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Popular Songs in the Church

Popular Songs in the Church

Popular Songs in the Church

Joe Ed Furr, Texas Normal Singing School

CCLI (Church Copyright Licensing, Inc) sells churches a license to reproduce copyrighted songs for congregational use. Churches are given a license number to display on all copies of those songs. They report the songs they choose to use once each year. CCLI is then able to use their database to determine which new songs are the most popular.

CCLI is now sorting songs by religious affiliation. They can now report which songs are the most popular among clients in the Churches of Christ. Actually, they group the Church of Christ and Christian Church into a single category.

I saw the recent list of the top 25 songs among churches of Christ and the Christian church and was surprised to find that I am unfamiliar with nearly half of them. I try to keep up with newer songs, but I have seemingly failed to reach that goal.

I contacted one friend who is a professional in contemporary church music. He typesets new songs in shaped notes for a number of clients. This gives him access to popular new songs. I asked my colleague about the specific songs I did not know. He was aware of only three of the songs that I did not know. Why didn’t he know all of the new songs?

I found the answer to my questions about new songs when I looked more closely at the religious groups that were included in this survey. The CCLI computer cannot accurately sort out Christian churches from churches that use the word “Christian” but do not belong to the American Restoration Movement. They also have a problem sorting out churches that use the word “Christ” but do not belong to the fellowship of churches of Christ. Consequently, they produce a list of popular new songs that do not accurately reflect the tastes of churches of the American Restoration movement.

I have discovered the same problem on the Internet. I can go to the search engine known as Google and ask it to help me find fourth grade curriculum for Bible classes among churches of Christ. That search engine will find me lots of curriculum for the fourth grade for Sunday School, but nothing for Churches of Christ. It will find fourth grade material for groups known as “Christ Church Evangelical” and “Churches of God In Christ”.

If you want to keep up with popular new songs today we recommend that you consult with three groups – Taylor Publications of Montgomery, Texas, Hallal Music of Midland, Texas, or The Zoe Group of Nashville.

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