Worship Leaders, stop here! Each month, my Top 3 Picks for New Christian Worship Songs save you time searching for do-able songs for your small church. My monthly picks include One Fast, One Medium, and One Slow Tempo, with added tips for leading worship.
A word about my TOP NEW CHRISTIAN WORSHIP SONGS for your small church
If this is your first time here, my goal is to highlight worship songs that will work with your small volunteer team. Saving you time and energy pouring through endless options only to watch them flop in your small church reality. What I look for includes:
- Lyrics & word choice that relate to multiple generations (Whether you are 60 or 16, the lyrics make sense.)
- Melody in a singable range for the average person, not much beyond a one-octave spread (I then transpose songs so the melody fits mostly between middle C and high C.)
- Songs that can be led with Guitar or Keyboard
- Music not dependent on a certain band size or mix (My band varies weekly, from 4-12 members onstage. Usually electric but sometimes acoustic, sometimes heavy or light on vocals, sometimes heavy or light on rhythm.)
My church, Summit Ridge Community Church in Tucson, AZ, subscribes to Song Select. So that’s my go-to for chord charts, piano scores, and CCLI #s. Song Select is also my tool for easy transposing of key signatures.
Check out the Worship Page for more tips on leading worship in a small church, including what to look for in choosing songs as well as team development, worship elements, and your personal worship.
Here we go with June’s Top 3!
NEW WORSHIP SONGS: June 2019
Shocking News: All 3 June Songs are from one album. I usually try to represent a variety of artists. Not this month!
Hillsong United delivered big with their newly released album, People, in April 2019.
While I’ve enjoyed worship with Hillsong United for years, their songs don’t always translate well to my small, inter-generational family of worshipers.
The Album People, however, delivered 3 great songs for us to use. A Fast, a Medium, and a Slow. With relate-able lyrics for all ages, do-able for my band of varying size and instruments, and a singable range.
#1 ECHOES (TILL WE SEE THE OTHER SIDE) by Hillsong United
- TEMPO: FAST
- CCLI Song # 7124908
- Ben Fielding | Benjamin Hastings | Joel Houston, 2018 Hillsong Music Publishing
- (My Chosen Singable Key: E)
Open Your Worship Service with Echoes, by Hillsong United
Energetic and catchy, Echoes is a great worship opener!
We will sing we will dance – Till the earth echoes the heavens – Sing His praise till we see the other side
This song will stick in your mind and your spirit. You will catch yourself singing the chorus unexpectedly. It pops into your head at random moments. One sign of a great worship song!
It has a driving beat. So, if your congregation is full of clappers, they will love it.
Electric Instruments are a Plus for Echoes
It definitely has a better feel with an electric band. I will rely on my electric guitarist to lead the way on this one when possible.
I typically lead from acoustic guitar. As a self-declared hack on the guitar, I only have a few strum patterns I default to. And they are not working so well!
I sound like my middle-age, white-girl self, lacking in rhythm. But I’m hoping for some help from my real musician friends. (Or, more likely, I’ll play keys and let my guys lead this one.)
This song has an edgy feel. As my kids are yelling from the other room… “That’s a Daniel Hartman song!” (Daniel Hartman is a much cooler Tucson worship leader than I am, and I know I can’t lead it like him. But I also know my congregation will love this song regardless.)
So if you or your band can pull off a little “EDGY” then I say go for it!
Echoes’ Lyrics Reinforce the Song’s Energy
It is not just the rhythm that carries the energy. The lyrics carry the vitality throughout the song.
Let a sleeping world awaken – There’s a new day on the rise. And the enemy is shaking – As the graveyards spring to life.
If you are looking for an opening song with a beat, give this a try.
#2 GOOD GRACE by Hillsong United
- TEMPO: MEDIUM
- CCLI Song # 7122177
- Joel Houston, 2018 Hillsong Music Publishing
- My chosen Singable Key: Eb (I also print in Key of D for guitarists to Capo for easier chord structure.)
This song starts slower. The energy builds with some cool drum parts in the chorus. And then, in typical current worship fashion (which I personally love), the volume drops with the start of the bridge and increases with each repeating bridge.
It’s a nice, teachable, uncomplicated, medium-tempo worship song with more depth than most will realize.
A Closer Look at Good Grace’s Lyrics
As a worship leader, taking time to unpack the lyrics gives me more connection to a song and greater depth in worship.
To unpack lyrics:
- Consider its visual analogies
- Explore original inspiration and context
- Look up supporting scripture
In this song, the chorus lyrics “Fix your eyes” immediately jumped out as an obvious scripture reference (Hebrews 12:2). As I took a closer look at the chorus lyrics, I realized every line is nearly a scriptural quote.
