Top Hymns of 2023 Reveal Shifts in Worship

Hymn Popularity

by Don Chapman

The results are in – we now know the most beloved hymns in 2023 according to an informal poll by Thom Rainer at Lifeway. After compiling over 2,000 responses, the top 20 hymns showcase a mix of classic and modern worship favorites.

Leading the pack is the iconic “It Is Well With My Soul,” followed by other perennial hits like “How Great Thou Art,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Blessed Assurance.” The top 10 shows that historic hymns still resonate strongly with believers today.

Yet as we examine the full list, changes are afoot. Making their mark are more contemporary selections like “In Christ Alone” (#12), “Because He Lives” (#14), and “Victory in Jesus” (#9). While popular in contemporary churches, these songs are not technically hymns according to the strict definition.

What makes a hymn a hymn? Experts point to features like longevity over generations, horizontal lyrics (talking about God, not to God), and composition styles that lift up theological truths. By this standard, the top three non-hymns are:

  • “Victory in Jesus” – A gospel song penned in 1939, it has more of a revival spirit compared to historic hymns.
  • “In Christ Alone” – This modern worship anthem was written in 2001 and has a contemporary sound.
  • “Because He Lives” – A beloved gospel ballad from 1971, it does not yet have the longevity of historic hymns.

The fact that these more modern songs now rank among the top 20 hymns shows how Christians continue to embrace new worship music. Songs that may have once been considered contemporary are entering the pantheon of classics passed down to future generations.

While old favorites still top the charts, the landscape of church music is evolving. The hymns of 2023 provide a snapshot of these ongoing changes in Christian worship and musical expression. As we lift our voices each Sunday, let’s honor historic hymns alongside new songs that resonate in fresh ways with believers today – and that’s exactly why I’ve created!

Thom Rainer’s Top 20 Hymn List for 2023

  1. It Is Well With My Soul
  2. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  3. Amazing Grace
  4. How Great Thou Art
  5. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  6. Blessed Assurance
  7. Holy, Holy, Holy
  8. Be Thou My Vision
  9. Victory in Jesus
  10. The Old Rugged Cross
  11. A Mighty Fortress
  12. In Christ Alone
  13. And Can It Be
  14. Because He Lives
  15. The Solid Rock
  16. When I Survey the Woundrous Cross
  17. I Stand Amazed in the Presence
  18. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
  19. To God Be the Glory
  20. There Is a Fountain

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Top Arrangements

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Blessed Assurance
Christ Arose
Crown Him With Many Crowns
Jesus Paid It All 2018
Holy Holy Holy

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