Don’t get me wrong: I love praise and worship music!
However, it seems like the popular praise songs of today don’t have much diversity in theological content. In fact, according to the CCLI charts that track the most used songs in churches, we have what I call a “Greatness Glut” – our God is greater, how great is our God and He’s mighty to save.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with singing about the greatness of God! But why aren’t songs dealing with other topics also at the top of the charts? Where are the well-known songs about sin or confession or prayer or judgement or giving…
Here are some ideas for using HymnCharts arrangements to add a little Heaven to your praise sets.I Can Only Imagine Medley Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any popular praise songs about Heaven that most people would know (if you have a suggestion, mention it in the comments below.) I Can Only Imagine is the one contemporary song in recent memory that fits the bill, and it isn’t really a praise song.
If you’re in the habit of only using songs written in the past year or two, you might be thinking that song is too old! Sure, the copyright date is 2001, but so what? I Can Only Imagine was immensely popular back in the day, you probably haven’t used it in years, and people in your congregation enjoy hearing favorite songs brought back once in a while. Try having a typical praise set of a few upbeat songs, transition into my HymnCharts arrangement of In the Sweet By and By using 1 Cor. 13:12-13 (spoken and/or projected) then flow into a soloist singing I Can Only Imagine.Heaven Medley End your praise set with a Heaven medley using my HymnCharts arrangements of Face to Face and Sweet By and By. The songs work thematically, by key (lower Face to Face or raise Sweet By and By a step using my transposed chord charts and/or Finale software, sold separately) and by the linking words:
Face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by.
– and –
In the sweet by and by we shall meet on that beautiful shore.
Download chord charts, sheet music and instrumental parts for Face to Face and Sweet By and By with a hymncharts subscription – it’s the best worship value on the Internet. Learn more.
Matt Redman’s ‘Endless Hallelujah’ is a wonderful worship song about heaven. ‘When I stand before your throne, dressed in glory not my own…’
Cielo by Phil Wickham is a great song about heaven that works great with Revelation Song by Jenny Riddle I think. Thank you for your reminder for us to sing of the hope of eternity and of heaven itself God bless your service to His church
Don… thanks for addressing this. I’ve run into the same roadblock when planning a service with eternity… or heaven as a theme. I almost always resort (can I say that?) to several “Gospel songs”… along with “Even So, Come”…. or “I Can only Imagine”. But it would be wonderful to have some solid newer songs, (CCM….praise songs…modern ) available to incorporate.
YOU HOLD ME NOW by Hillsong is a great song about Heaven. It is on their FAITH HOPE AND LOVE recording.
Days of Elijah
All things New
I Will Rise
While not “brand new” I thought these worked really well.
We just had this as a sermon topic. It was also great to start the service with the old gospel hymns I”ll Fly away and When the Roll is Called up Yonder.
The Only Name (Yours Will Be)
“When I wake up in the land of glory with the saints I will tell my story, there will be one Name that I proclaim…”
Great thoughts! I think we need more preaching about Heaven too. Just reading John Alcorn’s book ‘Heaven’ changed my life! I’m much more content to wait for things that probably will never happen on this earth…but I can look forward to them on the new earth! Anyway, years ago I heard and loved the song ‘One Day’ by Mark Schulz. But the first verse didn’t seem like a verse that would necessarily resonate with everyone in a congregation. So I changed the words and made it more generally heaven-focused (sorry, Mark!) and now we sing it often. Here’s the new verse:
All of creation….. Is groaning and waiting for the day.
Anticipating….. Release from the pain and suffering,
And all of God’s children
Anxiously wait until the day when we’re set free.
As a worship leader who studied hymnology with Dr. Claude Rhea at Samford and Donald Hustad at Southern Seminary I was immensed in the power of hymns and challenged to not be afraid to use them. I love praise songs, but I am with you in that theology seems to be a little lacking. We were using Third Day’s Glorious Day and our worship leader went to get the words off of the computer. When he returned I handed him the hymnal opened to One Day. I’m sure some of you guys will criticize me for this post, yet, God is in all of it. What makes the music relevant to today is how YOU allow God to use you to bring it to the congregation. If it’s singing hymns just to appease the old folks, well, that’s not edifying God. If you just use praise songs to bring in the young families that’s not Glorifying and Edifying Him either. You have to use them to Glorify and Edify Him, period. I was trained to see the congregation as a whole. From the babies to those about to go to heaven. They all have their own preferences and ideas of what worship music is. It’s our job to meet them where they are and lead them to the throne of God forgetting about our egos. Should we use praise songs? Absolutely. God is writing those songs for a reason. Should we still use hymns and songs from 15-20 years ago. Yes! God wrote those songs for a reason too. Can we not just use them all and meet the needs of every generation in worship? I think we can if we set our egos aside.