I’m not sure everyone will notice this, so I’m breaking it down for you!
DON’T LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
Don’t let your heart be troubled (John 14:1)
HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH DON’T FEAR NO EVIL
I will hold my head high (Psalm 27:6)
I will fear no evil (Psalm 23:4)
FIX YOUR EYES ON THIS ONE TRUTH
Fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)
GOD IS MADLY IN LOVE WITH YOU
While I have no direct reference, the whole of scripture speaks to His Great Love for us!
TAKE COURAGE HOLD ON BE STRONG
Be strong and let your heart take courage (Psalm 31:24)
REMEMBER WHERE OUR HELP COMES FROM
Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. (Psalms 121:1b-2)
Any one of those scripture passages could be used as a lead-in to this song during worship. So, there’s a great resource!
WHOAS are always optional
Good Grace has a section of “WHOAS” in the lyrics.
In our worship setting, small and inter-generational, we typically skip the WHOAS. (That goes for OOOHS and LA-LAs as well.)
I encourage you to experiment with them. But if that section of the song doesn’t work for your team or for your congregation, adapt the song!
For many older-generation worshipers, WHOAS thrust them out of a worship mode. They often view those fillers as pop-concert material.
To me, this is a tragic consequence. If taking the WHOAS out preserves the worship atmosphere for your congregation, do it!
Good Grace. Good God. His Name is Jesus.
The bridge of this song declares:
Let the praise go up as the walls come down
All creation everything with breath repeat the sound
All His children clean hands pure hearts
Good grace Good God His Name is Jesus
A great message and fabulous visual: can you see the praise go up as the walls go down?
#3 READY OR NOT by Hillsong United
- TEMPO: SLOW
- CCLI #7124903
- Joel Houston & Marty Sampson, 2018 Hillsong Music Publishing
- My chosen Singable Key: E
Oh, my heart. “Ready or not, here I come!”
Most of us played Hide and Seek as children, and we weren’t always ready, were we? Sometimes we were hidden. Sometimes still scrambling to find our spot.
How true is that for us today. Real life. As God is ever-present. And we have this need to feel like we need to be ready to meet him.
Gosh, please just click on this song. Close your eyes. And soak it in. I’m not sure I can listen to it without tears.
Thank God for His constant grace and acceptance.
Just do this song with your worshipers. Don’t second guess it. Learn it. Love it.
Ready or Not Takes Us On A Journey
There is so much theology in this song.
- We start by acknowledging our brokenness, our pain …
- Then move into recognizing His Might
- And finally begin declaring what He has ALREADY done
The breadth of this message makes it a great fit for so many places in the worship order.
Ready or Not as a Call to Worship
Ready or Not is a unique Call to Worship (come now as you are) at that beginning of a service. We typically start our worship with Fast Tempo.
Why not surprise your worshipers with a slow, thoughtful Call to worship the King of the Universe?
Ready or Not for Communion or Prayer
Ready or Not also wraps beautifully around a Communion experience (or Time of Prayer). For example, sing Verse 1 & 2 before serving the bread and the wine. Continue with instrumental only. Then move into Verse 3 & 4 after Communion is completed.
Verse 1: Come now as you are. Or as you want to be. Are you ready? Come now, tired broken. Scared or just in need. Ready or not it’s alright. Take your time. If nothing else just come.
And then, after a time of Communion or Prayer or Meditation …
Chorus 3 into 4: He’s already bought our freedom. He’s already paid our debt. He’s already done the miracle. He’s already conquered death … He’s already won our battles. He’s already paved the way. He’s already gone ahead of us. And He is ready when we are.
REGULARLY ADD NEW SONGS TO WORSHIP
We all have old songs we love. They will be our favorites to the end. In our congregation, for example, I can pull out Blessed Be Your Name and most of our worshipers sing out with strong emotion.
Part of it is nostalgia. Plus the emotional connection of where we met God in the past. This is not a bad thing
So Why Do We Need NEW Worship Songs?
We need new songs because they awaken us. God is always doing new things. In our hearts. In our culture. In the world around us.
We have a creative God that regularly shocks us out of our mundane. Throughout history He has done NEW things – pillars of clouds, a burning bush, miraculous healing. God has never been a same-old, same-old God.
Worship Songs Have a Life Cycle
Older songs can still can be useful in retirement!
However, generally speaking, when songs are new, they are moving. Exciting.
Then they get standard and familiar. They are comfortable.
Next, they get tired and lose their awe. As I mentioned, they can be re-awakened.
We need the familiar. But we also need growth.
Let God do something new.
- The newness is worth the risk.
- It’s worth the stretch.
- It’s worth the diligence of learning it.
- It’s even worth the frustration of introducing it to a reluctant team member!