||1Cor 3:10-14|
|Your Grace Finds Me||Matt Redman||Mt 5:45|
To my fellow string players who might be forbidden to accompany the music in your church, I write,
“This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10b
The joy of the Lord is our strength,
We need to ask “what brings God joy?”
Joy is expressed with a smile
The sound of the strings is one thing that brings Him joy
the music of the strings makes you glad – Psalm 45:8b
So you, in particular, have a unique strength from the Lord! I want you to harness this strength. You can’t force your gifts onto the church, if they don’t want them. In this case, stop casting your beautifully translucent pearls to the swine. This strength that you have from the Lord will still manifest itself but through you in some unexpected way. Sometimes we just need to go in a different direction. Give this some prayerful thought, won’t you?
Worship Leader = Pastor
In my denomination, the “worship leader” is the Pastor – end of discussion, and I wholeheartedly support this. He has given 8 years of his life to higher education, he has pursued a Masters in Divinity and he has learned the Greek and Hebrew languages. What the rest of the Christian world refers to as a “Worship Leader”, we use the term “Musical Director” or “Musical Coordinator” or “Praise Band Leader” or some other similar term. This just seems right with me.
So, in the traditional church that predominantly uses hymns, what are the traits of this elusive “Praise Band Leader?” I can only tell you what traits I strive for after doing this for over a decade.
- I stay in the Word as much as possible by reading God’s word, devotional books and praying as often as possible.
- The only music that I listen to is Christian music. I keep on top of the new releases coming out of this genre and I collect lead sheets and piano arrangements. I also make it a habit to categorize all of my music by scripture reference.
- I attend church and bible class regularly and am active in my membership. It is an inseparable part of my life and is woven into my daily and weekly routines.
- I know my congregation well. I know them better than my own fretboard and believe me that says a lot. I know what songs they can sing and what songs they will enjoy in worship. I use this knowledge in choosing music.
- I follow my Synod and read as much of their correspondence as I can. I use their APPS, I bookmark and use their websites, I listen to their podcasts and I subscribe to all of their email lists. I strive to know their teachings and doctrines and apply these principles in choosing music.
- I am diligent in my work. I do my worship planning at least one month ahead of time and I submit my song choices to our Pastor so that he can review the lyrics for false teachings (and they do exist in some of today’s music) and for appropriateness for the intended Sunday. If it’s a new song, I also include a youtube link so that he can not only hear the lyrics but the style of the song as well. I respect his opinion and never second guess his responses. I trust him and I learn from him. He is responsible for our worship and has to answer to God and to his Synodical leaders if things go bad – not me. I fully understand this.
- I am well prepared when I am scheduled to accompany worship. I arrive early, do a sound check and organize my arrangements. We are well rehearsed and I know what lines I am singing, all the transitions and the song flow. Sometimes I will express my musical creativity through my guitar playing but never in a showy manner.
- I turn the other cheek when someone calls a song a “7/11” song or expresses other hurtful remarks with regards to either contemporary music or traditional hymns because both are worshipful and powerful and because I want to follow Jesus’ lead.
- I do my best to fix my eyes on Jesus at all times.
- I acknowledge the presence of the Spirit inside me and rely on Him to inspire, to teach and to lead me.
- I am not a leader, I am a servant.
- I am a sinner. The above characteristics are my goals and oftentimes I fall short.
When you finally get to heaven and see Jesus face-to-face will you speak in beautiful old hymn-like poetry to Him or will you simply just say in your own words something like “Jesus I am so thankful to you for giving your life for mine? I am overwhelmed and overjoyed to be in your presence and I love you with everything I am. I have been waiting my entire life for this moment” For me, I’ll use something like the latter because those are my own words. It would be equally wonderful to recite a favorite hymn verse to Him as well, it’s just not me.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful, I do love hymns, but this is THE reason why I also like contemporary music. They put my praise and worship into my vernacular. The lyrics in these songs reflect the way that I speak.
Please don’t fault me for this. I am your brother in Christ and we worship side-by-side in perfect fellowship to our great God using mutually beautiful styles of music that brings a smile to our Lord’s face.
Do you have style?
God doesn’t care too much about your hair style or your style of clothes.
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
God doesn’t even care too much about your style of church music.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16
He does care a great deal about your lifestyle and it should be a lifestyle of worship; predominantly prayer, giving thanks and rejoicing.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
It was popular last year, so I am doing it again. Here are my “new song” recommendations for each of your Lectionary-based worship services in the upcoming church year. On most of the Sundays I have included a choice of songs. I have not used all of these songs in worship and some of them were released in 2015 so please have your Pastor review all the lyrics prior to use.
Here is an excerpt of the song choices:
|Contemporary Song Choices for 2015/2016 based on the Lectionary Readings|
|Date||Song Title||Writer||Scripture Ref|
|Overflow||Matt Maher||1 Th 3:12|
|Lift High||Steve Fee||Lk 21:28|
|One Small Child||David Mecce||Mal 3:1-6|
|Every Promise||Keith Getty||Php 1:6|
|Give Us Clean Hands||Charlie Hall||Ps 24:3-6|
|Mighty to Save||Reuben Morgan||Zeph 3:17|
|Rescuer||Johnny Parks||Zeph 3:17|
|Whole World in His Hands||Tim Hughes||Zeph 3:17|
|East to West||Mark Hall||Php 4:6-7|
|My Soul Magnifies the Lord||Chris Tomlin||Luke 1:46-51|
|We Have a Savior||Reuben Morgan||Isa 9:6|
|Emmanuel (Hallowed manger Ground)||Chris Tomlin||Lk 2:6-7|
|He Shall Reign Forevermore||Chris Tomlin||Isa 9:6-7|
|Joy has Dawned||Keith Getty||Lk 2:1-20|
|Glory in the Highest||Chris Tomlin||Lk 2:13-14|
|Glorious Day||Mark Hall||Jn 1:1-2|
|Uncreated One||Chris Tomlin||Jn 1:1-4|
|Offering (Christmas Version)||Paul Baloche|
|Abba Father||Steve Fry||Gal 4:6|
|Rise and Sing||Steve Fee||Lk 1:68|
|Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?||Martin Smith||Ps 148:7|
|Beautiful Savior||Stuart Townend||Col 1:13-14|
|Uncreated One||Chris Tomlin||Col 1:15-17|
|The Heart of Worship||Matt Redman||Col 1:17-18|
You can download the entire file for free here: