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Top 5 Worship Albums

As the Music Director at my church, I have the privilege of sorting through hundreds of songs each year as I try to decide which songs should end up on our Sunday set list.

There are a ton of great songs out there! We are definitely living in a creative generation. I will post a list of my personal top 10 worship songs in a later article, but for today I wanted to look at what I think are the top 5 worship albums.

Obviously a post like this is total opinion, and I am not in any way trying to claim that a certain album is “more spiritual” than another. Nor am I trying to say that a certain artist is a “better Christian”. I am just saying that the following albums have made a profoundly positive impact in my own walk with Christ. And because of that impact, many of these songs have made it onto our Sunday set list over and over again.

So here it is… my list of top 5 worship albums (as of January 2013):

1. New Life Worship “You Hold It All”

you hold it allI have been a fan of New Life Worship for years. With worship leaders such as Jon Egan, Glenn Packiam, Jared Anderson, and Ross Parsley (on earlier albums), New Life Worship has been taking songs written at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO and sharing them with the world for years. Songs like Counting On GodHere In Your PresenceGlorified, and My Savior Lives have been on previous albums and have been sang in my church (as well as thousands of other churches around the world).

“You Hold It All” is the first New Life album since Glenn and Jared stepped down from Desperation Band and Ross Parsley planted a church in Texas. Brad Parsley stepped up to lead the group, and what transpired was, in my opinion, the best worship album that I have ever heard.

Songs from the album that I have used in my church include:

It Was For Freedom
Be Thou Exalted
God Be Praised

Songs from the album that I still intend to incorporate into future Sunday set lists include:

Great I Am
Bless The Lord

Overall, this is an amazing worship album. Not every song will be usable for every church, but as the total package, this album inspires me to worship God from the first note to the last resounding chorus. It is fantastic.

2. Paul Baloche “A Greater Song”

a greater songPaul Baloche has been serving the local church for years (he has been at the same church in Texas for more than 20 years) and has been blessing the larger church with his gift of songwriting for at least half as many years…

His huge song Open the Eyes of My Heart was written in 1997. Since then he has been trying to write a greater song. With this album, I believe he did it!

Although this album is a little older (released April 11, 2006), it is still one of my favorites and our church still loves these songs.

Songs from the album that I have used in my church include:

Hosanna
Because Of Your Love
I Will Boast

Songs from the album that I still intend to incorporate into future Sunday set lists include:

Your Name

I have no idea why Your Name has never been on our Sunday set list, but the day is coming!

This is still a great album that makes me excited about God and eager to praise Him with all of my heart.

3. Matt Redman “10,000 Reasons”

10000 reasonsLike Paul Baloche, Matt Redman has been serving the larger church for nearly 2 decades with his incredible gift of songwriting. Matt wrote The Heart Of Worship in 1999 and has been writing other incredible songs since. Some of his most notable contributions include Blessed Be Your NameYou Never Let GoUndignified, and Better Is One Day.

Matt Redman has also been a huge part of the Passion movement and has co-written songs like Our GodWhite Flag, and Lay Me Down along with other writers such as Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram, and Jonas Myrin.

In 2008 Matt helped to plant Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA. Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio were also a part of that church plant -and incredible songs for the larger church were the result.

Matt moved back to the UK in August 2010 and recorded a solo album in February 2011 using a collection of songs that had been written over the course of several years. That album is called “10,000 Reasons” and it is truly fantastic.

Songs from the album that I have used in my church include:

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

Even though we only use one of the songs from this album in our church, ANY of the other songs from this album could easily end up on my Sunday set list. This is just a really great album with well-crafted songs. Matt definitely exemplifies a heart of worship and offers 10,000 reasons for his listeners to fall further in love with the Lord.

4. One Sonic Society “Live At the Tracking Room”

live at the tracking roomOne Sonic Society is a collection of worship leaders / songwriters / music producers living in Nashville, TN. Jason Ingram, Stu G, and Paul Mabury have been writing songs for the church for years.

This CD was recorded live in a room full of worship leaders. It is amazing, and immediately makes me want to sing out to the Lord with a heart full of praise.

I love these guys and I love what they are doing.  Yes.  You have probably heard these songs before, but One Sonic Society is not recording cover songs.  They are the writers of these amazing songs!

