Before I share with you my favorite worship songs (and why), I want to take a minute or two to discuss what has been termed the “Worship War” regarding music in the church.
You see, while there are wars going on around us all across the world, there is also one happening in the pews or chairs of nearly every church across America. It’s the music war. Hymns vs. Christian pop. Bands vs. song leaders or choirs. Special effects vs. simplicity. It’s enough to drive some people away from the church.
That’s right—some have left their congregation because they cannot feel worshipful with drums banging and lights flashing while musicians perform on stage. This method of worship, however, has served as a catalyst to bring young people into the church who prior to coming, had little or no understanding of who God is and what it means to have a personal relationship with Him. So which is right or best?
There is no one answer to that question. Instead, the answer comes by asking and answering a few more questions:
- Are members of the congregation actively participating in the worship service by singing? If not, why aren’t they? If you don’t know the songs it’s difficult to worship through song (which is the purpose of this part of a church service).
- Are those leading worship treating the service more like a performance than an act of leading their church family in singing praises to God? You know what I’m talking about. And if you cannot definitively answer ‘no’….
- Would people wanting to participate in helping lead worship required to try out to determine if they are good enough? This is never ever justifiable. Remember: none of us are good enough to stand before God and claim his blessings, but we do.
- Is your worship service allowing all members of the congregation an opportunity to feel worshipful? In other words, are you appealing to both the old and the young? If not, why aren’t you?
- Is the focus of the service praise to God or is it getting the key changes just right and the slides on the screen in just the right order? Sure you want things to be organized, but when those things become more important….
I’ve talked to dozens of churches and dozens of worship leaders across the country about the subject of music in their services. By and large most want to appeal to everyone’s style of worship—thus the blended service, which is a mix of hymns and contemporary music.
But sadly, more than a few made comments like, “People need to get with the times”, “Those songs (meaning hymns) are outdated and dull”, “You can’t get a beat on the old stuff so nobody wants to listen to it”, “The young people are the future of the church so they’re the ones we need to be taking care of.”
I cannot and will not even start on how sad and wrong these statements are. Instead, I’m going to (finally) give you my list of favorites and tell you why. I’ll also share with you a few lines from each song so that you, too, can hear the message God is speaking through each of them.
The Old Rugged Cross
What’s not to love about this song? It tells the plain and simple truth that Jesus died for me without complaint and without resistance. All he asks is that I say thank-you by living in such a way that makes his death worthwhile. But even that is the choice of each of us.
On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suff’ring and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true
Its shame and reproach gladly bear
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away
Where his glory forever I’ll share
So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
Does Jesus Care?
A song that answers the question with a resounding “Yes!” No matter what happens or how alone we feel, Jesus is there and he cares about each and every minute detail of our life.
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
A song that reminds us that God is unchanging, always present, and that he has everything under control.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Shout to the Lord
This song makes my heart want to burst with joy and thanksgiving because of who God is.
My Jesus, my Saviour
Lord there is none like You
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love
My comfort, my shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You
How Long Has It Been?
An oldie but goodie that reminds us of the essentialness of communicating with Jesus through prayer. How can we expect Jesus to answer and act in our lives if we don’t invite him to do so?
How long has it been since you talked with the Lord
And told him your heart’s hidden secrets
How long since you prayed how long since you stayed
On your knees till the light shone through
How long has it been since your mind felt at ease
How long since your heart knew no burden
Can you call him your friend how long has it been since you knew that he cared for you
~ Article by Darla Noble