More on Choosing Music
If you are a fan of American Idol, then you know that “song selection” is critical. It is for us Pastors and Worship Leaders as well.
The Contemporary Christian Music EXCEL database file that has been available for download in my “FILE DOWNLOAD AREA” (located in the lower right hand column) has been updated (filename: ccm songs 2.xls). Many of you have downloaded the original version of this file. It contains a listing of hundreds of contemporary songs that John Kehl’s band has either used at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Appleton, WI or has evaluated for use in worship. In addition to song titles, the database includes other useful information such as lyrics, song categorical information and other helpful resources.
One of the things mentioned in the database are some of the criteria that John uses to evaluate contemporary songs for worship. I have excerpted his comments here:
1. Look for lyrics that are scripturally sound with a Christ centered, gospel centered, and grace centered message.
2. Look for music that focuses on God and Christ and what God did and does for us.
3. Lyrics should be clear, not vague or shallow and should have substance.
4. The music should emphasize the message, not the music, or the musician, or the beat.
5. Look for music and style that is worshipful and reverent that fit the lyrics.
6. Look for music that is singable for the congregation.
Here are some other helpful comments:
- Look for biblical language in song lyrics. Words, phrases, and attributes that identify God as the God of the bible and not some generic God.
- Watch out for “decision theology”. These are lyrics that imply that we have “chosen” to accept Jesus as Savior. We are a chosen people. It’s the other way around – God has chosen us!
- Watch out for legalism. These are lyrics that imply that we have to do certain things, above and beyond what the bible says to be saved.
- Look for songs, that when you read through the lyrics, you can immediately point to a section of scripture that it is based upon.
Here is a list of songs that have done just that for me:
Chris Tomlin – “Forever” is based on Ps 136
Chris Tomlin – “Holy is the Lord” uses Neh 8:10
Chris Falson – “I See the Lord” is based on Isaiah 6
Matt Redman – “Better is One Day” is based on Psalm 84
Matt Redman – “Lord Let Your Glory Fall” is based on 2 Chro 5-7
Matt Redman – “You Never Let Go” is based on Ps 23
Amy Grant – “Thy Word” uses a verse from Ps 119 as it’s opening line
Brenton Brown – “Everlasting God” is Isaiah 40:28-31
Paul Baloche – “Open the Eyes of My Heart” is based on Eph 1:18-19
Charlie Hall – “Give Us Clean Hands” is based on Psalm 24:3-6
Matt Maher – “For Your Glory” is from Ecc 3:1-8
Matt Maher – “As It is in Heaven” is from Luke 11:2-4
Matt Maher – “Unwavering” is from Mt 5:3-11
Michael Schroeder (WELS) – “the Greatest Gift” is also from Mt 5:3-11
Telecast – “Psalm 27” is based on Psalm 27
Vicky Beeching – “Yesterday, Today and Forever” is based on Heb 13:8 and Ps 102:26-27
Bob Fitts – “Victory Chant” is based on Rev 5:5
Gary Sadler – “Ancient of Days” is based on Dan 7
Robin Mark – “Days of Elijah” contains Isa 40:3
The Desperation Band – “I Am Free” is based on John 8:36
Big Daddy Weave – “Let it Rise” is based on Isa 60:1
Lincoln Brewster – “Majestic” is based on Ps 8:9
Jennie Riddle – “Revelation Song” is based on Rev 4:8
Delirious? – “Miracle Maker” is based on John 5
“On Eagle’s Wings” is Ps 91