Jay, who is serving as a youth intern, wrote in to ask:
I have been searching and searching for songs which have theological depth and substance but it has been quite the challenge in looking through the modern worship scene. I have found Sovereign Grace Music and the songs of Townend and Getty to be a huge help. But what I am asking is, what would you suggest for the next 10 or so songs that we could add to our youth group worship service?
I’ll start by making a few general recommendations, then suggest specific songs. It’s worth picking up any CD by Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Indelible Grace, and the new Matthew Smith CD. Paul Baloche’s latest, A Greater Song, has some fine songs on it as well. Here are some of the songs we’ve found helpful, not only for our parent/youth meetings, but also for Sunday mornings. By the way, I’m not recommending everything on these CD’s. The CD title is in parentheses.
Jesus Paid it All – Passion version (Everything Glorious)
Nothing but the Blood – Matt Redman (Facedown)
Maker of All Things – Tim Hughes (Here I Am to Worship)
How Great is Our God – Chris Tomlin (Passion: How Great is Our God)
Blessed be Your Name – Matt Redman (Blessed Be Your Name)
Great is the Lord – Starfield (Beauty in the Broken)
Giver of Life – Tim Hughes (When Silence Falls)
Matchless – Aaron Shust (Anything Worth Saying)
My Savior, My God – Aaron Shust (Anything Worth Saying)
Let the People Praise – Aaron Shust (Anything Worth Saying)
Offering – Paul Baloche (Offering of Worship)
I Will Boast – Paul Baloche (A Greater Song)
Lost in Wonder – Martyn Layzell (Lost in Wonder)
You Opened Up My Eyes – Martyn Layzell (Lost in Wonder)
Ken Boer, Music Director at my home church, also keeps a list of the songs we’ve done at Covenant Life. You can access it here.
Because we live in a music-addicted culture, it’s all the more important that young people are singing truths that proclaim God’s Word to their hearts. For that reason, I’d make sure that any youth group is singing songs with rich theology, usually hymns. The Passions Hymns CD has some gems, as do the Indelible Grace CD’s. Singing hymns helps anchor young people in generations beyond their current one. It also prevents a musical divide based on generation which contradicts what the Gospel is meant to do – make us one in Christ.
Thanks Bob for listing these resources. Especially the info about Passion’s Hymn CD. Question… as a worship leader I believe in the importance of the rich theology of hymns, however, I feel that the traditional arrangement of most hymns will not reach the younger generation. I have members of my band and worship team that feel like the hymn HAS to be sung the way it’s always been sung. Do you have some Biblical principles that I could begin laying down with them that will help them understand that the message is in the words not in the 4 part chorale that we’ve sang for hundreds of years? Or am I wrong in wanting to modernize the hymns so that they are more appealing to a younger generation?
Thanks, God continue to Bless you!
Its Jay. Thanks SO much for the response! I’ll be downloading these songs off iTunes as soon as possible. A couple of your suggestions have been on my to do list (Nothing But the Blood & My Savior, My God) and a couple we have started doing recently (Jesus Paid It All & How Great Is Our God). We’ll be sure to put these songs into our Wednesday night youth meetings and I know they will be songs which exalt our great God and are sung with a passion for Him. Thanks for taking the time to bring these resources my way. Your blog has been tremendously helpful in giving me a proper perspective on worship and a greater view of God! May God bless you and your ministry.
Thanks, Bob for always considering a generation beyond your own, promoting songs and priorities that center that generation on God and not preferences, either new or familiar.
These are all great suggestions, Bob. Here are some not on your list that our youth group enjoy: “Everlasting God” by Brenton Brown (on his new CD with same title), “Hope of the Nations” by Brian Doerkson (on his CD with the same title), “Indescribable” by Laura Story (recorded by Chris Tomlin on “Arriving”) and “You are God Alone” by Billy and Cindy Foote. These are songs our youth in particular really respond to. I am very particular with song choices as well due to lack of depth in so many out there, so I hope these help. God bless!
I would suggest Red Mountain Church Music.
some of the stuff wont fit but they have some GREAT songs.
Just wanted you to know that our young people sing many Sovereign Grace recorded songs on Wednesday nights … and “I will Glory In My Redeemer” and “Before The Throne” are two of their favorites!
They also happen to enjoy old hymns put to new music … so thanks for making these available!
I really appreciate this post due to the fact that I am a young worship leader (22) for high school students at my church. You made some great music suggestions and I would like to add a group for your encouragement. Here’s a link to their older album