As the church community expands, the popularity of praise and worship in music is on the rise, with new Christian artists consistently creating fresh melodies. In the digital age, where Christians are increasingly active on social media, discovering contemporary christian music has never been easier.
In 2023, the worship music genre underwent dynamic growth and evolution. While it maintains its core focus on songs that uplift and glorify the Lord, it has embraced diverse sounds, going beyond traditional boundaries. This article explores the pinnacle of this musical evolution, spotlighting the very best worship songs of 2023.
Drawing from the CCLI top 100 lists, these selections resonate as anthems in churches worldwide. They are fairly reflective of the collective heartbeat of Christians globally. The CCLI lists, representing a wide array of denominations, offer the most accurate gauge of song popularity as every church relies on CCLI for worship music.
Let’s dive in.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Table of contents
- Why Are These Songs Popular?
- Top 10 Worship Songs of 2023
- Using These Songs in Your Services
- Most Popular Worships Songs 2023
- Further Worship Resources
Why Are These Songs Popular?
As I said in the introduction, the year 2023 marked a significant milestone in the evolution of Christian music. Albums and artists across diverse genres dedicated their musical talents to glorifying God. With the array of styles like R&B worship, Pop worship, Folk worship, and more, the question remains: what makes these top 10 songs so popular?
In recent decades, worship music has undergone a transformation. It has shifted from classical hymns to embrace a pop-rock influence. Today, prevalent worship songs frequently incorporate guitars, including electric ones, drums, keys, and multiple vocal elements. The instrumentation not only captures a catchy essence akin to contemporary music but also showcases a solid foundation.
This evolution extends beyond the musical arrangement, as the lyrics of popular worship songs now stand out for their depth and resonance. They align with both the musical trends of the times and the spiritual messages they convey. Many of the most popular worship songs today are also heavily inspired by Scripture. The popularity of worship bands like Maverick City Music and UPPERROOM is evidence of this.
As we explore our compilation of the top worship songs of 2023, you might discern patterns related to the genre, instrumentation, and lyrics of these great songs below. Identifying the elements that contribute to a worship song’s popularity can be beneficial when selecting tunes for a service or even when crafting your own musical expressions of worship.
Top 10 Worship Songs of 2023
1. Goodness of God
“Goodness of God” is currently the most popular worship song in the world! Crafted by the talented pens of Jenn Johnson, Ed Cash, Jason Ingram, Ben Fielding, and Brian Johnson, this worship hit from worship band Bethel Music is a heartstring-tugger. It has become a staple in Sunday services, impacting Christians with its genuine lyrics expressing gratitude for God’s unwavering goodness.
From the highs to the lows, this song is like a spiritual anchor, reminding you that God’s goodness is the real deal. The melody is catchy, the lyrics are like a conversation with a dear friend, and when the whole congregation belts it out, there’s this shared warmth that’s hard to put into words. “Goodness of God” is more than a song. It’s a heartfelt expression of faith, a reminder that even in life’s rollercoaster, God’s goodness is a constant.
2. Great Are You Lord
Secondly, “Great Are You Lord” is a heartfelt anthem sung every week by thousands around the world. It was written by worship leaders Jason Ingram, Leslie Jordan, and David Leonard, but popularized by All Sons & Daughters. Released in 2012, it’s become a go-to for many Sunday sing-alongs.
With its simple yet powerful lyrics and a melody that feels like a warm embrace, the song captures the essence of awe and admiration for God. We are reminded of His greatness and that He is holy forever. Whether you’re in a big church or a small gathering, “Great Are You Lord” has this magical way of making you feel connected to something much bigger than yourself.
Thirdly, Gratitude” by worship leader Brandon Lake is a musical journey of appreciation and praise, adding a fresh perspective to the landscape of worship music. Known for his association with Bethel Music, Brandon Lake’s solo venture beautifully captures the essence of gratitude through soul-stirring lyrics and emotive melodies.
After releasing to a global audience, the song has quickly become a cherished favorite in worship communities. Its powerful simplicity and Lake’s heartfelt delivery make “Gratitude” an accessible and resonant anthem. The lyrics, expressing thankfulness for God’s love and faithfulness, create an atmosphere of heartfelt worship. With its compelling combination of authenticity and musicality, the song invites listeners to reflect on the goodness of the Holy Spirit and respond with a spirit of gratitude.
4. How Great Is Our God
Written by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and Ed Cash, “How Great Is Our God” stands as a cornerstone in contemporary worship. This globally embraced anthem, first introduced in 2004, transcends musical boundaries with its powerful declaration of God’s greatness.
Its profound lyrics and melodic simplicity have made it a staple in churches worldwide. The song’s universal acclaim lies in its ability to unite congregations. With its timeless message and accessible arrangement, “How Great Is Our God” continues to resonate, reminding believers of the majesty of our awesome God.
5. Build My Life
“Build My Life” is a contemporary worship masterpiece co-written by Pat Barrett, Brett Younker, Karl Martin, Kirby Kaple, and Matt Redman. Released in 2016, the song swiftly became a cornerstone in Christian worship circles. Its profound lyrics delve into surrender and commitment, offering a heartfelt declaration to build one’s life upon the unwavering foundation of God’s love.
