Each year in our Best of the Best issue of Worship Leader magazine, we highlight what we considered the top congregational worship songs that released that year. Each year we also post it online, so you can use it to learn new songs or share others that you found helpful this year. Before the comments come, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” released last year, and yes it was our number one song for 2013. That said, feel free to add to this list, make suggestions, or simply enjoy the music. We added the Spotify link when availible. -JA
20. “No Fear in Love”
Writers: Nate Ward II, Steffany Gretzinger
Just in time. In a world of fear, a prayer for love—God’s kind of love—a prayer of consecration and the need for God’s persistent tending, leading, reminding. Beautiful transcendent, essential.
19. “Say the Word”
Rule in My Heart
Writers: Beth Croft, Tim Hughes
Matter morphs. Bodies, hearts, and minds sync with Jesus’ perfect intention when he speaks. Restoration. Mountains move, circumstances and perspectives transform. Love sees and acts. Just a word, just a touch, and the broken become whole.
18. “God Demonstrates His Love,”
Writer: Harvest Parker
Emotion ascends. Scripture declared. Musical drama. Glimpse the near future of worship. God magnified. We bow in grateful humility and wonder at his love demonstrated. Whispers and swells, synthy cinemizing. Whoomph! Watch and listen for more.
17. “Psalm 118”
Robbie Seay Band
Psalms, Vol. 2
Writers: Robbie Seay Band
Emotional, devotional. Reflecting the Psalms and directing us to them. Follow. Read. Sing aloud with a polyphony of voices … listen. Listen in silence and make melody in your heart. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. Wisps and waves. Delicate and weighty. Beat of heart. Beat of drum. Layers. A transfusion of truth, the truth we must return to now and always.
16. “Unstoppable Love”
Writers: Christa Black, Kim Walker-Smith, Skyler Smith
Nothing, nothing can separate us from his unstoppable love. Warrior king. Passion multiplied, awed, and amazed by God’s relentless pursuit of us. We sing. Loud, lidless, intimacy. Unending wonder at his powerful mercy.
15. “All Arise”
Michael W. Smith
Writers: Jason Ingram, Michael W. Smith
All arise at the name of our Savior. Such completely Christ-centered, gospel-anchored praise is rare these days. A song that answers the need of the Church for more of God and less of me. An anthem and impassioned call to revere and honor the only one whose majesty is unending: the King of all Kings.
14. “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)”
Love Ran Red
Writers: Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jonas Myrin, Matt Armstrong, Matt Redman
Ever present, never-ending redemption, mercy and grace at the Cross. Love bled. A perpetual flood of love. We breathe/sing/inhabit eternal awe, gratitude, and devotion. The power of sin is broken and we are saved. Shame is gone, and Christ’s peace reigns.
13. “It Is Well (Live)”
You Make Me Brave (Live)
Writers: Horatio Gates Spafford, Kristene DiMarco, Philip Paul Bliss
One of the more emotionally powerful and hauntingly beautiful adaptations of an iconic theme from a well-known hymn in recent history. It is well with my soul … And through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You / and it is well with me.
12. “My Heart Is Yours”
Passion: Take It All (Live)
Writers: Brett Younker, Daniel Carson, Jason Ingram, Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter, Kristian Stanfill, Winfield Scott Weeden
Prayer of consecration, responding to the Holy Spirit’s drawing and calling. The great and ongoing surrender of faith and the resolute choice to take up the cross and follow. Bold and intimate.
11. “Made for Worship”
Writers: Andy Harrison, BJ Pridham
Prayer of consecration. Proclamation of purpose, identity, and intention. Declaration of God’s sufficiency and unending generosity. Accessible. Adaptable across styles and generations. I will shout your praise forever / I was made to worship / I was made to bless your name.
10. “Nearness of You”
Writers: Asher Seevinck and Dave Wilton
Refreshing. Delicate and weighty. Elaborate and simple. A quiet revival of waiting, worship, and contemplation. Congregational, relational, dimensional, nuanced and compellingly beautiful with deep emotional resonance. A Psalm to be sung alone… together … often. The nearness of you is my only good / Who have I but you?
John Mark McMillan
Writer: John Mark McMillan
The paradox of the gospel. The awe-inspiring God calls us friend. Powerful. Poetic. Worshipful. Ascendant. Plaintive. Aching. Grand. Sweet. You hold the reins on the sun and moon … Yet …You ask me to be Your friend / And You / You are my first / You are my last / You are my future and my past.
8. “I Am”
Writers: David Crowder, Ed Cash
Tape it to your mirror. Stick it on the fridge door. A permanent place on your personal and congregational playlist. Sing it every morning. Sing it every Sunday. Holding on to and being held by the Great I Am. This is a song that can dig you out of any hole, and resurrect your hope. There’s no space that his love can’t reach / There’s no place where we can’t find peace / There’s no end to amazing grace … I am / Holding on to you!
7. “You Lift Us Up”
Paul Baloche Live
Writers: Matt Maher, Paul Baloche
Congregational worship at its most accessible. Healing for the wounded, the broken, a promise of resurrection for what has died in us. An “us” and “God “ song. Focus on our need and his response. Sometimes it’s our need for deliverance in the present that reminds us what he’s done in the past.
Writers: Lisa Gungor, Michael Gungor
Vapor finds ground in you, music finds sound in you. Dream. Float. Reflect. Imagine. Believe. Be swept into the wonder, the holiness, the paradoxical mystery and beauty of God. Holy. You are holy / Infinite and Holy / … impossible and holy / A billion suns rise for you / Clouds paint the skies for you.
5. “Only King Forever”
Only King Forever
Writers: Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Steven Furtick, Wade Joye
Proclaim. Shout out. Be enveloped in sonic glory. There is only one king forever. Matchless, wise, just, almighty, calling forth worship, every knee bowing. More of God. Less of us.
The Art of Celebration
Writers: Rend Collective
Pain will not define us. Song for life. Song for the ages. Song for what ails the world and the Church and every believer. Song to remember. Song to exultantly shout and dance and sing through the dark and on the mountaintops, Joy will reignite us. You’re the Song.]
3. “Christ Be All Around Me”
All Sons & Daughters
All Sons & Daughters
Writers: David Leonard, Jack Mooring, Leeland Mooring, Leslie Jordan
Echoing Saint Patrick, encompassing us in timeless entreaty.Your life, your death, your blood was shed for every moment. A prayer, a declaration, words on the lips of the Church across time.
2. “This I Believe (The Creed)”
No Other Name
Writers: Ben Fielding and Matt Crocker.
At the heart of our faith, Father/-/Jesus/-/Holy Spirit; foundational beliefs echoing across generations, denominations, and nations—unalterable, unchanging, shouted, wept, whispered, dreamed, drilled in and planted deep, echoing Christ in us, the hope of glory. Yes!
1. “Forever (We Sing Hallelujah)”
Writers: Brian Johnson, Christa Black Gifford, Gabriel Wilson, Jenn Johnson, Joel Taylor, and Kari Jobe.
What will you be singing on Easter next year? … and for years to come … maybe even “Forever.” Cinematic co-write elevates drama, hope, and the level on contemporary songwriting. Lament kisses ultimate victory for maximum celebration and endless exultation.