Modern Songs For Inter-Generational Worship

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Modern Songs For Inter-Generational Worship

Written By Kenny Lamm

Modern Songs For Inter-Generational Worship

God is pleased when we –young and old- worship together. Thoughtful worship leaders strive to create an environment that facilitates passionate and participatory worship across all generations. It is for this reason that I have spent several years compiling a list of top CCLI songs in the best keys for congregational singing. In fact, this list has been a useful resource for leaders around the world who actively consider keys that will best engage their congregations in a corporate worship setting. As the years have progressed, however, I found myself adding additional data related to intergenerational worship.

Today, there has been a tremendous move in Christ’s church, engaging all generations toward a more unified worship experience and creating a place where young and old can passionately worship together. The success of this worship movement requires much prayer and intentionality. You can learn more about this through worship leader training retreats.

Here are 3 factors to consider that will help you successfully bring all generations together in worship:

1. SONG SELECTION

How does one select from the vast, centuries-old catalog of ancient, classic, and modern worship songs when excellence can be found throughout every era? Which lyrics and tunes will best engage people who prefer the more contemporary offerings AND those with more traditional preferences? In the above-referenced listing of top songs, there is a subjective, sortable column that ranks songs on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best) for their intergenerational appeal. It includes more modern songs that appear to track well with people who adhere to more traditional preferences. Selecting songs with a score of 4-5 will be a good starting place for common ground. Additionally, look for great hymn arrangements that maintain the words and melodies of hymns but deliver them in a more modern context.

2. KEY SELECTION

Many of today’s most notable artists find success in “performing” songs that showcase their impressive vocal range. Singing too high in a church setting as often is the practice, can be a huge turnoff for so many. Worship leaders know that the call to corporate worship leading is more about the person in the pew than the person on the stage. Leading the average worshipper in unattainable keys is a formula for disengagement. If you want to incorporate all generations in worship, it is extremely important to be mindful of the key. Read more here.

3. SONG FAMILIARITY

The final key to inter-generational worship success is found when leaders introduce new songs well. Your congregation wants to be familiar with the Sunday setlist. Paring down the size of your song list and utilizing repetition will help deliver cross-generational worship success. Learn more about how song lists can affect familiarity here. To develop strategies for introducing and repeating songs, I have written extensively on the subject in the hopes that each person in your congregation can make the song their own expression of worship.

Song selection, key selection, and song familiarity are 3 easy factors that can be measured immediately. By taking these three thoughts into consideration today, you can begin nurturing the heart of every worshipper in your church family as early as this Sunday, regardless of their age.

BONUS RESOURCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Check out this list of songs to maximize participation. Click on the MultiGen column to sort from 5 to 1 and take a look at the results. These are great songs for you to introduce to your congregations. (Be sure to sing the songs in the recommended keys as well). Then, read through the series entitled “Songs for Worship” to learn more about really engaging congregations of all ages to worship. 

If you have found a song that seems to track well with young and old, please let us know.

Dig deeper at https://www.renewingworshipnc.org.

About the Author

Kenny Lamm
Worship Ministry Strategist, The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Kenny Lamm leads worship conferences around the US as the Worship Ministry Strategist for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Kenny received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, master’s degree in church music from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he was a Rice-Judson Scholar, and he received an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Worship Studies from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL. Find more articles by Kenny at RenewingWorshipNC.org.

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