The melody, with its soaring dynamics, enhances the song’s emotive impact. Its popularity is not just musical; it resonates as a profound prayer, inviting believers to consecrate their lives to the Creator. “Build My Life” serves as a transcendent expression of faith, fostering a sense of devotion and unity among Christians worldwide. Its enduring relevance lies in its ability to inspire worshipers to construct their lives on the cornerstone of God’s amazing grace.
6. House Of The Lord
“House of the Lord” is a dynamic worship song co-written by Phil Wickham and Jonathan Smith. Released in 2021, this modern hymn has swiftly gained acclaim for its infectious energy and profound lyrics. The song celebrates the transformative power of God’s presence, creating an atmosphere of joyous reverence.
Its pulsating rhythms and uplifting melodies make it a standout addition to contemporary worship repertoires. As believers raise their voices in the “House of the Lord,” there’s a collective sense of anticipation and surrender, echoing the song’s central theme.
With its compelling fusion of musical excellence and spiritual depth, “House of the Lord” serves as an invitation to experience the divine in a communal setting. It has become a cherished expression of worship, resonating with congregations worldwide, as they gather to celebrate the joy and holiness found in the house of the Almighty.
7. Graves Into Gardens
“Graves Into Gardens” is the seventh most popular worship song in 2023. It was co-written by Brandon Lake, Chris Brown, Steven Furtick, Tiffany Hudson, and Tré Vaughn. Released in 2020, only three years ago, this Elevation Worship hit has resonated globally for its powerful lyrics and dynamic sound.
The song explores themes of redemption and renewal, expressing a profound desire for God to turn brokenness into beauty. Its emotive melody and heartfelt chorus create an atmosphere of surrender and expectation.
“Graves Into Gardens” has become a cornerstone in contemporary worship, inviting believers to anticipate God’s transformative power and trust in His ability to bring new life out of despair. This makes it a resonant and impactful addition to worship playlists worldwide.
8. 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
In 2011, Matt Redman composed the smash hit worship song, “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”. Rooted in gratitude and praise, the song’s simple yet profound lyrics invite believers to bless the Lord for countless reasons.
Its catchy melody, coupled with a memorable chorus, creates an atmosphere of heartfelt worship. Inspired by Psalm 103, the song resonates globally, transcending denominational boundaries. “10,000 Reasons” has become a staple in Christian worship, celebrated for its sincerity and ability to lead congregations into a powerful moment of adoration, making it a cherished and enduring addition to contemporary christian music.
9. Way Maker
“Way Maker” is a powerful worship anthem written by Nigerian gospel singer Sinach. Released in 2016, the song gained international acclaim for its profound message and soul-stirring melody. Its lyrics affirm God as a “miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, and way maker”.
The simplicity and sincerity of the song make it a universal declaration of faith, resonating across diverse cultures and denominations. Therefore, “Way Maker” has become a global phenomenon, inspiring Christians to embrace hope and trust in God’s unwavering ability to make a way even in the midst of challenges. The song’s impact extends beyond musical boundaries, fostering a sense of unity and assurance among believers worldwide.
10. What A Beautiful Name
“What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship is an iconic worship song that has touched hearts globally since its release in 2016. Written by Ben Fielding and Brooke Ligertwood, the song is a powerful declaration of the beauty and majesty of the name of Jesus. Its poetic lyrics and captivating melody create a profound atmosphere of reverence and adoration.
The song’s universal appeal has made it a cornerstone in contemporary Christian worship, winning awards and topping charts. Thus, “What a Beautiful Name” stands as a timeless anthem, inviting believers to reflect on the incomparable nature of Jesus and worship with awe and gratitude.
Using These Songs in Your Services
The best Christian songs of 2023 are truly incredible! But, if you’re wondering how to incorporate them into your church services, it’s essential to note that playing worship songs from other artists during services isn’t permitted without proper licensing. Churches are required to pay licensing fees to use worship songs published by other artists through CCLI during their services.
Fortunately, the procedure is both affordable and straightforward, provided you have an efficient system in place. Firstly, make sure you include the copyright information for each printed or projected copy of the song. If you’re displaying multiple slides, it suffices to present this information once at the outset.
Under the licensing agreement, your church is obligated to report its copying activities over a six-month period during its designated turn, which occurs every two and a half years. Prior to your turn, you’ll be notified via email or mail. Reporting is a simple task. Just visit their reporting website and as long as you are doing regular updates, it should only take a few minutes.
Although it might appear a bit inconvenient, it’s crucial to recognize the significance of compensating the original creators of Christian songs with royalties for their creative efforts. If you’re incorporating someone else’s worship song, it likely means you appreciate the powerful piece they’ve provided for your service.
The most effective way to express gratitude and reciprocate for the impact their work has in your church is by utilizing the CCLI system. This ensures they receive due compensation for the hard work they invested.
If you or someone in your church has additional questions about the system, such as if you are allowed to change lyrics or use songs during church live streams, check out the CCLI Q&A.
Most Popular Worships Songs 2023
And there you have them – the standout worship songs of 2023! We trust that this list provides a snapshot of the current favorites and sheds light on the CCLI system. For those seeking additional worship resources, explore our guidance on cultivating a seamless worship experience, both online and offline.
God bless you and your church!