Yearly, we compile our list of top worship songs because we want to service churches by recommending new songs for her worship. Likewise, this year, God has gifted many of his songwriters and worship artists with a plethora of songs. In choosing the songs for this list, we took these factors into consideration:
1. The songs that make the list need to be singable for the congregation. This disqualifies songs that were written about God or songs for individuals to sing to or for God.
2. The songs need to demonstrate theological and Biblical depth. Thus, love songs guised as worship songs do not qualify.
3. The songs that we considered needed to be released in 2015 and they needed to have been sent to us for review.
So, here goes:
10. Uche Agu "Lost in You" from "The Glory Experience: Live in Houston"
"Lost in You" has the word "classic" written all over it. With a time transcending tune and a power-packed choir, "Lost in You" is a prayer for greater intimacy with Jesus Christ. To give us a foretaste of the worship music coming out of Africa, Agu strings together four African worship staples which runs unfortunately a tad too long.
9. Casting Crowns "At Calvary" from "A Live Worship Experience"
First recorded for their album "Glorious Day: Hymns of Faith" but re-recorded live this year, Casting Crowns' "At Calvary" is still one of the most poignant hymns out there that captures with perspicuity how God draws us with His grace via the Cross of Jesus Christ.
8. Cindy Cruse Ratcliff "Unshakable" from "Edge of the Universe"
Catchiness takes form with the dance-able "Unshakeable." A kicking worship burner that will get our feet shuffling, our hands raised, and our voices soaring in praise of our unshakeable Lord.
7. Hope Chapel "Son of God" from "Whatever May Come"
Worship pastors who are keen to teach congregations God's truth through the time of worship may do well to include "Son of God" in their worship set. Recalling the words of Colossians 1 and Hebrews 2, "Son of God" speaks of Christ's sovereignty over the cosmos over a melody that is pure majestic. The line: "Though stars will fall and this world will fade/Still Jesus, You alone remain" really strikes a chord in the heart.
6. ResLife Worship "Higher" from "Higher"
Destined to be a worship classic across churches worldwide is the title cut "Higher." What sets "Higher" apart from many contemporary worship songs is that it brings out the Biblical truth of how God's inhabitation of our praises grows and grows as our worship intensifies: "We will lift you higher, higher/You will show yourself stronger, stronger/For you laid down your life/No greater sacrifice, Jesus."
5. Darlene Zschech "Blessed Savior, Fount of Grace" from "Blessed Assurance: The New Hymns of Fanny Crosby"
The poems of Fanny Crosby come alive with new tunes this year. Darlene Zschech's "Blessed Savior, Fount of Grace" is no less pulverising. Featuring a traditional hymn structure, this former Hillsong worship pastor uses her mellifluous soprano to great effect especially when she sings: "Storms will come and disappear/There'll be joy and there'll be tears/You alone will hold our gaze."
4. Hillsong Worship "Transfiguration" from "OPEN HEAVEN/River Wild"
While many worship songs interweave the Psalms or Paul's didactic passages, few ever utilizes the narrative portions of Scripture. With the story of Christ's transfiguration as the song's seed thought, the ballad "Transfiguration" performed by Taya Smith could easily be the follow-up of "Oceans."
3. City Harmonic "One" from "We Are One"
When was the last time you heard a worship song that addresses the Holy Trinity? While many worship songs these days thrive on making Jesus the church's uber boyfriend, few are the paeans that address the lofty issues pertinent to our faith; issues that give definition to the core of our Christian beliefs. The City Harmonic's "One," a ballad lifted off their latest Integrity Music release "We Are," is one of those exceptions. Featuring some delightful tingling of the piano ivories, "One" is a carefully crafted song of worship to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Rather than being caught up in the abstract, this Canadian worship team also make connections of how the unity within the Godhead ought to inspire unity amongst members of God's children.
2. Christy Nockels "Let Be Jesus" from "Let It Be Jesus"
Lifted from last year's "Passion: Take It All" album, the title cut "Let It Be Jesus" takes the on Lordship of Jesus and applies it to our raison d'etre. If you ever wonder what it means for Jesus to be "the Alpha and the Omega" of our lives, this worship ballad gives perspicuity: "Let it be Jesus/The first name that I call/Let it be Jesus/My song inside the storm/I'll never need another."
1. Matt Redman "No Longer I" from "Unbroken Praise"
Going back to the church's coffers is "No Longer I." This time, Redman takes on the hymn "At the Cross" and wraps it around newly written parts done in a folkish cum acoustic way. This song is the perfect bridge between the old world of hymns and today's worship songs.