CCM songs criteria

seeking wisdom and discernment in song selection for Lutheran worship

some criteria for choosing CCM music for WELS church service:

1. Music lyrics that reflect Lutheran doctrine with a Christ centered, gospel centered and grace centered message.

2. Music that focuses on what God and Christ did and does for us, (not what we do for God).

3. Music that focuses on God’s love for us,
(not our love for God or our feelings and experience).

4. Music lyrics that are clear, not vague or shallow or confusing. Music lyrics that have substance.

5. Music and style that is worshipful and reverent and fit the lyrics.

6. Music that is singable for the congregation.

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more articles on CCM songs criteria for WELS Blended Worship:

“Worship Songs evaluation form” by Pastor James Waddell

Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials
by LCMS Commission on Worship (ca $5 from CPH, item# S05505)

“Lutheran Hymnody: Orthodoxy in Song
(Lutheran Worship: Why we do what we do)” by Chad Bird

“How to Choose Music Wisely” by Steve Brown

“Evaluating Worship Materials” by Joel Brondos

“Choosing Hymns” by LCMS hymnal committee

“It’s about substance” by Pastor Johnold Strey

The Five Components of a good Blended Worship song

WELS blended worship vs contemporary worship Chart

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Whatever music choices the church makes, however, must always meet these criteria: Does the music edify? Does the music appropriately carry the message of God’s word so that the Christian faith is able to be built up and strengthened? Or is faith distracted from the Word because of the music? Does the music carry the gospel message or is the music being used as a substitute for the gospel?

from “Should rock music be used in the church?”
WELS Q&A: The Church and Its Ministry – Music/Worship (01)

We will also want to recognize that it is God’s Word and God’s Word alone that builds and strengthens faith. It is not the musical style of a song or its accompaniment, but the Word-based content that edifies worshipers. Without God’s Word, no musical style is beneficial to the faith; with God’s Word a variety of musical styles can benefit faith.

from “Should rock music be used in church?”
WELS Q&A: The Church and Its Ministry – Music/Worship (01)

The hymns must proclaim Christ and His benefits, in a word, the Gospel.
(page 4)

The theological function of music is to proclaim the word of God to the people.
(page 18)
from “Lutheran Hymnody: Orthodoxy in Song” by Pastor Chad Bird
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Criteria #1: A Lutheran hymn aims not to create the right atmosphere or mood for worship, but serves as a vehicle for the Spirit-filled Word of God.

Criteria #2: A Lutheran hymn is not entertainment but proclamation.

Criteria #3: A Lutheran hymn is not experiential or sentimental (theology of glory), but objective and sturdy (theology of the cross). The theology of the Lutheran church is a theology of the cross. This means not only that we preach Christ crucified, but that the crucifix is the lens through which we view all of God’s dealings with us.

from “Lutheran Hymnody: Orthodoxy in Song” by Pastor Chad Bird
——————–

All generalizations limp, but I’ll summarize this way: in Lutheran teaching, the message comes first and the music comes second; the message is served by the music. In Evangelical teaching the music is the message and it is also the means.

from “Can rock music be used in Lutheran worship?”
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Words are important in worship music

What’s the first thing that attracts a person to a particular piece of music? For most, it’s the melody. When the ear hears a tune that the brain likes, one finds himself humming or singing a collection of notes that has been put together in a pleasing way.

When talking music in the church, however, there’s another element besides the tune that has to be considered. Words are important. To determine whether something should be sung in God’s house means to sit down with the text, peel back the layers of music that carry the words, and examine those words critically. Do the words teach what God’s Word teaches? Are they consistent with Lutheran teaching? Do the words highlight what man has done for God rather than the other way around? Do the words send mixed theological messages? Do they send any message at all? Could the words be misunderstood? Are the words so generic that they could be sung to a god of anyone’s choosing?

“I heard it sung at another church” or “But it has such a catchy melody” are not the standard by which we measure what we sing during worship. Ultimately, the words are. As long as the music style is fitting for being in the presence of a righteous God, we need to realize that music is subjective and different people have different tastes. But God feeds us through his words, not through music styles. The words of a song can weaken or strengthen, confuse or feed faith.

Therefore, it’s the responsibility of worship planners to choose music that feeds faith with the Word of God. “Appetizer” songs that emphasize God’s holiness and transcendence and my adoration and thankfulness have a place in worship, but don’t forget to remind me chiefly why I am thankful. Don’t forget the main course, which explicitly tells me of God’s love in Christ. A proper balance is important.

from “The Lutheran Way of Worship, part 7″ by Steven Bode
(Forward in Christ — December 2008)
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Today Arminian songs are flooding the marketplace and the regular worship of Evangelical churches throughout our land. These hymns typically shift from an objective focus on God’s character and his saving work in Christ to the individual believer’s subjective experience of God. Often they have lots of “Jesus talk” but little gospel.

Good and solid hymns will put an emphasis on Christ and his work for us, on God’s mercy and grace, on the means of grace, on doctrine and spiritual themes and motifs. Great hymns will emphasize God’s grace, not only a person’s emotional response to God’s grace.

from “Worship Wars at the Dawn of a New Millenium” by Richard Krause
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The great hymns of the church, some new and some ancient, teach the gospel truths of the Bible. The objective of worship remains what Lutherans always have wanted it to be: to proclaim the great things God has done for us in Christ. With that gospel, the Holy Spirit works to create, strengthen, and preserve faith.

from “Blended worship that works” by Professor James Tiefel
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