Favorite Top 15 Worship Songs: A Half Yearly Review

Timothy YapJun 21, 2013 09:32 PM EDT
Darlene Zschech’s “Victor’s Crown”
(Photo :Darlene Zschech's "Victor's Crown" )

June is upon us, this means that half a year is almost over.  Over the course of the last six months we have been blessed by some spectacular worship songs.  Compiling a list of one's top 15 worship songs is a perilous task as it can never include everyone's favorite.  So, as a preface, I want to admit that a lot of subjectivity is embedded into the list.    

However, in order to establish some degree of objectivity, four criteria were used.  First, in order for a song to be qualified, it needs to be made available to the general public any time from January to June this year.  This excludes a song like Hillsong Live's "Man of Sorrow" as it was available only for a limited time.  Second, the song needs to be a worship song: this means the subject matter needs to be directed to God.  Third, the song needs to be able to be congregational in focus, i.e., the song needs to be suitable to be used for congregational singing.  This excludes all personal testimonial songs.  Fourth, the pool of songs is restricted to the songs that have been sent to BREATHEcast over the last six months or so.  Songs that were never sent to us were naturally not considered.

15.   Javen's "Hosanna" taken from Javen's "Worship in the Now"

Many of us know "Hosanna" (written by Brooke Fraser aka Ligertwood) as a Hillsong staple performed initially by Fraser and Darlene Zschech.  Not so much to improve on Hillsong's anthemic rendition, Gospel artist Javen gives this a totally R&B makeover.  If you are tired of Hillsong's version and you want an urban groove to this popular worship staple, Javen's version is the quintessential alternative.

14. Jeremiah Jones' "Mighty River" taken from Jeremiah Jones' "Mighty River"

If Scripture is to be central to our worship, Jeremiah Jones' "Mighty River" is the textbook example of how the Bible can be creatively woven into a song.  Jones doesn't just quote scripture; rather, he takes a Biblical motif, Jesus as the "river" and shows how that works through Scripture and in our lives.  Talk about a balance of Biblical astuteness and creativity, "Mighty River" is it.

13.  Brad and Rebekah's "When We Gather" from Brad and Rebekah's "When We Gather"

Once in a while we need to be reminded of what worship is.  Worship is not the prelude to the sermon where we sing so that we get something to do besides passively listening to the pastor's sermon.  Though this song charters no new ground, but it's a powerful reminder again that worship is when we meet with God and where God's Spirit is unleashed.  This is a powerful reminder again from this husband and wife duo.

12.  Ghost Ship's "Holy, Holy, Holy" from Ghost Ship's "The Good King"

This is the first hymn to make the list.  Ghost Ship, one of the worship teams from Mars Hill church, shows us how church organs can still be part of today's worship.  A hybrid of folk, rock and high church all coming together on a re-make of this old hymn, Ghost Ship certainly plays a key role in resolving the worship war between hymns and modern songs.

11.  Hillsong United's "Ocean" from Hillsong United's "Zion"

"Ocean" spells class, drama and Sprit-filled worship.  The cinematic layers of sounds, the slow unpacking of the melody over eight minutes of music, this is like a movie rolling in a song.  But it's no ordinary story; the lyrics and the song's power will consume us till we are overflowing in the waters of God's love.   

10.  Passion featuring Chris Tomlin's "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)" from Passion's "Let the Future Begin"

It is no wonder why the Passion Conference attracts so many young people each year.  Chris Tomlin's "Whom Shall I Fear" captures the spirit of the conference.  You can feel the excitement, the anticipation and the mighty affirmation that the "God of Angel armies is always by our side."  

9.  Nicole Nordeman's "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" from Various Artists' "How Firm a Foundation: Hymns of Worship"

With a burgeoning interest in hymns lately, "How Firm a Foundation" finds many of today's worship acts like Hillsong Live, Kari Jobe, Steven Curtis Chapman and others singing their favorite hymns.  One of the most faith affirming hymn has to be "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."  With new verses intact to this often sung chorus, Nordeman offers a heartfelt version that deserves to be sung across churches.

8.  Unspoken's "In Your Hands" from Unspoken's "The World is Waking"

This song is so counter cultural.  In our self made world where independence is praised; self sufficiency is aspired; self esteemed is prized; and self is number one, "In Your Hands" advocates just the opposite.  By the world's standard, this song of dependence on God feels so wrong.  Yet, it is much a reflection of the Gospel; it is so Jesus.

7.  Graham Kendrick and Rend Collective Experiment's "The Servant King" from Graham Kendrick's "Worship Duets"

"The Servant King" was a Kendrick standard from the 80s.  But this was re-recorded for Kendrick's fabulous "Worship Duet" record.  Listening to how Rend Collective Experiment ad libs towards the bridge of the song totally brings this song to another level of worship.  If they had cut this song live, this would have been blown the roof off.  

6.  Newsong's "Swallow the Ocean" from Newsong's "Swallow the Ocean"

God is great.  But how do you express his greatness?  Newsong does it superbly on the title track to their new record "Swallow the Ocean."  Even the images of God "opening the heavens" and "swallowing the ocean" are just mind blowing....  

5. One Worship's "Unto You" from One Worship's "One Worship Vol. 2"

Sometimes it's more lip service when we say worship should be multicultural in its theology and its practice.  But few worship songs really manifest any threads of multiculturalism.  One Worship 's "Unto You" shows us how this can be done.  Utilizing a multicultural choir, verses sung in various languages, "Unto You" is a beautiful coming together of peoples of many tribes to worship God in a colorful tapestry.

4.  Darlene Zschech's "In Jesus' Name" from Darlene Zschech's "Revealing Jesus"

Worship trashes the devil.  Zschech shows us precisely how we do this on one of the best worship ongs that deal with spiritual warfare.  Militant in its beat, armed in the name of Jesus, Zschech shows us that worship is engaging in a victorious warfare against Satan, sickness and evil.  Don't underestimate what this petite blonde lady can do ---  when she ministers in Jesus' name, the stage rocks, idols are toppled, sickness healed, the devil flees and hearts are turned towards Jesus.  

3.  Tasha Cobbs' "Break Every Chain" from Tasha Cobbs' "Grace"

Originally a Jesus Culture song, Tasha Cobbs has turned "Break Every Chain" into her own signature anthem.  Our hearts are idol birthing hospitals and we have no way of cutting the umbilical cords with these idols.  But if God is truly our God that we worship we need to sing with Cobbs to "break every chain."

2.  David M. Edwards' "Heaven's Prince of Peace" from David M. Edwards' "Heart Full of Soul"

"Heaven's Prince of Peace" coming from singer-song writer David M. Edwards has all the ingredients of a stellar congregational worship anthem.  This song does not just encourage worship but it inspires worship with its gorgeous melody, its Christ besotted words and when you get to the bridge of the song you are simply lost.... Lost in the beauty of heaven's prince of peace....

1. Darlene Zschech's "Victor's Crown" from Darlene Zschech's "Revealing Jesus"

"In your presence fear I silenced... for you wear the victor's crown."  Sometimes we have grown so accustomed to the Biblical truth that Jesus is King that it loses its significance in our lives.  In this Kari Jobe, Israel Houghton and Darlene Zschech penned "Victor's Crown," this former Hillsong matriarch details for us what King Jesus does: his presence silence fears, his victory topples all high thing, his very action makes us live and breathe to worship him, and his triumph renders death powerless.  What other reason do you need to worship Jesus?  

Victor's Crown by Darlene Zschech - REVEALING JESUS [OFFICIAL VIDEO] 

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