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What makes a bad worship song? Is it an unconventional melody? Awful lyrics? Many worship songs have catchy hooks, even beautiful lyrics, but in the end they aren?t good worship songs.

Here are four characteristics of a terrible worship song:

It?s Super Vague

The lyrics can be applied to your 16 year old crush as easily as they can to Jesus. If you change all references to God to ?baby? or ?darling? and the song still works, you’ve?got a serious problem. While ambiguity can make songs more relatable, in worship, it can make things awkward, uncomfortable, even disturbing.

It?s?Focused on You

The essence of the song is how God makes you feel. The song glorifies personal experiences like being in love and quickly crosses the line between God-glorifying and self-exalting. The lyrics refer to self more than to Jesus, and the focus is on me and my story, rather than God and His story.

It Has an Unbearable Range

These songs have a range that most people can?t sing comfortably, if at all. People singing have two options: 1) drone in a low octave or 2) stand and simply listen. Unfortunately, the latter is the more common occurrence.

It?s Theologically Inaccurate

If you wouldn?t say it in a sermon, it shouldn?t be in a song. I understand taking some artistic liberties. But when maintaining a rhyme becomes more important that sound theology, the song no longer belongs in the service.

What would you add? Let me know in the comments!



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5 replies on “4 Characteristics of a Terrible Worship Song”

Very good post. I most often hear from folks who’ll say, “it’s been getting a lot of air-time on Christian radio.” Yeah, well that doesn’t necessarily make it a song to be used in worship. We have four big criteria we use (among other factors) for determining if we’ll incorporate a song into use for the congregation:
1) Is it singable?
2) Is it memorable?
3) Does it tell the truth about God?
4) Does it tell the truth about us? (are we saying/singing something we wouldn’t actually do)

Nice job.

Great post. I especially hate the super vague songs, that are just supposed to make you feel good, but in a wishy-washy sort of way that have very little, if any, reference to God.

I also end up ‘droning’ a lot of songs, or sing parts of them as they’re supposed to be sung, and then switch to singing the rest low, as it gets too high for me to sing. I love songs that are actually singable for me all the way through.

I think you also need to beware of songs with lyrical rhythms that sound great by the artist, on the radio – but are too difficult to follow for the average worshipping crowd on a Sunday morning. This is especially true if the song is unfamiliar. It may be a great song for a special, but not congregational worship. Great post!!

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