Why Your Church Should Sing New Songs (Not Only Old Songs)

Some churches sing only old songs—they rely on the great hymns of the faith and add newer selections on only the rarest of occasions. Some churches only sing new songs—they rely on their own songwriters or the Christian top-40 and sing older selections on only the rarest of occasions. I am convinced there is value in deliberately singing both the oldest and the most recent songs (though gladly extend an exception to those brothers and sisters with the conviction that …

The Key To Making the Most Out of Congregational Singing

It’s good to go to a conference or a concert and to sing with hundreds or even thousands of strangers. There is something majestic and soul-stirring about gathering with other believers and using the common language of song to join together in worship. But I believe it’s far better still to go to a local church—to your local church—and to sing with just the few people who make that church their home. To understand why I believe this, we need …

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We Don’t Sing for Fun

One of the trends that has swept our society through the past decades is the “funification” of pretty much everything. We have been told and become convinced that everything ought to be fun. I can’t think of a better example than in schools where the rote memorization that was once considered essential to learning was deemed too difficult and unattractive, so was replaced by activities much more enjoyable but much less effective. We can see the theme in media where …

Get To Know CityAlight (and Their New Album)

For the past few years I’ve been enjoying the music of CityAlight both on a personal and congregational level (as we’ve added several of their songs to our worship services). They have just released a new album and, to mark the occasion, I asked them (Richard Thompson and Jonny Robinson) a few questions. I’ve interspersed their new songs throughout the interview so you can give them a listen. The album is available now wherever good music is sold or streamed. …

5 Songs by CityAlight I Think You’ll Enjoy

There has probably never been as much Christian music created as there is today. It can be a chore to sort through the vast amounts of noise to find the few songs that present timeless truth in fresh ways. One group that does this well is Australia’s CityAlight. They are creating music that is a joy to sing alone and, often, well-suited to sing as a congregation. Here are five favorites that are ideal for individuals and congregations alike. (Chords, …

What I Love To Ponder at 10:01 AM on Sunday Morning

Eighteen hours ago, brothers and sisters in New Zealand gathered to worship God. City by city and church by church they joined their voices together to praise him in song, to call out to him in prayer, and to hear from him through the Word. So, too, did believers in the easternmost reaches of Russia. As their worship services drew near to a close, Australians in Sydney, then Adelaide, then Perth began to sing their own calls to worship, as …

Is It Time To Go Back to The Heart of Worship?

I had been lost in a kind of daydream and snapped back to reality with the realization I had been singing “The Heart of Worship.” It surprised me to learn I know the song by memory, and since I was already well into it, I kept on going. You probably remember the chorus: “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, Jesus.” It was 20 years ago that Matt Redman penned this song, which means …

The Best CCM Debut Albums

Sometimes you heard a band’s or artist’s debut album and think, “I’ll keep an eye on them.” Sometimes you hear it and think, “I’m hooked.” There are some artists who take two or three albums to really hit their stride while others make their mark right out of the gate. I was a big fan of PFR back in their day, but if they had only ever released their debut they would soon have been forgotten; it wasn’t until Great …

A Church with Great Music

I heard someone say it recently: “The music at that church is great.” It didn’t take me long to understand what he meant—that the church has a great music program. They have a band composed of talented musicians who play and sing with skill and beauty. To be part of that church is to benefit from the skills of an incredible group of musicians. This is what we tend to mean when we consider a church’s music. When we say …

The Art of Godliness, Episode 5: Music in the Church

Today I bring another episode of The Art of Godliness, the podcast that attempts to think out loud and in public about how to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. Paul and I discuss the always-controversial topic of music in the church. Isn’t it ironic that music, meant to create unity in the church, is so often a source of division? It shouldn’t be this way! Thanks to this week’s sponsor Logos Mobile Education from Faithlife …