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Choosing Worship Songs: Horizontal or Vertical?

By Ben Abu Saada on July 08, 2010

A friend of mine asked me to consider blogging on how I go about selecting worship music. So I've assembled some thoughts on the topic and will be sharing them periodically.

Well, let me start off by saying I am NO expert on this subject by any means.  But I love to read experts and use their ideas enhancing them for the use of the Grace Church worship services.

Often I have folks suggest songs for our worship services here at Grace.  Sometimes they make the list and other times they don't.  My hestiation in sharing this info is that people might make the assumption that the worship song idea they have won't make the cut based on the criteria.  I LOVE having people recommend songs!  I like to hear when people get excited about a song that caused them to take pause in their busy life and reflect on God. So don't judge your recommendations, don't hold them back...please!

Horizontal or Vertical?

Does the song cause the singer to sing about God or to God?  There are many inspiring songs that speak of the wonderful works, nature or truth of God, however they aren't being directly sung to God.  These songs are horizontal in nature.

Some great worship song examples that I consider horizontal are: Amazing Grace, Standing on the Promises, In Christ Alone and How Great is Our God. If you read the lyrics of these songs you will find that there are no phrases that indicate it's being sung to God but about God.  They all tell great truths that teach us aspects about the nature of our great God.

Some great worship song examples that I consider vertical are: Here I am to Worship, You Are My King, How Great Thou Art and Heart of Worship. Even in the titles you can see the direction these songs might take a singer.

When you listen to worship music, see if you can classify it as vertical or horizontal.  Think of it in terms of "in Spirit and in Truth".  Is the song proclaiming truth?  Or is the song directly sung to the Lord in Spirit?

Now that these two types of songs have been identified, the next step is figuring out what to use on Sunday!  And that depends greatly upon the needs of the church, the direction of the pastor/teacher and the particular message that Sunday.  I'll get into that on another post.

What would you add to this topic?

Originally posted on July 20, 2005 on Ben's blog at BabuLife.blogs.com

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Ben Abu Saada

Ben Abu Saada

Ben has been a part of the All About Worship team since Fall of 2008. He serves as Worship Pastor at Grace Church in Overland Park, KS. Ben also serves as a part of his parents humanitarian organization to the West Bank called Seeds of Hope. He and his wife Addie live in Olathe, KS with their three daughters. Ben requests prayer for the teenage years quickly approaching.