Jubilee College of Music

Always Singing...Dr. Smoak

notes about music & worship

for JCM students, graduates, faculty

"How to Choose a New Worship Song"

This is an important question that worship leaders must ask: “How do I choose a new worship song for my church to sing?” Congregations do enjoy singing familiar songs. They know and understand the words. The melody is familiar. But new worship songs are constantly being written. We find these new worship songs by listening to K-LOVE on the radio and by searching websites such as www.praisecharts.com and www.worshiptogether.com. With so many new worship songs to choose from worship leaders must know how to select that one special song that their people will embrace and sing with enthusiasm. There are two major considerations: words and music.

Words: The decision here is very simple. Are the words of the new song theologically correct? Does the text speak of biblical truths? Are the words God-centered, Jesus-centered, and Holy Spirit-centered? Read and study the words. Are the words based upon a particular Bible verse? Do not get caught up in only listening to the melody and chord structure of the music. The words must proclaim the greatness of God, the story of Jesus, or give testimony of God’s work in our lives. Be careful of songs that do not even use the words God, Jesus, or familiar Bible-centered words. For instance, consider the familiar worship song “Draw Me Close.” The text does not mention God or Jesus and could just be considered a secular love song. I like this worship song, but it does need a verbal explanation of what the text means. As worship leaders select new worship songs they must have the Bible in one hand and the music in their other hand.

Music: By music I am simply referring to the melody of the song. Can the average, non-musical person in the church sing the melody? Is the melody so complicated and intricate that the persons in audience will simply give up and not participate in the singing? Worship leaders must remember that they are not performing for the audience; rather, they are leading and encouraging the congregation to lift their voices in praise to God. Choose melodies that the people in your church will be able to sing and enjoy singing as they worship together with other believers. Recently I wrote about that new worship song “Victor’s Crown.” The melody of this song is repeated in several verses and is easy to learn. The bridge is energetic and easily learned. The chorus is musically simple. This is a new worship song that people can learn and enjoy singing toghther. Let us sing!

Remember, always be looking for the next, new worship songs that you want to share with your church.