I find it's sometimes very difficult to find good new contemporary music. To the point where I find myself writing a lot of our repertoire. I'd love to find some music that is theologically sound, well written and good for a congregation to sing.

So, what resources are you using?

Thanks!

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I am struggling to find new songs that use clear wording these days. Certainly in the Christian music industry there appears to be a need to find new phrasing and wording but often this ends up becoming quite abstract rather than clear and simple. I mostly check out worshiptogether.com worshipcentral.org weareworship.com but often find I'll use my own songs not because they are any 'better' but song choice is often about heart and my songs are an expression of whats on my heart therefore make it onto my song lists. That and people seem to like them so it's not just me being selfish!

There are of course plenty of songwriters on worshiptherock as well. You can hear some of my stuff and download some of them for free here https://soundcloud.com/joeaikenmusic

Word of mouth is huge! I encourage suggestions from our congregation. Also, if I see a song mentioned more than once in this forum I'll check it out. Snippets from new songs on Amazon will also get me digging further. I co-lead at our church, so I'll try to incorporate some of the songs the other leader selects, too.

al

www.everydaypraise.com

Yes, I agree, 'word of mouth'  is a good bet.  I like to do my homework and find out what is working well in other churches or venues.  Also, like Joe suggested 'Worship Together'.  I have the app on my phone, and new music pops up frequently without having to look for it.

Al Hilgendorf said:

Word of mouth is huge! I encourage suggestions from our congregation. Also, if I see a song mentioned more than once in this forum I'll check it out. Snippets from new songs on Amazon will also get me digging further. I co-lead at our church, so I'll try to incorporate some of the songs the other leader selects, too.

al

www.everydaypraise.com

I pretty much go to youtube, search up a song that is sorta like what I'm looking for and then follow the suggestions youtube makes.  I have a sense of who I like and tend to follow those - for some reason, I find a lot more songs that work for our church looking at female writers (or at least singers) so I tend to follow those.

I was surprised today to find a song called "Sing and Shout" by Matt Redmann that I immediately knew would work for us.  I generally shy away from stuff that's about the "act of worshiping" and MR is usually a little too squishy lyrically for me, but I heard that song and knew right away that it was right for us.

I do check out recommendations on WtR, and the "100 Greatest Worship Songs of All Time Since 2000" thread has turned up a few goodies.  I also watch the songwriters' forum here, and there's one song that was posted there - "This Is Love" by Rick Gregory that has been a regular for us.  We do some of my original stuff although I've found that I sorta lost my songwriting mojo around 2007 and haven't written much of anything good since then... I do also "take requests" from the congregation, even though sometimes the songs they ask for are ones that I wouldn't have decided to use on my own... "Days of Elijah" is one like that that we're using currently.

It's interesting reading the comments on youtube videos, though... I get the sense that there's this whole culture of people who stay up late at night listening to Christian music on the internet and write comments about how they were "SOOOO blessed by this song..."

I get the sense that there is a pressure - a demand - that we keep finding new music and fresh songs to sing in church. We have such a huge catalogue of material that I'd be quiet content with introducing no more than 10 new songs in total per year, and possibly fewer.

Where to look? The usual suspects for me: Matt Redman, Townsend, the Gettys, Rend Collective. Others wll go to the Hillsongs and Vineyard streams and introduce them too.  Old songs can also be new songs too, and occasionally back catalogues or hymn books (less so - time has kindly helped us forget the dross) may turn up gems that passed un-noticed. There are other writers I'm please to use, but I feel no pressure to find new songs at all, rather if I want to introduce something new it's because it has caught the imagination and fired me up: there's no deperate looking through for somethimg fresh.

This may be an off-topic response, but just want to say that many people really like singing songs they already know.  That may be a slap in the face to some of us wanna-be song writer types (ouch!), but it is true.  Unless a church is singing a song all too often, I wonder at times if we aren't looking for new stuff too much.  Following Toni's comment, it might be worth asking the congregation how often they would like to sing "new" songs versus familiar songs.  Surely the industry music mill may not like the answer - unless I am wrong of course.  Then there is something scriptural about singing a new song, but how often is that really necessary...

If you're at all interested in a collection of congregational worship songs based on 2 Peter, here is a project I worked on last year:  https://soundcloud.com/theoldatrain/sets/grace-and-knowledge

Sovereign Grace music has been producing some conspicuously excellent congregational worship music for the last several years, and there was also an interesting project from The Gospel Coalition called "Songs From The Book of Luke" a few years ago.

Most of the people in my congregation listen to the local Christian Radio station. I listen too and if it is a song that is repeated often and strikes a chord with me as well as being appropriate for my congregation to sing, I try it out. I also take suggestions form my praise band and any congregational member that approaches me. I recently looked at CCLI top 100 songs and listened to bits of them and found one I think my congregation will really connect with and will be a great opening song. You need to know your congregation and watch them to see what they like to sing and worship to and what they don't. 

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