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Blog - On Worship and Leading > In the Beginning...
In the Beginning...
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Al Hilgendorf
Apr 26, 2007
2:04 PM
Praise and Worship Music is in a quandary.

There are more songs being written, recorded, and released under the banner of Praise and Worship music than ever before. It has become an industry.

So why is it so hard to find a good congregational song?

If you're a regular reader of Worship Leader magazine, you may sense that they're feeling it too. In the past year or so I've noticed an almost desperate increase in articles dealing with song structure and songwriting for worship. The A&R of Song DISCovery listens to over 1,000 songs to select 20 for each issue. You'd think every song selected would be a gem, right? Yet a pastor friend of mine told me that it was hard to find anything on Song DISCovery! If you read the music reviews in that same magazine, at the end of each review they give what is called "WL Takeaway" - a practical application for the reviewed recording. You'd think that most every CD would have at least one song suitable for congregational singing, but too often it's not the case. Look at the top 25 songs churches are singing at CCLI. There aren't any songs newer than 2004, and most of them were written in the '90s. Skeptical? Look at the top 100. The further down the list you go, the older the songs get. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with these songs - they're classics. But it looks like worship leaders are only adding new songs whenever Chris Tomlin releases a new record.

This is where I was a couple of years ago. As a volunteer worship leader, I found it increasingly frustrating and time consuming to find good congregational songs. Every worship leader has certain criteria for the songs they'll use in church. I had identified my criteria in order to make selecting songs easier. I narrowed it down to 3 elements: A song must be meaningful, memorable, and singable. (I'll elaborate in later posts) As I was thinking about my guidelines, the thought came to me that maybe I could start writing again. I hadn't written a song in a long time and the ones I did write weren't ones I would use for congregational singing. So, I wrote a couple of songs, introduced them anonymously (which I still do) so that I could get honest feedback. One song led to another and here we are.

What's the point?

I'm not going to change the songwriting world or be the next big thing but my hope is that you can find something here that will help you either as you worship or lead others. My goal as a songwriter is to create a place where you don't have to look too far to find songs that are meaningful, memorable, and singable.

Last Edited by on Apr 26, 2007 2:36 PM

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