Singing Simply

Since I started this blog back in 2009 a typical blog post would be one in which I share a specific song.  However I’ve decided to here and there share some of my musings on a particular topic that has to do with worship ministry or the creative arts.  (I might share  some songs that relate to that thought as well.)  There are things I’m always learning, evolving in my thoughts with, so I’m thinking that sharing some of those things along the way might be good for me, might encourage others, and I certainly welcome a discussion –if you have thoughts, please add comments below!  Today I wanted to share a thought about “singing simply.”


I enjoy big production church.  You may have seen me leading singing with full band, worship choir, high-end lighting and sound.  That stuff is fun.  But an equally dear to my heart is singing with a small group.  Simple, unplugged, either a capella or with very simple instrumentation.  There are lots of churches out there that put on amazing, concert-level stage presentations.  But that’s not why we gather.  We come together to sing “to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19).  Even with big church production I am wanting to make sure I can always hear the voices of the brothers and sisters (I’ll write more about some of my experiences with that on a future date).


With many of our churches adding new contemporary Christian songs, worship bands, bright lights and high amperage, I feel the need to never lose the simple, house-church-level singing.  We have a tradition in our group of doing house church services on Super Bowl Sunday that people invite their friends to.  I was putting through a song sheet for all our house church leaders to use, and it made me think we need more simple songs that are easy for “unskilled and ordinary” godly people to sing together.


You know what I mean.  At a baptism, at a staff meeting, at a family group leaders’ get-together, small group prayer time… what songs do you sing?  What if the super-talented song leader is not there?  What if there is no worship band?  Is there a new song you’ve introduced lately that works on that level, or are they all old ones?


Love to hear any of your thoughts.  Writing songs like that, that were deliberately simple had been a real passion of mine, but I confess I hadn’t been as focused on it in recent years.  I felt like the Holy Spirit convicted me and I’m committed to writing 4 or 5 new simple songs this year,  hold me to it!

5 Comments on “Singing Simply”

  1. Well said Brian ! I totally agree with you. If we get to the point where we can’t hear people’s voices, I think we’ve lost touch with what this is all about ! I really love to sing “God is so good” but here in NJ we change the song to a vertical worship song at the second verse and sing…

    “You are so good, you are so good, you are so good, you’re so good to me !”
    “You answer prayers”
    “You care for me”
    “You died for me”
    “I love you so”

    I do it with light acoustic guitar & in a free style (not totally in time). It has always moved me.

  2. Vanessa Adams says:

    YES!!! I love simple songs and small group worship!
    Some “oldies” that are favorites:
    – Sanctuary.
    – I don’t recall the name, “And just like a tree planted by a seed, thirsty for a drink of your love…”
    – Create in me a pure heart
    – even simple rounds work too
    – We love you with the love of The Lord

    I think the key is to have it be a simple but catchy melody that is targeted for altos and tenors since most people fall into that category… In small groups, people like to sing together rather than split off too much with part singing (especially if they’re shy).

    • jbriancraig says:

      Cool – yeah that song you reference is actually one I wrote called “I Need Your Love.” And I was inspired to write it cause I was tired of singing Sanctuary but wanted a similar song. So it’s deliberately simple just as you mention in your comment. Great feedback.

  3. Verkeys J Francis says:

    Thank you Brian,
    Songs with simple melody have always been a great inspiration for me.
    I am impressed that great song writers like you also like these kind of song.
    Thank you for all your efforts on running this page 🙂

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