10 songs churches gravitated toward during COVID-19

By Aaron Earls

Despite—or maybe because of—the global pandemic, churches continued to sing.

Even though they were scattered across their cities and communities, congregations still sang hymns and worship songs from their homes.

FaithLife found certain songs grew in popularity among the churches using their service. Here are the 10 most popular worship songs during COVID-19 that saw a significant jump in usage.

1. IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

It should come as no surprise that the classic hymn, written during a time of personal crisis, continues to encourage Christians to find comfort in Christ.

Despite its enduring status, it grew even more popular, with a 68% jump in usage from February to the months of the coronavirus.

Among the songs that grew in popularity during the pandemic, it was sung by churches the most often.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows rollWhatever my lot, thou hast taught me to sayIt is well, it is well, with my soulIt is wellWith my soulIt is well, it is well with my soul

2. GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

Another classic hymn became even more special to churches in recent months. Use of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” grew 64%.

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,There is no shadow of turning with Thee;Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail notAs Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”Morning by morning new mercies I see;All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me.

3. NO LONGER SLAVES

The 2015 worship song grew in usage by 23% during the pandemic.

You unravel meWith a melodyYou surround me with a songOf deliveranceFrom my enemies‘Til all my fears are goneI’m no longer a slave to fearI am a child of GodI’m no longer a slave to fearI am a child of God

4. RAISE A HALLELUJAH

Released in 2019, “Raise a Hallelujah” brought comfort to churches and grew by 15%.

I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemiesI raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbeliefI raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melodyI raise a hallelujah, Heaven comes to fight for meI’m gonna sing, in the middle of the stormLouder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roarUp from the ashes, hope will ariseDeath is defeated, the King is alive!

5. SEE A VICTORY

Another 2019 song that grew in 2020, “See a Victory” jumped 30%.

The weapon may be formed, but it won’t prosperWhen the darkness falls, it won’t prevail‘Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumphMy God will never failOh, my God will never failI’m gonna see a victoryI’m gonna see a victoryFor the battle belongs to You, LordI’m gonna see a victoryI’m gonna see a victoryFor the battle belongs to You, Lord

6. SOLID ROCK (MY HOPE IS BUILT ON NOTHING LESS)

Many churches have been turning to old truths contained in timeless hymns like this one, which grew in usage by 49%.

My hope is built on nothing lessThan Jesus’ blood and righteousnessI dare not trust the sweetest frameBut wholly lean on Jesus’ NameOn Christ the solid Rock I standAll other ground is sinking sandAll other ground is sinking sand

7. YOU NEVER LET GO

Matt Redmon’s 2006 worship song saw a 102% jump in popularity during the pandemic.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathYour perfect love is casting out fearAnd even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this lifeI won’t turn backI know You are nearAnd I will fear no evilFor my God is with meAnd if my God is with meWhom then shall I fear?Whom then shall I fear?Oh no, You never let goThrough the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me

8. YES I WILL

The 2018 song from Vertical Worship grew in popularity by 21%.

I count on one thingThe same God that never failsWill not fail me nowYou won’t fail me nowIn the waitingThe same God who’s never lateIs working all things outYou’re working all things out

9. CORNERSTONE

Hillsong’s 2012 song builds on the classic hymn already on the list, “Solid Rock,” and grew 11% in popularity.

My hope is built on nothing lessThan Jesus’ blood and righteousnessI dare not trust the sweetest frameBut wholly trust in Jesus’ nameChrist alone, CornerstoneWeak made strong in the Savior’s loveThrough the stormHe is LordLord of all

10. HE WILL HOLD ME FAST

The modern hymn released by Keith and Kristyn Getty in 2016 saw a 46% jump in usage in recent months.

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.

FaithLife also released graphics detailing which words were found most frequently in the 33 total songs that saw a significant jump in usage during the pandemic.

The first one shows which words were used most in all the songs.

According to their analysis:

  • The word “will” was most popular, showing up 183 times total (25 times in God will make a way, 22 times in Everlasting God and 18 times in He will hold me fast). It conveys hope and trust in what God will do.
  • Names of God (God (108), Lord (71), Jesus (47), Christ (29)) are next in popularity.
  • The 4th most prevalent word is “victory,” counted 53 times. This comes primarily from the two songs Psalm 23 (27 times) and See a Victory (20 times).

The next chart details the percentage of the 33 songs that contain a specific word.

AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.

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