In this article I’m going to list some of the artists I have found to be thought provoking, encouraging, challenging, innovative, and so on and might be appropriate for use in church services – whether for corporate singing or special music. Let me know if you have any suggestions or comments!
[At this juncture, I’ve listed songs but these are just some of my favorite songs by the artists – they aren’t necessarily songs that would best be used in the church].
If I had to pick a the artists I’d especially want to point folks to from the below it would be: All Sons & Daughters, Ascend the Hill, Casting Crowns, David Crowder Band, Gungor, Jars of Clay (mainly their later work), JJ Heller, Keith Green, Keith & Kathryn Getty, Matthew West, Michael Card, Newsboys (again, largely their later work), Rend Collective Experiment, Rich Mullins, Shane & Shane, Shaun Groves, Sovereign Grace Music, and Stuart Townend.
If you are looking for groups that bring a contemporary twist to traditional hymnology, check out Ascend the Hill, City Hymns, Indelible Grace Music, Jadon Lavik, Page CXVI, and Red Mountain Church
Artists which do a twist on traditional hymnology while also carrying a much larger repertoire include Chris Rice, Fernando Ortega and Jars of Clay.
If you are looking for artists who are doing hymnology contemporaneously (e.g. not rewriting classics, but writing new songs in a hymn form) I’d recommend Keith & Kathryn Getty or Stuart Townend.
- All Sons & Daughters (e.g. Reason to Sing, Oh Our Lord, Alive, All the Poor and Powerless, Brokenness Aside, Your Glory, Buried in the Grace, All Praise to You).
- Andrew Peterson (e.g. The Chasing Song, Come Lord Jesus, You Came So Close, The Last Frontier).
- Ascend the Hill (e.g. So Good to Us, Inheritance, Power in the Name of Jesus, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Heaven Come Down, Rock of Ages, Take the World But Give Me Jesus, I Surrender All, Hallelujah! What a Savior, Be Thou My Vision)
- BarlowGirl (e.g. I Need You To Love Me, Never Alone, Song for the Broken, Million Voices, She Walked Away, Surrender, One More Round)
- Brandon Heath (e.g. Leaving Eden, Your Love, Might Just Save Your Life, It’s Alright, It’s No Good to Be Alone, Now More Than Ever, Give Me Your Eyes, London, Sunrise, Listen Up, Fight Another Day, When I’m Alone)
- Britt Nicole (e.g. Have Your Way, The Lost Get Found)
- Brooke Fraser (e.g. Albertine, Faithful, Hosea’s Wife, Something in the Water, Betty, Ice on Her Lashes, Flags)
- Burlap to Cashmere (e.g. Anybody Out There?, Build a Wall, Tonight, Closer to the Edge, Live in a Van)
- Casting Crowns (e.g. If We Are the Body, Voice of Truth, Who Am I, American Dream, City on the Hill, Jesus Friend of Sinners, Spirit Wind, My Own Worst Enemy, Does Anybody Hear Her?)
- Chris Rice (e.g. Rock of Ages, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Pardon My Dust, Sneakin’ Into Heaven, Kids Again)
- City Hymns (e.g. There is a Fountain, Spirit of God)
- The Cross Movement (e.g. The Drawing Board, Our God, Clarity)
- David Crowder Band (e.g. All I Can Say, Come Thou Fount, Oh Great God Give Us Rest, I Am a Seed, The Great Amen, Blessedness of Everlasting Light, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Jesus Lead Me to Your Healing Waters, How He Loves, Shadows)
- Downhere (e.g. Cathedral Made of People, My Last Amen, The Problem, Rest, Glory By the Way of Shame, For the Heartbreak, Reveal the Kingdom, Feel Like Winter, In America, Last Night’s Daydream)
- Fernando Ortega (e.g. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, What Wondrous Love is This, I Need Thee Every Hour, Green Pastures, If I Fly on Morning Wings, Just As I Am, Children of the Living God, How Firm a Foundation, I Will Sing of My Redeemer, I Will Praise Him Still, All Creatures of Our God and King, Hear Me Calling Great Redeemer)
- For King & Country (e.g. The Proof of Your Love)
- Francesca Battistelli (e.g. You Never Are, Angel By Your Side, Don’t Miss It, Lead Me to the Cross, Free to Be Me, Beautiful Beautiful, Blue Sky, This is the Stuff)
