In this article, you are going to learn about the top 10 worship songs for 2018. This analysis was created specifically for worship leaders. If you are responsible for selecting songs for your church to sing, read to the end because I’ll share insight on the meaning of each song that will help you in your worship planning process.
Which of these top ten songs are your favorite? Let me know below in the comments?
As a worship leader, I like to know what other churches around the globe are singing. Of course, we need to discern what songs are best for our individual congregations. But I think it can be extremely valuable to analyze the data provided by Christian Copyright Licensing International on the most popular songs churches are singing today. Chances are if thousands or tens of thousands of churches sing a song, it could be an excellent fit for your church. I also think the collective wisdom of the universal church weeds out songs that are not singable or have poor theology.
CCLI is a licensing company that has more data than anyone else on what songs churches are singing any given Sunday. The list I’m about to share with you based on their objective data, not my opinion. I went their Top 100 list and ranked the songs by popularity. I think this is the most up to date way to see what is popular among churches. Starting with number ten and working our way down to #1, I’ll share some thoughts on the meaning of each song which will help you determine how to use it in a worship gathering. So let’s get started.
#10 - No Longer Slaves, written by Brian Johnson, Joel Case, and Jonathan David Hesler
This song emphasizes the biblical theme of freedom found in salvation. As children of God, we are no longer slaves to the power of sin and fear. In the bridge, the song makes a biblical connection with Israel’s Exodus from Egypt with our salvation found in Christ. This song could be a great song of response, perhaps after a sermon. It will remind your congregation of their identity in Christ. They are children of God, not slaves to sin and fear.
#9 - Do it Again, written by Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Matt Redman, and Steven Furtick
This song reminds us of God’s faithfulness. We know what he has accomplished in the past, so that encourages us and gives us confidence in what he will do in the future. In the lyrics, we see references to Israel marching around the walls of Jericho. Forty years ago, God had miraculously freed them from the Egyptians. But now as they enter the promised land, they are terrified. Will God help them? It’s so easy to doubt God’s power and promises, but if we take a moment to reflect on what he has already done, our confidence in his promises will be restored. As followers of Christ, we face this same tension. We know we are saved because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but we still face all sorts of challenges in life. This song helps us identify this tension while at the same time encourages us to remain confident in God’s promises.
#8 - King of My Heart, written by John Mark McMillan and Sarah McMillan
Here’s what Sarah McMillan said about the meaning behind this song in a Facebook post she shared after it’s release. “This song is about the tension we often find ourselves in this life. At the time I wrote this song, I was processing the divorce of my parents and at the same time experiencing the overwhelming joy of having children of my own. Both experiences changed my identity so deeply. I wrote 'King of My Heart' to remind myself that there was no joy or sorrow that could dilute the pure goodness of who God was. Everything I thought I lost, could actually be found in the Force of His goodness.”
#7 - Build My Life, written by Brett Younker, Karl Martin, Kerby Elizabeth Kaple, Matt Redman, and Patt Barrett
This song is a combination of adoration and mission. Throughout the song, there’s a pattern of first acknowledging God’s greatness and then committing our life to him. It’s very similar to the pattern we see in Isaiah 6. Mission flows from worship. After Isaiah encounters God in the temple, he volunteers himself to go on a mission. "Here I am, send me." I think this song meets a need caused by an undersupply of songs that emphasize commitment and devotion to Christ. It’s a great reminder for your congregation that what happens in worship naturally flows into everyday life.
#6 - 10,000 Reasons, written by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman
Based on Psalm 103 and written in 2011, this song has become a classic that churches don’t want to retire any time soon. I don’t blame them. I love using this song as an opening song of adoration. I’ll often have the congregation read the first five verses of Psalm 103 before singing it.
#5 - This is Amazing Grace, written by Jeremy Riddle, Josh Farro, and Phil Wickham
This song focuses on the substitutionary atonement (a fancy way of saying Jesus’s death on the cross for our sins) and the kingship of Christ. It’s higher energy and has the fastest tempo of the top 10 songs. I mostly use this song to open or close a worship service. It’s also a great Easter song. A lot of popular worship songs are slow ballads with a sappy romantic sound, so it’s refreshing to have a song that’s higher energy and a bit more triumphal.
#4 - O Come to the Altar, written by Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Steven Furtick, and Wade Joye
In the Old Testament, the altar was the place where God’s people made sacrifices for their sin. It was a unique place where God interacted with humans. It’s where people would go to consecrate themselves to God. In other words, it’s where people would go to find forgiveness for their sin and devote their life to God. This song works great as an invitation for response to a sermon or call to salvation. Depending on your church’s style and traditions, you could even invite people to come to the front of the stage as a tangible expression of coming to the altar.
#3 - Great are You Lord, written by David Leonard, Jason Ingram, and Leslie Jordan
I was bummed when earlier this year we all heard the sad news that All Sons and Daughters is no longer a band. While not all of their music has been super popular, I think their songwriting is on another level. Great are You Lord is one of their songs that connected with a lot of churches. The lyrics emphasize the fact that God is our creator and He deserves our praise. It’s simple, memorable, and sounds great whether you're leading it with a full band or as a solo worship leader.
#2 - What a Beautiful Name, written by Ben Fielding and Brooke Ligertwood
I remember hearing this song for the first time at Hillsong Conference in 2016. It didn’t surprise me that a few months later nearly every church around the globe started singing it. It does a fantastic job of emphasizing the person and work of Christ. The bridge into the final choruses is perhaps the most epic build in modern worship history. A bold claim, I know. But you know it’s true.
#1 - Reckless Love, written by Caleb Culver, Cory Asbury, and Ran Jackson
This song is less than a year old, but it has quickly made its way to the number one spot. The lyrics make strong references to Luke 15 where Jesus tells three parables to illustrate God’s love for the lost. Many people have questioned the use of the word “Reckless” to describe God’s love. Cory explained the meaning behind this in a Facebook post. “When I use the phrase, 'the reckless love of God,' I’m not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being.” Despite the controversy around this song, it has made it to the #1 spot of the list. When you lead worship with song, it never hurts to explain the meaning behind it.
That concludes this list of the most popular worship songs in 2018. Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite!
If you’re a worship leader looking to improve the way you plan and lead your team, check out Worship Leader School. It’s a membership site containing all the essential training, advice, and support you need to plan and lead worship.
Click here to learn more about Worship Leader School and enroll today.