For thosewho know me you will probably find it hard to believe that at one time in my ministry I was the president of a local chapter of the Hymn Society of America.
In the worship tradition in which I was raised a limited number of songs were used. In that tradition we did not sing Praise to the Lord the Almighty or A Mighty Fortress, or I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say. Those songs are filled with great theology and poetry. These are songs that have survived, and I believe will continue to survive, in churches for generations. On the other hand, there are other songs from that era and from other past generations that have not survived.
Today more worship songs are being written than ever before and these songs, because of technology, are getting to the local congregations faster than ever before. There are some that will come and go and then there are others that will be around for a long time.
What makes songs stick? It is all about the text. What is the song saying? How is it being said? Is it theologically correct?
When we choose worship songs, we first read the text. There could be a moving melody and great arrangement, however, if the text is not worth singing then none of that matters.
In the end, song text must line up with God’s Word, which is the ultimate guideline for anything we sing in church. It is God’s Word that should be the guide for any element of the service.