Selecting worship songs on a weekly basis can be tough. Lots of new worship music is produced every day so it’s tough to stay in the loop with that new music as well as curate a healthy variety of songs for your congregation. Here are four resources to help you find worship songs for your local church.
Resource #1 - CCLI Song Select
CCLI, which stands for Christian Copyright Licensing International, is the organization your church should be paying to make sure you are properly licensing the worship music you play. People like Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram, and Joel Houston write amazing songs for our congregations and deserve compensation for their hard work. Even if you obtain free worship charts from other online resources, you still need to report the song to CCLI and pay for licensing. One of the features that come with a CCLI subscription is the ability to utilize Song Select to browse worship music and download charts. While SongSelect does not offer the most accurate chord charts, my favorite aspect of their service is how it functions as the most powerful worship song database. It gives you a sense of what songs are popular and are being sung worldwide by thousands of churches. While I’m not always a huge fan of top 40 worship music, I still think this data is a great way to find songs that most people in your church would want to sing. CCLI compiles their most popular song list based on how many times people are downloading and reporting that song. Chances are, thousands of worship leaders are using these songs regularly because they have found that their congregation connects with them. You still have to use your discernment on whether or not a song is right for your church, but I like using this info from Song Select to get a quick glimpse at ideas for songs that will encourage people to participate in worship.
Resource #2 - Worship Together
Worship Together has some of the best resources on the latest worship music. My favorite feature of Worship Together is their “New Song Cafe” in which you get to hear the songwriters explain their songs and give you tips for playing them. Worship Together also has a great search feature for finding songs that fit a particular theme or scripture verse. Finally, Worship Together provides free worship charts in both the chord-over-words format and ChordPro format. It’s not always 100% accurate charting, but it’s a great place to start, especially if you want to import them into Planning Center’s lyrics and chord editor.
Resource #3 - The Worship Initiative
Created by the well-known worship leaders, Shane and Shane, this online resources provides fresh arrangements of popular or older worship songs as well as tutorial videos for playing those arrangements. Maybe songs like “Heart of Worship” or “Holy is the Lord” are great songs for your congregation but you feel like playing them makes you incredibly irrelevant. What I like about the Worship Initiative is that it gives you arrangement ideas for playing these songs without feeling like you have to go back in time to 1995. The tutorial videos can also be incredibly helpful learning different instrument parts. You will have to pay for a subscription, but you can try it free for seven days.
Resource #4 - PraiseCharts
If you want accurate chord charts or sheet music for your worship music, PraiseCharts is the place to go. While I would encourage creating your own chord charts within Planning Center, not all of us necessarily have the time or desire to do that. Rather than using Song Select’s lousy charts, pay a couple of bucks to download great charts from PraiseCharts. If you have a large vocal section or choir as part of your team, their vocal sheet music is excellent. Or maybe you have a pianist who has a hard time learning complicated parts by ear. You can download the complete sheet music for piano. PraiseCharts has smooth integration with Planning Center, so it’s easy to import your new charts into your music library. It’s also another great resource for staying up to date on the latest and most popular music.
There are other resources out there for worship music, but these four are great places to get started. If you regularly check these websites, you’ll always come across new song ideas to stay fresh and introduce new music to your local church. What other tools have you found that help you in finding new worship music?