Here is the list you’ve all been waiting for: Our top ten favorite opening songs. A good mix of hymns, retunes, and contemporary selections.
The opening song choice is really important in worship. It establishes the musical identity of the congregation. It sets the tone for your worship and communicates who you are chiefly interested in being hospitable too. Are you jolting people into worship like a jump into hyperspace or are you gently ushering people into worship cognizant of their distracted minds and hearts? Is this a church that caters to a certain niche or are you interested in being an intergenerational church? It establishes the dialogical roots of our worship as revelation and response – giving people an opportunity to respond to the spoken call to worship.
Here are ten of our favorite opening worship songs:
1. Praise to the Lord (Redemption Hill Arr.)
We love this 4/4 driving arrangement from Redemption Hill, Richmond. We don’t always use the extra bits but the overall feel is great.
2. All Creatures of Our God and King (Traditional)
A great call to worship to song reflecting the call of the psalm 117.
3. Be Thou My King (Rend Collective Arr.)
Like ‘Praise to the Lord’ above taking Be Thou Vision and giving it a driving 4/4 rhythm makes it a great opening song calling us to return our ‘vision’ to the Lord. We keep the old words but the Rent Collective arr. inspired us.
4. O Worship the King (trad)
A clear call to worship that establishes our relationship in song. God as our King and his people as feeble and frail needing his mercy and strength. Helps to give the song more of a rolling 6/8 feel.
5. Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven (Nathan Partain arr.)
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We’ve been using this 6/8 version from Nathan for years as an opening song with a repeating refrain “come and worship.”
6. The Lord is King (Nathan Partain arr.)
Nathans retune of this hymn is quite meditative but we speed it up with guitars and the words are very uplifting as a call to worship.
7.Praise the Savior (Cardiphonia arr.)
Family style sing-along. Ancient text that sets the Trinity and the redemptive story as the focus of our worship.
11. Our God Saves (Baloche/Brown)
A great trinitarian opener from the cwm songwriting team of Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown.
12. Come, People of the Risen King (Getty/Townend)
One of the best modern worship hymns written and one of our congregations favorite opening songs. We take it down a step to Bb to make it more singable.