Friday, 4 January 2019

'Best' Worship Songs from 2018

Don't you dislike words like 'best worship songs'...! What does that even mean? For us, it's just a title, nothing more. We all recognise that various songs work in differing contexts, groups, churches and occasions. Songs rise up and fall back, others stay longer, some come for seasons and in certain churches.

But from my church, worship events and local area within the missional Anglican and charismatic church, which songs have really been 'taking off'? What songs have I seen God use to really speak into people's lives and seen people sing with a passion in church? Which worship songs have seen God's anointing on them? New songs, old ones, songs somewhere in between....

In no particular order....

Living Hope

Written by Phil Wickham and Brian Johnson, this is a song that has really taken off in 2018. The words are really anointed as is the construction of the song. This is sung with more energy by Phil Wickham compared to the more mellow Brian Johnson. Cross Point Church have done a great version (and electric guitar tutorial). All versions work equally well. This is a song that can cross over between band in a charismatic church and in a more traditional evangelical church. It's a song I find myself singing to myself over and over.

What A Beautiful Name

The bridge still has an incredible anointing on it as we corporately declare who God is and the fact that he has no rival and no equal. Love that. The song has fallen back in use, possibly due to over-use. Still such a powerful song, lyrics and tune.

O Praise The Name

Another incredible Hillsong tune and one that is still going. The chorus is so powerful and can be used and attached to many other worship songs. This is used and declared with passion wherever I go.

Surrounded (Fight My Battles)

A Housefires song that has taken off in 2018, the song is about how we fight our battles through worship. The declaration is that 'it may look like I'm surrounded, but I'm surrounded by you' is a message to a world often hostile to Christianity and an encouragement. The song is simple and powerful.

Reckless Love

Still being used and still loved, especially the chorus and bridge. The song speaks to a generation that is often confused and needs God's comfort. The only reckless thing about this song is the silly fuss some people online have made about it. Thank goodness God calls us to the throne of grace, not to the throne of 'theological perfection', to paraphrase Mike Bickle. Part of the power of this song is the use of the word 'Reckless' which gives the song its anointed edge. If you don't like the song, don't use it and move on!

This I Believe

Hillsong's declaration of the creed and what we believe is brilliant. We often use this for communion. Similar to this song is 'O Come To The Altar' by Elevation Worship which we've occasionally used.

Great Are You Lord

I like All Sons and Daughters and they've done some great songs in their own unique ways. But 'Great Are You Lord' seems to have actually risen up in 2018 if that makes sense. Again, it's another song that declares who God is. These songs are needed in the church in a dark world and remind us, encourage us and give us boldness as we know our God.

The bridge 'All the earth will shout your name' is also powerful. The chord structure for that is 1, 1sus, 4, 1.

Personally I like the way All Sons and Daughters (the final time around) go: 1, 1sus/6, 4, 1. Try it and see!

10, 000 Reasons

Still going and still loved. It's being sung less but still retains that Psalm 103 praising God at all times vibe. It's more of a hymn as we know and so has an appeal across church traditions. Thinking again of the chord structure,

I heard Hunter at Bethel Music (I think) sing the final chorus with a replacement chord, as follows, which I've done and works well... The normal way is: Bless the (4) Lord, oh my (1) soul, (5) oh my (6) soul...

The way Bethel did it was: Bless the (4) Lord, oh my (1) soul, (3) oh my (6) soul...

Take Courage

We've found ourselves singing this from Kristin DiMarco at Bethel quite a few times. The song has spoken to many people who find themselves in a time of waiting, of hoping, trusting and desperately in need of God. The Bible tells us in places like Psalm 27 and 37 that it's good to wait on the Lord. But sometimes the waiting just seems endless, as I know from personal experience. But this chorus moves from 'Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds' through to 'Hold onto your hope, watch your triumph unfold.' It's active waiting and I've seen many people crying or just holding onto God as this sung sung over them and into the core of their spirit.

Stand In Your Love

'My fear doesn't stand a chance, when I, stand in your love..." I was at Exeter University Great Hall when the excellent Josh Baldwin led his song in October 2018 and the roof nearly blew off. To be fair, it did with every song. The passion for God was incredible. The semi-country, semi-worship style with the electric guitar riff using a slide on the A-shape just adds to another powerful declaration. This time it's for a generation where fear is rising but God is bigger!


Co-written by Mariah McManus, this is another tune that has risen up and again when sung at church (and at the Bethel event at Exeter Uni), the passion and worship of God was almost overwhelmingly powerful. I actually find myself walking around and working, singing and declaring "Jesus, Jesus, you make the darkness tremble" constantly. The bridge of 'Your name is a light that the shadows can't deny. Your name cannot be overcome' is another declaration and powerful truth that needs to be sung, heard, spoken out and seen manifested in life!

Yes and Amen

Another Housefires song that has seen real traction, again due to a declaration of a truth in God's Word. This time from 2 Corinthians 1.20 that "All your promises are yes and Amen." The inspired shout of "Faithful, you are..." only adds to another song of declaration. Again, when Hunter Thompson sung this at iHop's 2018 OneThing, there was such a passion of worship.

PS check out Morgan Faleolo's version of this (and 'Do It Again' by Elevation Music). Amazing -

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