In 1996, Rich Mullins described the current trends in worship as “Shallow, mindless, stupid, and perfectly harmless, at best.” It’s gotten worse since then. I had a chat with our pastor yesterday when I realized that there are really only five Christian songs being written anymore.
Then I started crunching the numbers and getting rid of outliers and realized there were actually six.
1. How Great is Our God
This song is all about how great and awesome God is. Usually the purpose is to tell God how great God is, as if in spite of God’s greatness, God turned out to be all shy and humble and not actually know how great he is. Sometimes it’s to tell other people how great God is. Christians believe we hold exclusivity to this claim, and so do Muslims. I wrote about this a while ago. Chris Tomlin wrote most of the songs in this section.
How Great is Our God, by Chris Tomlin (the titular song)
Forever, by Kari Jobe
Show Me Your Glory, by Third Day
How Great Is Our God, by Chris Tomlin
Holy is the Lord, by Chris Tomlin
God’s Not Dead, by the Newsboys
Everlasting God, by Chris Tomlin
Indescribable, by Chris Tomlin
You Are God Alone, by Phillips, Craig, and Dean
2. I Don’t Deserve You
The lyrics to this song tend to be along the lines of “You are so great, I am so small, I am so short, you are so tall.” It basically wallows in how stupid / wicked / evil / sucky we humans are and how only God can save us. Casting Crowns wrote most of the songs in this section.
You Won’t Let Go, by Michael W Smith
Back to You, Mandisa
Hello My Name Is, by Matthew West
Don’t Deserve You, by Plumb
Who Am I, by Casting Crowns
East to West, by Casting Crowns
Voice of Truth, by Casting Crowns
3. I Will Praise The Lord
This song LOVES to praise the Lord. It’s consistently either singing the first song (How Great is our God) or singing ABOUT praising God. Chris Tomlin wrote most of the iterations of this song as well.
Back to You, Mandisa
He Reigns, by the Newsboys
I Lift My Hands, by Chris Tomlin
Sing, Sing, Sing by Chris Tomlin
How Can I Keep from Singing, by Chris Tomlin
LifeSong, by Casting Crowns
Blessed Be Your Name, by Matt Redman
4. I Believe No Matter What
You know this song. All sorts of bad things are happening in your life, and you cling to Jesus like the last strand of hope… err. rope. Whatever else is going on, when this song plays, you know it’s going to be all right, in spite of everything.
We Believe, the Newsboys
God’s Not Dead, the Newsboys
Press On, Building 429
All The People Said Amen, by Matt Maher
Not Gonna Die, by Skillet
My Lighthouse, by Rend Collective
We Won’t Be Shaken, by Building 429
My Hope Is In You, by Aaron Shust
Walk by Faith, by Jeremy Camp
5. Amazing Grace
In a few minutes of searching the internet and my brain, I found no less than three different (new) iterations of Amazing Grace. I’m sure there are more. This song also includes other hymns that have been adapted and updated. And “Amazing Grace” is really just the old-school “I Don’t Deserve You.”
This Is Amazing Grace, by Phil Wickham
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
How Sweet the Sound, by Citizen Way
Lead Me To The Cross, by Chris and Conrad
‘Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus, by Casting Crowns
6. Your Name Is Awesome
This song is about God’s name. The obsession is kind of weird. Like, if a 15-year-old girl obsessed this much about her boyfriend’s name, she would probably be in the psych ward. This song is just a rehashed “How Great is Our God.”
I am, by the newish David Crowder
The Only Name (Yours Will Be), by Big Daddy Weave
Your Name, by Phillips, Craig & Dean
Great I Am, by Phillips, Craig, & Dean
I Am, by Mark Schultz
These Six Songs Are Only One Song: How Great Is Our God
These five songs really all boil down to one. There has only been one Christian song written in the last thirty years, and that song is “How Great is Our God.” Everything else is derivative.
I realize that there have been other kinds of Christian songs written, but these are the only ones that get really popular. Rich Mullins was a spectacular songwriter, but the only song that he wrote that you know is called “Awesome God.” Seriously.