Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pop Tunes I'd Use In Worship

I'm not scared to use a pop song in worship.  I think it can be quite fun and illuminating.  I've used the standards, Where the Streets Have No Name, by U2, Simon and Garfunkel's amazing anthem Bridge Over Troubled Water, "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the Sound of Music, All You Need is Love by the Beatles. But I only use them if they can be relevant to the message.  When a pastor gives me enough time gather resources, it's amazing the ideas that can be brought together in a collaborative planning session.

Of the times I've used secular songs in worship, the only time they've ever felt like a failure is if they haven't properly been incorporated into the message of the day.  I'm a huge fan of the 'single thread' approach to worship planning.  That is, taking a single point for the day and making sure it's brought out in every element of the service as is humanly (and Holy-Spirit-ly...) possible.  Our call is to be fearless in presenting the Gospel, and the songs of the secular world can also be used, given the right context, to glorify God and help us work through the human condition together.

If given the opportunity, here are a few songs that I haven't used in worship from the secular world, that I would love to give a try:

We Can Work it Out - The Beatles
Probably in my top-five favorite Beatles tunes ever.  Imagine if we used this one to start off what can be a very contentious meeting?  "Try to see it my way, only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong ... We can work it out."  It's pretty good theology.

Fix You - Coldplay
I think if you were doing a sermon series on healing or pastoral care Fix You could be an amazing addition to a worship set.  "Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you."

The House is Rockin - Stevie Ray Vaughan
That's just a great intro to worship, right?

Burnin Down the House - The Talking Heads
Just for fun, this could be great on Pentecost.  "No visible means of support and you have not seen nothing yet."  John Legend did a version that was a little simpler with a little more soul, as you might expect from him.  But speaking of John Legend ...

Show Me - John Legend
A kind of stream-of-consciousness prayer, this one is more toward the sacred side of things than any of the others listed here.  With an amazingly prayerful guitar riff to start things off, Mr. Legend offers a prayer of searching - praying for revelation from God.  "Show me that you love me, show me that you walk with me."


Is there anything you would add?  How do you feel about using pop songs in worship?