By Greg LaFollette
As I reflect on 2019 and my first year as director of Song Discovery, I feel grateful for all of the wonderful people I’ve met, the inspiring conversations I’ve shared, and the brilliant art that I’ve had the privilege of distributing to worship leaders around the world. Song Discovery exists to provide resources that address the needs of the Church. We aim to have our finger on the pulse of congregations everywhere, so we can choose songs that might be helpful. At Worship Leader magazine, we have a vision for curating and compiling a 21st-century hymnal: a modern-day songbook that captures expressions of worship from individual houses of prayer and offers them to the greater Church. What an honor to serve in this way!
Song Discovery has featured songs that cover a profusion of musical territory. While the style and production choices vary immensely, there is a common emphasis on a melodic structure that facilitates congregational use. The Church loves songs that are simple enough to learn quickly and interesting enough to sing over and over again. A great example of this is one of our July selections, “Light After Darkness.” A beautifully simple melody makes its way into your heart, while decisive repetition makes the lyrics easily accessible. (“Light after darkness, gain after a loss. Strength after weakness, crown after the cross. Sweet after bitter, hope after fears. Home after wandering, praise after tears.”)
As you might expect, when songs are submitted from across the globe, the diverse subject matter is covered. It’s a gift when our songs speak uniquely to the prayers of our people, and it is also a gift to share those prayers with those outside our community. I think of the song “New Name” (featured in November), born out of a congregation with a flourishing emphasis on adoption, and “Welcome Here” (June) which begins with the leader saying “[This] is our prayer today, that we would be a people who’s doors, who’s homes, whose hearts are open wide; eager to share the welcoming love of Jesus to all who may come our way to the glory of God the Father.” In sharing these songs, we tell the story of the Church.
This year we’ve discovered retuned hymns, synth-pop magic, raw and intimate sharing, upbeat and triumphant swells of adoration, gospel goodness, liturgical practice, and peaceful meditations. Through all of these expressions of worship, may Christ be exalted and the name of the Lord be blessed forevermore. Thanks for having me. Here’s to another year!