Songs from the album that I have used in my church include:

Lay Me Down
Always
Forever Reign
God You Are My God

Songs from the album that I still intend to incorporate into future Sunday set lists include:

Higher Than All
Jesus, Son of God
As For Me

This may seem to be a more obscure pick for “top 5 worship albums”, but give it a chance and I think you will agree. These songs are incredible and completely usable for the local church.

5. Michael W. Smith “Worship (and Worship Again)”

worshipworship again

Michael W. Smith was one of the pioneers in Contemporary Christian Music. Most of his contributions are pretty far from being congregational. His biggest songs include Place In This World and Friends.

In 2001, Michael decided to record a live worship album simply entitled “Worship”. It was so successful that he immediately released a second worship album entitled “Worship Again”. I am cheating a little bit and considering both of those albums to be one album -earning the fifth final spot on my top 5.

Very few of the songs on these albums were written by Michael, but he did an incredible job of selecting anointed worship songs to fill 2 discs.

Songs from the albums that I have used in my church include:

Forever
The Heart of Worship
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Open the Eyes of My Heart
Above All
Breathe
Agnus Dei
Step By Step
The Wonderful Cross
Ancient Words
I Give You My Heart
You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)
Here I Am to Worship

Michael’s versions of these songs are probably not the easiest to emulate in a local church setting, but they are incredible songs that should probably at least be attempted in most church settings.

These albums have had a significant impact in my life and in my walk with Christ. Thank you, Michael.

Honorable Mention:

Only 5 albums could make the “top 5”, but I wanted to mention a few other artists who are releasing great songs.

Hillsong -The church from Sydney, Australia has certainly contributed it’s fair share of great worship songs. With worship leaders such as Darlene Zschech, Joel Houston, and Reuben Morgan, there have been powerful worship songs written by Hillsong. Songs like Mighty To SaveFrom the Inside OutGod Is Able, and Shout to the Earth are just a small example of great songs from Hillsong. Although Hillsong is responsible for so many great songs, they did not make my “top 5” because I cannot think of a single great album. All of their albums are good, but not great (in my opinion). I find myself skipping over songs to get to the “good ones”.

Passion -The Passion movement consists of incredibly talented worship leaders such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Charlie Hall, David Crowder* Band, and typically a few others sprinkled here and there. While they are responsible for many incredible songs, their albums are typically similar to Hillsong. There are a few great songs and a few that I skip over. I can’t think of a single great Passion album.

Chris Tomlin -If I were to put together a “top 10” list, Chris Tomlin would certainly make the cut. Every album that he releases is really good. He is responsible for so many great songs. The big thing that keeps him from my “top 5” is that his albums are not overly congregational. In my opinion, Chris Tomlin is probably the best Contemporary Christian Music artist of all time, but most of his songs that I love will never make their way onto my Sunday set list.

All Sons & Daughters -I have really been impressed with the music coming from All Sons & Daughters. We are just now starting to use some of their music in our church. My guess is that a “top 5” list created five years from now will include an All Sons & Daughters album. We’ll just have to wait and see…

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2 thoughts on “Top 5 Worship Albums Leave a comment

  1. I like your list, Jeff. It is pretty intimidating to try to name best albums of all time. It is also difficult to find an album that doesn’t have songs on it that immediately invoke a ‘skip’ reaction from me. Without any doubt, I share your opinion that Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons is in the top five of all time. I also agree with you that One Sonic Society is on to something. I can listen to their Forever Reign album over and over again and every time I am compelled to worship. I think that the list of best worship albums ever would not be complete without a Delirious album. Cutting Edge had a huge impact on me and my community. It opened up a new world of worship music sounds, something that wasn’t Hosanna or Vineyard. On that basis alone, I put Cutting Edge on my list.

    • Rocky,

      Thanks for the reply! I am totally with you on the impact and significance of Delirious. Some of their songs are still my favorites. I love what Stu G is bringing to One Sonic Society. Martin Smith has some great new music, too. It is not available on iTunes, but he has been releasing some cool music in the UK. Chris Tomlin’s “God’s Great Dance Floor” was originally a Martin Smith song (although it was significantly revamped from Martin’s version for the Chris Tomlin “Burning Lights” album).

      So, what would your personal top 5 be?

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