There’s a lot of great worship music being written outside large churches in well-to-do suburban settings. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at the lists of the most popular worship songs.
Music breaks barriers. Especially worshipful music. But only if we’re intentional about it. Otherwise, it just reaffirms the walls between us.
This is something we need to be more purposeful about. The entire body of Christ would be better off for it.
2. Please Write Songs That Grapple With Harder Issues
The song list of the Bible is a great template for what our worship should look like today.
The Psalms are filled with songs of praise, joy and hope from multiple writers. There are short songs, long songs, songs that delve into complex theology, and songs that repeat simple lyrics.
There are also songs of mourning, sorrow, anger, loss, even doubt. But we don’t hear those kinds of songs in today’s churches.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no benefit in resurrecting lyrics about wanting our enemy’s teeth to be broken off in their mouths (Psalm 58:6). But we could use a few more songs that struggle with hard issues, tough questions and difficult emotions.
Like the Psalms, adding those types of songs would give our worship times a more honest and well-rounded expression of our real lives. And they’d help us prepare our hearts to appreciate the songs of hope and deliverance that we all love to sing.
3. We Need More Songs With A Stronger Focus On Melody
People don’t sing along to a beat. They sing along to poetic lyrics set to a strong, simple melody.
I love a strong beat. And I like it loud. But volume and rhythm are not an adequate substitute for a great melody.
There are great songs that you can’t imagine anyone singing other than the original artist. That’s often because the musicianship and vocals are strong, but the melody is weak.
Then there are songs that everyone wants to sing, and anyone can sing. Those typically feature a strong, simple melody.
There’s a place for songs of performance during worship services. But congregational singing needs songs with solid melodies that are singable by everyone.
So here’s my plea to songwriters. If you want the church body to sing along, make the melody simple and strong. (Yes, that last sentence rhymed on purpose.)