- Gungor [aka The Michael Gungor Band] (e.g. Dry Bones, Beautiful Things, Brighter Day, You Have Me, Cannot Keep You, Call Me Out, Please Be My Strength, We Will Run, Wake Up Sleeper, Ezekiel, Prodigal, White Man)
- Indelible Grace Music (e.g. More Love to Thee, His Love Can Never Fail, Jesus Lover of My Soul, Begone Unbelief, Father Long Before Creation)
- Israel Houghton (e.g. Love God Love People, Love Rev, Others, Our God)
- Jadon Lavik (e.g. Moving On Faith, Come Thou Fount, Wondrous Love, Mighty God, Surrender, Tis So Sweet, I Surrender All, Turn Your Eyes, I Need Thee)
- Jars of Clay (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Revolution, Whatever She Wants, The Edge of Water, Work, Dead Man (Carry Me), All My Tears, Work, Love is the Protest, Small Rebellions, Eyes Wide Open, Shelter, Weapons, Two Hands, God Be Merciful to Me, I Need Thee Every Hour, God Will Lift Up Your Head, I’ll Fly Away, Nothing But the Blood, Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder, O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile, Hiding Place, Jesus I Lift My Eyes, It is Well With My Soul, They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love, All My Tears, What Wondrous Love, Lonely People, Lesser Things)
- Jimmy Needham (e.g. If I Ever Needed Grace, Being Small, Yours to Take, The Reason I Sing, Grace Amazing, Light of Day, Nightlights)
- JJ Heller (e.g. Control, I Get to Be the One, In the End, No Fight Left, Love Me, All the Beauty, Everything is Changing, On My Own, Grow, Fly Away, When You Come Back, Small, The Pretty & The Plain, Why Is It Colder, Little Things, You Tell Me So, Have Mercy On Me, What Love Really Means, Until You Came Along)
- John Waller (e.g. Our God Reigns Here, Somebody Else’s Story, Man of the Valley)
- Josh Garrels (e.g. Father Along, Never Have I Found You)
- Josh Wilson (e.g. Fall Apart, See You, Always Only You, They Just Believe)
- Joy Williams (e.g. We, One of Those Days, Doesn’t Get Better Than This, Sunny Day)
- Keith Green (e.g. Because of You, You Put This Love in My Heart, The Victor, The Prodigal Son Suite, I Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, Song to My Parents, Soften Your Heart, Oh Lord You’re Beautiful, Your Love Broke Through, Asleep in the Light, My Eyes are Dry, So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt, Grace By Which I Stand, To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice, He’ll Take Care of the Rest, There is a Redeemer, How Majestic is Thy Name, Holy Holy Holy, Easter Song, When I Hear the Praises Start, Rushing Wind)
- Keith & Kathryn Getty (In Christ Alone)
- Kutless (e.g. Everything I Need, What Faith Can Do, Sea of Faces, The Feeling)
- Laura Story (e.g. Blessings, Make Something Beautiful, Grace)
- Lecrae (e.g. Nobody, Halleleujah, Desperate, Change, Live Free, Killa, Just Like You, God is Enough, Church Clap)
- Leigh Nash (e.g. Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Power of the Cross)
- Matthew West (e.g. Something to Say, The Motions, The Center, My Own Little World, Two Houses, Broken Girl)
- MercyMe (e.g. You Don’t Care At All)
- Michael Card (e.g. Scandalon, Celebrate the Child, The Nazarene, Forgiving Eyes, Sea of Souls, I Am Not Supposed to Be Here, Come Thou Fount, How Firm a Foundation, Jesus What a Friend for Sinners, O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, All That Was Lost, Look Ye Saints!, Praise to the Lord, In the Beginning, In the Wilderness, The Prophet, Jubilee, Then They Will Know, Lift Up the Suffering Symbol, God Will Provide a Lamb, Valley of Dry Bones, Will You Not Listen?, Job Suite, Malachai, El Shaddai, Come to the Table, Why, Immanuel, So Many Books…, A New and Living Way, I Will Arise and Go to Jesus, Jesus Lover of My Soul, Be Thou My Vision, Starkindler, I heard the Voice of Jesus Say, Holy God We Praise Thy Name, The Unveiling, To the Overcomers, You Are Worthy, Salvation, The City of Doom, Hallelujah, New Jerusalem)
