Song Categories Part 2 - GITS: God in the Spotlight

I coined the category title “God in the Spotlight” (GITS) to graphically illustrate what these songs should do: put God at center stage, in the spotlight! I wanted songs that reveal and focus on the character and works of God. We need to know the God we worship to worship Him in truth (John 4:23-24 ). I believe that more of that truth needs to be in the content of the songs themselves. Self contained songs have greater explanatory power, so everyone benefits, but especially biblically illiterate worshippers and seekers.

One of the helpful ideas I learned from Bob Kauflin at his blog Worship Matters and through mp3s of his seminars at worship conferences is that truth will inspire our emotional response in good songs. I think songs that focus directly on the emotional response with little or no truth should be used sparingly, if at all.

The original idea for GITS songs was to find great songs about God and not about me or us (not even a small glowing LED!). I went through several hundred songs (choruses and hymns) in my database looking for them. I didn’t find many. I went through the new hymnal we had recently purchased for our traditional service. Surely I would find some more songs there, and to my surprise, I didn’t! My research conclusion: there are plenty of songs that mention God, but really focus on “us” or more commonly, “me”. We love to sing about ourselves!!! Are you really surprised?

Pure GITS songs, as I have defined them, are rare, so I have relaxed my idealistic definition to reflect the real songs that are out there. I currently look for songs where the dominant element is the character and works of God. I do allow for some references to us, and often they appear in the chorus after a meaty verse. The key is that who God is and what he has done are central in the song. I have subdivided this category into two, self explanatory, categories GITS-Father and GITS-Jesus (or you could say GITS-Son).

These songs are hard to find. The songs I am most aware of are what I categorize as response songs and tend to major in our desire to be in the presence of God and how we feel about Him and the whole experience. Many of these songs are my favorites and they are excellent songs, but not GITS songs. I have heard it said in more than one worship seminar that “worship is formative”; I agree. If the songs we sing present a comprehensive and biblically based picture of God, who he is and what he has done, that is just what our songs will help form in the mind and heart of the worshipper. GITS songs are a way of going about it. It has taken us several years to build our list of GITS songs, where in other song categories we have to prune extensive lists.

GITS songs we are using include:

GITS - Father

He Is Yahweh
3277849 Dean Salyn ©2001 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing
You Are God Alone
4243463 Billy and Cindy Foote ©2004 Billy Foote Music/ASCAP admin by Integrity's Hosanna! Music/ASCAP
Holy Is The Lord
86346 Kelly Green ©1982 Mercy Publishing ARR. ICS. UBP.
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (Classic Hymn)
Walter C. Smith, 1867, Public Domain
Holy, Holy, Holy (Classic Hymn)
120927 Netsa Mumford ©1980 Thank You Music

GITS - Jesus

Perfect Lamb Of God
4662855 Adam Saks © 2004 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP). Sovereign Grace Music
4639228 Aaron Shust. ©2005 Shustmusic (BMI)
Christ Is Risen
52662 Graham Kendrick ©1986 Thankyou Music
Who is This
5118470 ©Joel Payne/, Administered by The Jubilate Group, UK
Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Classic Hymn)
Public Domain Charles Wesley, 1739

I have even scoured old hymn texts in search of GITS lyrics and put them to new tunes. My pastor wrote a text for us to put to music. You may have to be creative to get GITS songs to use; I have found them to be "off the beaten track".

Have any great GITS songs to share? I'd love to hear from you.

In Part 3 I will look at Holy Spirit songs. (Part 1 was on Openers.)


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