I lead worship at Praise Church. Incredibly, the people of Praise Church love to praise God in song 🙂 I’m so thankful for this. I’m also very blessed and privileged to lead them in worship every week.
So I know I’m too late to do a “top ten” or a “best of” list for the past year. This is just a run down of all the new songs I introduced to our congregation in 2012 and how they went over. Some of them were instant favorites, some took a while to catch on, and some were just flops. But I learned from each experience.
These are generally in chronological order of when they were introduced (no dates, sorry I’m not that organized).
- Always by Kristian Stanfill – this was an instant favorite and still makes the rotation regularly. I especially enjoy that we chose a key that is better for my younger sister to lead (both my younger sister and mom sing on the worship team) so I get to play the song on the keyboard and sing it without the full pressure of leading the song.
- We Still Believe by Kathryn Scott – unfortunately this was one that failed with our congregation. Introducing new songs to a congregation can be unpredictable; it’s a very delicate balance of timing/style/singability/mood/season. Even though it’s a beautiful song, I had to pull it from the rotation.
- Live to Worship by New Life Worship – this song went over well, but isn’t a part of our regular rotation just because it’s fairly specific thematically.
- Saviour King by Hillsong United – huge hit. Probably our congregation’s favorite of 2012.
- The Solid Rock by Passion Band – this is the old hymn with an updated arrangement. We call it “hymntemporary” and it is a big hit with our congregation. Personally, I love it because it connects the young and old in the family of Christ. And yes, shocking as it may be, our non-denominational church has never done traditional hymns in worship. Some poor shmucks (like me) who grew up in non-denominational church are learning these hymns for the first time. You may pity me.
- Jesus Paid it All – another “hymntemporary” that has had some ups and downs with our congregation. But overall it’s a fantastic song and they love the rich Gospel message.
- One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails) by Jesus Culture – this went over great and continues in the rotation, although not “heavily” as it is a pretty repetitive song. But it’s extremely singable. I especially like the bridge of this song and often will repeat it.
- Lord I Need You by Passion Band – I love it when you stumble upon something off the “beaten path” (read: not every worship leader in the world is singing/recommending the song) and it works. This song is more of a prayer and our congregation loves it as a response song after the sermon.
- 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman – it’s a favorite. Maybe even a tie with Saviour King. It was my dad’s favorite worship song before he passed away and my sisters and I sang it for his funeral.
- Lover of Your Presence by Brian and Katie Torwalt – approximately quarterly, we have what we call “Praise N.O.W.” or “Night of Worship.” This is a mid-week evening service dedicated solely to extended musical worship. We play music for an hour and a half or so and usually incorporate other forms of worship such as scripture readings, testimonies, and prayer/reflection time. The nature of the evening lends itself to longer, more “intimate” worship songs such as this one that I would probably never put in a Sunday morning set list.
- The Wonderful Cross by Chris Tomlin – shockingly, to me anyway, this song did not go over well with our congregation. I only did it one week and it flopped so I pulled it out of rotation. It’s an older song and perhaps I chose a bad key.
- Manifesto by The City Harmonic – again shockingly to me, this song did go over with our congregation! As the year wore on I became more and more surprised by what our congregation would and would not sing. This song has a hard rock feel, and has a strong creedal theme. It also has a lung-sucking 30-second version of The Lord’s Prayer for the bridge. It’s kind of kooky, but our people LOVE it. I’m pretty proud of them for this one actually, it’s not an easy sing. But they were just ready for it.
- Holy Holy Holy – the old hymn did not go over well. This one baffles me still.
- How Great Thou Art – huge hit. Weird right? (Not really, it’s an incredibly beautiful and rich song).
- O! Great is Our God! by the Sing Team – this folksy, fun, tamborine shakin’, foot-stompin’, sing-along song I was sure was going to bring the house down. Again, I was wrong. After 3 weeks and much angst I had to pull it from rotation, much to the chagrin of the worship team (who loved the song as much as I did). We’ll just sing it to ourselves.
- Stronger by Hillsong – since we introduced it right before Christmas, we’re still working on it. But it’s a hit, I can tell.
- Be Thou Exalted by New Life Worship – also still working on it, but I think it’s going to be a keeper.
- We Have a Saviour by Hillsong – it’s a Christmas/worship song that we did as our opener all through December and RIGHT at the end the people finally learned all the words and loved it. So now we’re trying to figure out how to change the lyrics so we can keep it in rotation 🙂
Eighteen songs probably looks like a lot to you (and was probably way too much to read…kudos for making it to the end) but it’s really not that many when you’re singing 5 to 7 songs every weekend. As you can see, some come and go very quickly. I hope to introduce upwards of 20 new songs in 2013. We’ll see how it goes 🙂