- Michelle Bonilla (e.g. Give It Up, I Love You, Our Generation)
- Mikeschair (e.g. Love Won’t Quit on Us, Save Me Now, Someone Worth Dying For, Let the Waters Rise, Keep Changing the World)
- Natalie Grant (e.g. Greatness of Our God, Human, Perfect People, In Christ Alone)
- NEEDTOBREATHE (e.g. Streets of Gold, These Hard Times, Something Beautiful, Let Us Love, Oohs and Aahs, White Fences, Drive All Night, A Place Only You Can Go, Maybe They’re On to Us, Angel at My Door)
- Newsboys (e.g. Born Again, One Shot, Build Us Back, Jesus Freak, God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion), He Reigns, In Christ Alone, Wherever We Go, Breakfast)
- O.C. Supertones (e.g. One Voice, Hallelujah, Away from You, Unite, Hold On to Jesus, Unknown, Grounded, Little Man)
- Page CXVI (e.g. Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded, Come Thou Fount, You Have Redeemed My Soul, ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, Joy, Rock of Ages, Be Still My Soul, Wash Me Clean)
- Phil Joel (e.g. changed, burning down, Call Unto Me, Go Home, Blue Sky, Life is Crazy, Wait for You)
- Red Mountain Church (e.g. Christ or Else I Die, It is Finished, Crown Him)
- Rend Collective Experiment (e.g. You Bled, Build Your Kingdom Here, You Are My Vision)
- Rich Mullins (e.g. Hard to Get, Hold Me Jesus, Elijah, Sing Your Praise to the Lord, Sometimes By Step, If I Stand, Screendoor, While the Nations Rage, What Susan Said, Awesome God)
- Sanctus Real (e.g. Forgiven, These Things Take Time, Lead Me, The Redeemer, Take Over Me, Keep My Heart Alive, Turn On the Lights, We Need Each Other, Black Coal, Whatever You’re Doing)
- Shane & Shane (e.g. Yearn, God Did, My Audience, Forever Reign, Revelation Song, Everlasting God, Before the Throne, Christ is Risen, Our God is Greater, The Lord’s Prayer, Liberty, Without You, Future Version, Victory, Grace is Sufficient, Praise Him, Beg)
- Shaun Groves (e.g. All Is Grace, Kingdom Coming, I’ve Got You, Enough, No Better)
- Sidewalk Prophets (e.g. Live Like That, Save My Life, The Words I Would Say, All Things New, You Love Me Anyway)
- Sovereign Grace Music (e.g. I Will Cast My Cares, Great Things, Abba Father, Glorious Christ, Mighty Fortress, Immovable Our Hope Remains, You Are our Hope, Name Above All Names)
- Stuart Townend (e.g. In Christ Alone)
- Superchick (e.g. We Live, Wishes, Stand in the Rain, Courage, Beauty from Pain, Alive, Breathe)
- Switchfoot (e.g. Gone, Meant to Live, Awakening, I Dare You to Move, Mess of Me, Your Love is a Song, The Sound, You Already Take Me There, Lonely Nation, Stars, The Shadow Proves the Sunshine, Easier Than Love, The Blues, American Dream, Afterlife, Restless, Thrive, Learning to Breath)
- Tenth Avenue North (e.g. All the Pretty Things, Hearts Safe (A Better Way), Losing, By Your Side, Let It Go, Hold My Heart, Times)
- TobyMac (e.g. Made to Love, Hold On, Get Back Up, Boomin’, Lose My Soul, Me Without You, Yours, No Ordinary Love, Tonight, City On Our Knees, LoudNClear, Hey Devil, Wonderin’, Start Somewhere, Break Open the Sky, The Slam)
- Todd Agnew (e.g. Come Ye Sinners, Written on the Wall, I Need No Other, Did You Mean Me?, The Love of God, The Love of God, Deep Love of Jesus, Jesus the Hope of Glory)
- Warr Acres (e.g. Undignified, Sound the Alarm, You Are Joy, Hymn of Remembrance, Shout Your Love, Shadow of the Steeple)
- Worthy Dying For (e.g. Destroy, Savior, Love Riot, Through Your Eyes, You’re Alive, Stir It Up, No Love Greater)
- I have not included some of my favorite artists such as Skillet or Thousand Foot Krutch, while their music is excellent, I don’t think most of their songs would work well for congregational singing – though a few songs, especially from Skillet might make good special music depending on your congregation’s openness to harder rock.
- I have not included many of the more popular CCM artists who top the CCLI charts. You can easily find these on CCLI’s site.