The CCLI Top 100 As A Benchmark For Quality

Just the other day I read a post by Bob Kauflin, What Goes On at a Sovereign Grace Songwriting Retreat?  As I was skimming through the commets I came across the following comment...

"I’d be interested to hear about your success rate. How many of the songs produced by this process are breaking into the CCLI top charts?"

I found Bob's response to be refreshing...

"I don’t think we’ve ever broken into the CCLI top charts! But that doesn’t keep us from writing. The CCLI charts reflect not only how good a song might be but also how long it’s been around, whose album it’s been on, how it might have been promoted, and a host of other factors, including God wanting a lot of people to sing it! Of course, we wouldn’t complain if more churches were singing our songs, but our aim is to strive to write better songs.

So if the CCLI Top 100 list dosen't provide the best bench mark for judging quality songs then what does?  As I was thinking through this I came up with three questions we can ask ourselves when evaluating a new song for worship.

  1. Is the lyric of this song well written?  Songs with simple or trite lyrics and little substance will often fall short of edifying your congregation. The best songs are those with lyrics of high literary value that creatively convey Biblical truth with the appropriate emotional posture.

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Comment by Stevo on January 10, 2012 at 3:22am

We didn't go after CCLI top anything, but it does end up that 70% of our songs are on the top of the list. That is, we picked them via other criteria and later realized they were on the top of the list. I think we usually choose these songs based on the criteria in the article.

Comment by Daniel Lyle on January 10, 2012 at 11:35pm

Yeah, I think it works one way but not the other.  The criteria can definitely identify quality while the CCLI list cannot.  Though it may contain it.


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