At Song Discovery, we are searching for songs that can become the sung prayers of a congregation, and as such these songs are vastly important. It is good to critically evaluate worship music so that songwriters are bringing the best possible song, on all levels, to their worshiping community.
We have made every effort to make sure the things you care about are part of the refining process, ensuring that this resource is optimized so that all the time you give to it has immediate and sought after results. Here are some of the things that are our priorities, so that you are best served as you lead and serve your worshiping community.
Below are the criteria used for appraising the songs submitted to Song Discovery.
The first thing that we look for when gathering songs for Song Discovery is, simply, a tune that can be sung congregationally.
There is not a single blanket worship song that every church will feel is a perfect fit. There are some that are close, but every church and congregation is on their own journey. Some are start-ups; others have traditions that last over a hundred years. Some churches have worship teams that are completely made up of professional musicians, but more often the team is full of volunteers. When you listen to each Song DISCovery volume, you will notice two things: we aim for diversity in styles and we aim for songs that volunteer musicians can pull off. Every team needs to feel a sense of accomplishment, and including a song that is only attainable by the best of musicians would be a mistake.
2. Production Quality
Songs on Song Discovery must be able to stand side-by-side with high quality recordings.
We want to be fair to the songwriter and present their song in the best light. We also have promised you that we pick the best of the best, and we do not modify the production in any way—how we hear it is how we present it to you. We certainly believe that rough songs have potential, but we are not in the business of fixing rough edges. And we also believe that, for many listeners, the rough edges will distract from the message of the song. This doesn’t mean that every song has to be layered with sound and produced at a professional studio. If you have a piano-vocal that you produced on your computer, and it sounds good, we will consider it.
3. Style Diversity
We are looking for songs that span the sung-prayer spectrum.
We serve 20,000 worship communities each with a diverse worship culture; a singular style preference cannot be the evaluative deciding factor. Rather, we listen for songs that can be adapted or that have a diverse take on sung offerings. As well, we believe that every church could do with a bit of pushing the boundaries of their style preferences. If you are a church that typically leads band-driven anthems, maybe try take a listen to the contemplative songs on this site to explore new prayer territory.
4. Worship Function
Our primary goal is to find songs that are suitable for a service of worship.
We do love Christian music of all kinds, but we are primarily looking for songs that are to God and about God. Worship songs. As well, the song needs to serve a function in the worship service: offertory, communion, main congregational worship portion of the service, benediction, choral, special number and so on. The art of songwriting for worship is a skill and a talent.
5. Lyrical Poetry
We love fresh words, metaphors, and language that helps us discover God in a new light.
We are always on the hunt for songs that allow worshipers to offer their praise and worship in a new and unique (but not too unique) way. We look for songs that contain fresh metaphors and language and move listeners to discover aspects of God’s character in new ways. There are so many Christian cliches available, but we are looking for songs that are able to create new language and descriptions of God.
6. Theological Content
We are looking for songs that are biblical.
Above all else this criterion is most important. We need to make sure the lyrical content is doctrinally sound. What truth is it speaking to the congregation? And is this what we want to present to congregations to be sung over people in worship services? It is always a good idea to present your songs to your pastor or theology professor before sending songs to Song DISCovery. If we find ourselves asking, “Just what does that mean?” And not coming up with a clear answer, then the song may suffer from theological confusion. Claerity. Purpose. Scriptural. These are pivotal to powerful worship songs.