Many new worship songs are released each year, but few reach the pinnacle of popularity to last for years. Some do, and they eventually become classic worship songs for the church.
What are some of the elements that make a worship song popular with church congregations? We’re going to take a look and highlight three elements that make some worship songs so popular among church congregations, worship teams and worship leaders.
Singability? Yes, the ability to sing the song by the time the second or third chorus comes around, even if you’re hearing it for the first time. Often times worship songs are kind of made fun of because of their repeated lines, but it is also one of the elements that make some of them so popular. People can sing them almost instantly. It’s almost as if they already know the song. Of course part of a worship song being singable is its melody, staying within a vocal range that the average church goer. The combination of both an easy lyric to remember and an easy melody to sing helps a new listener embrace a song.
The past decade or two has seen a shift in many churches to having full worship bands. Most musicians in worship bands at church are not professional studio musicians, they a volunteers who devote their personal time to their church worship ministry. Therefore a music arrangement of a new song that is easy to learn and follow in both its chord progression and lead notes makes it quickly and easily adaptable for the worship band. And if the worship band is digging it, and can pull it off, the presentation shows and goes over with the congregation. If the song is singable and playable, that’s a combination that many will embrace!
We’ve listed it third, but it is actually the most important. Without a message, there really is no power in a song. However if you have a worship song with a great message but the average person can’t sing it or average musician can’t play it, the message may not resonate as much as it could, or it could be lost altogether. So there is a careful balance between all three of these elements.
The message of a worship song has to resonate deeply with the life of a Christ follower. It takes more than simply saying “God you are awesome” in a song. Yes, we worship God because He IS awesome and He IS God, but our decision to follow Christ came through the personal connection and crossroads to want to know this awesome God. A worship song has to touch that connection and emotion that a believer feels in his heart with a message that expresses the words their heart has been wanting to say. A message they want to sing to the Lord everyday!