The big questions we ask with new songs...

After this years soul.conference we came to the realisation that we only had about four new ‘top of the worship pop’ songs. We had intended on trying out at least twelve new tracks, on top of already sacrificing some of the precious space for new songs with two homegrown tracks.

A whole bunch of the songs we used in the extended times of singing were facilitated by some of the regular songs we’ve used for years, a couple of golden oldie chorus’ and hymns and only four or five new ones.

Was that enough fresh songs? Were we creative enough? Were we equipping the churches we work with to have fresh songs for their journey?

These are all great questions - and ones we ask regularly to make sure we are being helpful at creating space for young people to worship Jesus... the point of our singing.

But, I’ve been noticing a trend though as we talk about new songs and albums in the worship space, and it worries me a little. Sometimes it seems like we are glorifying the new songs a bit too much, and we are more likely to talk about the songwriter or musicians rather than who that song was written for, King Jesus. That might be for another article, but the problem still exists - and I’m not immune! I know I’ve done an excited tweet or post about the latest tracks from one of my favorite writers upon release!

Most of the time when talking with worship leaders, pastors, musicians, I’ll often here the well intentioned questions of:
‘what new tracks have you heard?
what is the latest anointed song?
what song is the most creatively inspiring?’

But I’m wondering if our language and focus in these questions is not helping us keep to the heart of why we choose songs. Maybe our question needs to change when we are talking about new songs?

We’ve started to use the question:
‘what is the song of connection for your group at the moment?’

By shifting the focus to ‘connection’ what we are really asking is ‘which song is helping the people in the community you are leading to give an offering of worship to the Lord?’.

As we reflected on our song list for this year, we felt like it might not have been as ‘fresh’ or exciting but we really did enjoy seeing young people connect with Jesus in worship. This doesn’t mean we don’t introduce new songs, it just meant that this year we sacrificed being worship hipsters for the sake of intimacy and connection in worship.

Maybe as we all change our question to asking after ‘songs of connection’ - we might have a way of keeping the heart of why we choose new songs in a better place.

What do you think?

Deb Stanley

Canberra, ACT, Australia

Deb started working with Soul Survivor in 2008 and now lives in Canberra, where she leads Soul Survivor ACT and also looks after the worship teams at soul.conference. Deb finished her degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 2011 and is studying at Morling College.