Forgettable Worship: Choosing Songs with Purpose

song dive what are we singing? Jan 25, 2024

The Challenge of Forgettable Songs

So, last week, I threw a question out to you all about diving into the latest hits by Phil Wickham and another by Cody Carnes. Crickets. No responses. It got me thinking – are these songs just forgettable? I don't want to be overly critical; after all, these songs aren't necessarily bad, but they seem to lack that special something. Over two decades of leading worship, I've seen countless songs come and go, and truth be told, most of them are now lost in the fog of memory.

Let's talk about why. The dilemma arises – are we picking songs just because they're trendy, or do they have a deeper meaning? Am I, like my wife, blessed with the gift of remembering every lyric effortlessly, or am I more like myself, struggling to memorize even the chord progressions? The two songs in question might not be terrible, but are they memorable? Will anyone be looking them up on YouTube in a decade? I humorously suggest that maybe even ChatGPT wrote them.

Legacy Songs: A Timeless Approach

In the midst of the forgettable tunes, there's a call for a new approach – enter the concept of "legacy songs." These are the timeless melodies that etch themselves into the collective memory of the congregation. I suggest a departure from the norm of constantly introducing new songs. Instead, I throw out a challenge – what if we focus on a select few, even repeating them for a few weeks? It's a break from the usual routine, but the benefits are enticing – the band gets to know the songs like the back of their hands, and the congregation becomes intimately familiar.

The idea might raise eyebrows, especially for those used to a constantly changing playlist. But I argue that this approach, contrary to expectations, re-engages the church in worship. It's a bold move, a departure from the routine of always seeking the next big hit. The challenge is real – leading the same song over and over requires a new discipline for worship leaders, but the payoff could be a more profound connection with the congregation.

Leading Worship with Purpose

Now, let's talk about the role of worship leaders. It's not just about choosing catchy songs; it's about creating a meaningful experience. I emphasize eye contact – a vital element in connecting with the congregation. I admit my struggle with memorizing lyrics but underscore its importance. After all, artists and bands don't rely on confidence screens, so why should I?

Finally, there's a call to integrate scripture into the worship experience. I suggest using a worship guide with scripture references, encouraging worshippers to engage with the Word. Reading from the Bible, even when the verses are projected on the screen, adds an authentic touch. The promise of a deep dive into Hillsong's "King of Kings" suggests a future exploration of the profound messages hidden within worship songs.

Listen to the podcast on What Are We Singing? Unforgettable Worship: Choosing Songs with Purpose Here