Switch on your radio anywhere in the country, do a little dial-spinning, and you’ll soon find a Christian station. Listen for a few minutes, and you’ll probably hear a song by a songwriter on this list.

 

The church today has no shortage of talented musicians, songwriters, and worship leaders. Thanks to technology and mass marketing, Christian songs have vast audiences and instant reception by worship leaders and worshippers alike. Over the past decade, here are ten of the the most prolific Christian songwriters whose talents and ministry have given the church a rich collection of worship songs.

  1. Chris Tomlin. Perhaps no songwriter of the past decade has penned so many songs and produced such a vast discography as Chris Tomlin. Thousands of churches today enjoy Tomlin’s worship songs such as “Indescribable,” “Holy is the Lord,” “How Great Is Our God,” “Made to Worship,” “How Can I Keep from Singing,” “Jesus Messiah,” “Our God,” and dozens of others. Tomlin’s songs are the kind that we often catch ourselves humming or singing aloud in the car. His God-focused lyrics and the intensity of his worship passion are what has earned him recognition. For decades to come, we’ll probably still be singing his songs.

  2. Keith and Kristin Getty and Stuart Townend. While most lyricists are composing worship songs, Keith and his wife, Kristyn Getty along with worship leader Stuart Townend write songs of a slightly different variety. Called “modern hymns,” the songs that the Gettys compose have a Celtic touch and a congregational appeal in their melodies. In a recent interview with Sharefaith, Keith Getty explained, “There’s no scientific term for what’s an actual ‘hymn’ and what’s a ‘song.’ But when people listen to it, they will refer to a song and say ‘that song is more hymnlike,’ or ‘that one is more worship song like.’ I think for us, we’ve ended up being called hymn writers because we script our priorities. We tend towards singing and writing our songs that are about teaching and learning our faith. The songs are all about the context of rich, passionate, relevant worship (we hope). Secondly, we try to write melodies that are a traditional form that every generation can recognize and sing along with.” In collaboration with Stuart Townend, the Getty duo has penned “In Christ Alone,” “The Power of the Cross,” “Behold the Lamb,” and “Hear the Call of the Kingdom,” among dozens of others.

  3. Jennie Lee Riddle. Jennie Lee Riddle’s name is not as familiar as Kari Jobe or Philips, Craig & Dean, but the songs she has written, like “Revelation Song,” are familiar to congregations around the world. Her songs consistently top the CCLI lists, and “Revelation Song” was No. 1 on the Christian charts of Billboard for seventeen weeks. Among her other songs are “One True God,” “Dwelling Place,” “It Is Finished,” and “Hope of the Broken World.”

  4. Darlene Zschech. The Australian songwriter Darlene Joy Zschech began her musical career by composing advertising songs for companies like McDonald’s and Coca Cola. She was the worship leader of the well-known Hillsong Church for more than ten years, and still travels and ministers with Hillsong on their tours and conferences. Today, Zschech is a worship leader, pastor, and activist. Her legacy of songwriting includes many of the songs known to churches — “God Is Here,” “Shout to the Lord,” “His Glory Appears,” “One Thing,” and “You Took the Nails.”

  5. Matt Redman. This Sunday morning, in hundreds of congregations around the country, people will lift their hands and worship, “My soul will sing Your praise unending, 10,000 years and then forever more.” This triumphant declaration of worship is one of many Redman songs that have helped Christians focus upon the Lord. The U.K. songwriter has partnered with Louie Giglio’s church planting effort in Atlanta (Passion City Church), and is now ministering with a new church plant in Brighton, England. Some of Redman’s most well known songs are “Heart of Worship,” “You Never Let Go,” “Better Is One Day,” “Blessed Be Your Name,” and “Our God.”

  6. Michael W. Smith. Smith, one of the pioneers in the contemporary Christian music field, has been recognized with both secular and Christian music awards. Since 1983, Michael W. Smith has released twenty albums with dozens of songs. Smith is more than a decorated musician. He is also an avid supporter of charities like Compassion International, a sponsor of Christian films, and has even served as lead pastor. He is known for his writing and singing songs such as “A New Hallelujah,” “Healing Rain/Let It Rain,” “Grace,” and “The River Is Rising.”

  7. Jeremy Camp. Jeremy Camp’s life and career have been marked by trial. He lost his first wife to cancer just months after the couple’s honeymoon. Through his journey of faith and by fire, God led Jeremy to write some of the most heartfelt and best-loved songs of the modern church. In “I Still Believe,” the song penned after his wife’s passing, Jeremy wrote, “I still believe in Your faithfulness…in Your truth…in Your Holy Word. Even when I don’t see, I still believe.” Camp’s songs are founded upon a life of experience and heartfelt adoration. From choruses like “There Will Be a Day,” to anthems such as “Speaking Louder Than Before,” his songs pulsate with mission, drip with mercy, and point to a glorious God.

  8. Joel Houston. Along with the Hillsong United team based in Sydney, Australia, Joel Houston has produced dozens of powerful worship songs. Joel has held many roles in church ministry — guitarist, pastor, worship leader, vocalist, drummer, creative director, and church planter. However, one of his most enduring roles in the church is his songwriting. Songs like “Everyday,” “For This cause,” and “From the Inside Out” are powerful tributes of praise to God. Houston’s songs have been translated into more than 30 languages, recorded in many albums, and sung by thousands of churches across the world.

  9. Amy Grant. Of the many Christian songwriters and musicians of the past decades, few are more groundbreaking than Amy Grant. Grant. Often titled the “Queen of Christian Pop,” she charted a course in her music and performances that brought her before a mainstream audience. Thought most of her pioneering work was done in the decade of the 1980s with songs such as “El Shaddai” and “Angels,” her influence carries on in the present decade. Her most recent album is “How Mercy Looks from Here.” The album is both a testament to Grant’s late mother, and a personal testimony based on Amy Grant’s own years of triumph, trial, growth, and gain.

  10. Nicole C. Mullen. Many Christians are familiar with the words of “Redeemer” — a song which echoes the declaration of Job in the Old Testament. Millions of times — across radio waves, within church auditoriums, and on YouTube the words are sounded out in Mullen’s song— “ I know my redeemer lives!” God has used Mullen and her courageous life of faith to write many other songs and produce other recordings such as “Convinced,” “Elohim,” and “I Wish.”

 

Christians the world over can thank God for the gifts he has given us in the form of these songwriters. Most of us can point to a specific time in our lives where God used the words to a song to break our hearts with humility, lift our souls in thanksgiving, or simply gaze in wonder at his majesty. May God continue to bless his church with songwriters who are sold out for him and filled up with his grace.

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Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more ten years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks his coffee with no cream and no sugar. You can learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

 

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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One Response

  1. ekbruhn

    These writers and their songs have blessed my life through the good and bad, always helping to bring me back to the path of the Lord. After four decades of singing and worship I remember some of these artists when they were just starting. Blessings to all.

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