Lyrics to Christian contemporary music

I have been thinking maybe I should think about ending my fast with contemporary Christian music.

I was so burnt out before, just sick of all the cliched lyrics, the ‘you make me feel so good’ lyrics, the ‘me, me, me, me, me’ lyrics, that I just put my guitar down altogether. Just been wordlessly banging on djembe drums in the meantime. For a long time now.

But in that space I have enjoyed a song or two on occasion, and after putting on some fresh strings on the guitar last week … I am just wondering … maybe I should start digging for some deeper songs? Songs that are more thoroughly grounded in a missional perspective, in a Kingdom of God perspective, in a love in action perspective. Worship songs that are more, well, sacrificial. Christian songs I could actually imaging Christ singing.

So if any of you can point me in the direction of some lyrics to Christian contemporary music that fits that description I am all ears. What are your favourites?

10 thoughts on “Lyrics to Christian contemporary music

  1. But cloneiness is next to godliness, right?

    I find I associate the word ‘worship’ more with songwriters with a worship vibe now and then: Rich Mullins, Mark Heard and Steve Taylor.

    For power-pop worship (go on, it’s legal…), I don’t mind Newsboys.

    If only the YouTube comments were a little more enlightened. 😦
    But in church whatever’s going is fine (usually Hillsong United at my church). I find I generally write my own stuff at home.
    By and large I think updating hymns often works best of all (the music in the following clip is a ghost track from a Rebecca St James album); there’s enough theological depth for reflection:


  2. Delirious has a great Kingdom perspective.
    Downhere is a favorite and the music is refreshingly new. I’m really love their first album; They use a ton of scriptural references in their music.
    Not sure what you mean by “more sacrificial”. Maybe you could give an example?


  3. We find Derek Webb a welcome relief from the ‘feel good’ Christian music you’re talking about. His lyrics are always challenging, and kingdom focused, although he is probably a bit more folky than contemporary.
    It’s too hard to narrow down examples to include here, but you can check him out yourself here:
    I’d recommend especially “A New Law”, “Rich Young Ruler”, and “My Enemies are Men Like Me” from his album, Mockingbird.
    If you’re after more contemporary, the band he’s part of – Caedmon’s Call – are a bit less provocative, but are still very good! Other than that, I’d recommend Nichole Nordeman, or to go a bit older, Keith Green.


  4. Jen, you haven’t known me that long so I should fill you in here, I never invoke the word “contemporary” in Christian circles, particularly in discussions on music, without a high degree of tongue in cheek, irony and double meaning. I realize in retrospect I should have written “post-contemporary” to make it clear that I am not talking about any specific style with this post. Folksy if fine. So is hard core punk for that matter. Style is irrelevant. What I am interested in here is edgy, quality lyrics. So I’ll check Derek Webb out.
    For everyone else, Brian McLaren’s “Open Letter to Worship Song Writers” is a good guide from where I am coming from.
    Hymns are a tricky one. For edgy sounding music I prefer non-jargonish lyrics and I am not sure how far one can update a hymn before masticating it completely. In those cases I am more inclined to turn a vice into a virtue and go for the most ancient, most archaic, most mysterious hymns and use them for poetic reflection without music.
    Nigel, yes power pop worship is legal, but so is alcoholism. I am happy staying detoxed there I think 🙂 Well, ok, I can accept it in small doses.
    Alice, by more sacrificial I mean lyrics that are more self-emptying, more God-centered and other-centered. Songs that don’t focus on “this house” or how God makes “me” feel in it but on where God is sending us and what God is calling us to. I would like to just be able to play stuff where one of the most frequently used words is not “me” or “I” or “my” relationship with God. That does however eliminate at least 70% of contemporary worship


  5. I have always found the music from the Iona community in Scotland to be more meaningful than most. Not sure if it fits the bill you are looking for, but you can check out a few samples from the Wild Goose publications website:
    Here’s the lyrics to one song: Heaven shall not wait by John Bell
    1. Heaven shall not wait
    for the poor to lose their patience,
    the scorned to smile, the despised to find a friend:
    Jesus is Lord;
    he has championed the unwanted;
    in him injustice confronts its timely end.
    2. Heaven shall not wait
    for the rich to share their fortunes,
    the proud to fall, the elite to tend the least:
    Jesus is Lord;
    he has shown the masters’ privilege –
    to kneel and wash servants’ feet before they feast.
    3. Heaven shall not wait
    for the dawn of great ideas,
    thoughts of compassion divorced from cries of pain:
    Jesus is Lord;
    he has married word and action;
    his cross and company make his purpose plain.
    4. Heaven shall not wait
    for triumphant Hallelujahs,
    when earth has passed and we reach another shore;
    Jesus is Lord
    in our present imperfection;
    his power and love are for now; and then for ever more.


  6. I feel your pain..
    we tried to make a worship album from scripture, and from real struggles, and with a musical style that we felt had integrity instead of hook. You can listen to the whole album at our website below, and if you like it, email me your address and I’ll mail it to you…
    ta ta


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