Songs Sung at
Community Christian Church

Content Analysis and Strategies for Growth
Matthew Ropp
MB544, Christian Communication Through Music
Dr. Roberta King, Fall 1996
Fuller Theological Seminary, School of World Mission

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Body of Songs
Theme/Theological Content Categories
Results of Analysis
Strategies for Growth


    The songs that we sing not only allow us to worship the Lord, but also teach us truths about Him. Taken together, they may be indicative of the theological areas where we are weak or strong. This paper will analyze the theological content of the songs most often used for worship at the church I attend - Community Christian Church - and offer suggestions for improvement.

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Body of Songs

    Community Christian Church of the Foothills (CCC) is an independent church which is part of the brotherhood or denomination referred to as the Christian Churches or Churches of Christ. Traditionally the worship services in the Churches of Christ have been of a low-liturgical style, probably similar to that of the Baptist traditions. There is no denominational hierarchy, however, so the choices of musical style, hymn books, and songs included in the liturgy of any particular congregation is left up to those in charge of the music in that congregation. CCC had traditionally sung from a hymnbook titled The New Church Hymnal, and worship choruses began to be introduced into the service approximately seven years ago.

    Today, slides are used for the worship service, so the songs which may be sung are limited to those for which slides exist. Other hymns are occasionally sung from the hymnbook, but this is generally looked down upon - having to stop and turn to a page in the hymn book is seen as damaging to the flow of the service. Of the slides available, eighty-seven of the songs have been sung regularly in the last two years. These eight-seven songs are the subject matter for the content analysis of this paper. Not included in the analysis are an additional body of traditional Christmas songs and carols which are used primarily in December.

    Of the eight-seven songs, forty-three are from the hymnal, and will by that criteria be considered hymns. This leaves forty-four of the eighty-seven songs as choruses. So, approximately half of the regular songs are hymns and half are choruses. The hymnal was published in 1976, however, and I would actually consider many of the songs included to be early choruses. These include songs such as Seek Ye First, Thou Art Worthy, and Bill Gaither classics like Because He Lives. Although there are a few exceptions, the majority of the choruses are from the seventies and early eighties.

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Theme/Theological Content Categories

    For the thematic/theological analysis of the songs, theme categories listed in SongSelect - a software program available from Christian Copyright Licensing, Inc. - were used. Additional content categories such as "Trinity" and "God's Attributes: Eternal" were added. Please see a complete list of all content categories in Table 1. For each song, the categories listed by SongSelect as well as categories chosen from analysis of the song text were recorded.
Adoration Anointing  Ascension Assurance 
Atonement Benediction  Blessing Blood 
Calvary Character  Christian Life Church 
Comfort Commitment  Communion Compassion 
Confession Consecration  Courage Creator 
Cross Crucifixion  Declaration Dedication 
Devotion Encouragement  Eternal Life Evangelism 
Faith Family  Fellowship Fellowship With Christ 
Forgiveness God's Attributes: Eternal  God's Attributes: Faithfulness  God's Attributes: 
God's Attributes: Forgiveness  God's Attributes: Goodness  God's Attributes: 
God's Attributes: Greatness 
God's Attributes: 
His Name 
God's Attributes: 
God's Attributes: Majesty  God's Attributes: 
God's Attributes: 
God's Attributes: Righteousness  God's Attributes: Shepherd  God's Attributes: 
God's Attributes: Wisdom  God's Word Guidance  Healing
Heaven Heritage  Holiness Holy Spirit 
Hope Humility  Jesus: Bread of Life  Jesus: Friendship 
Jesus: Lamb of God  Jesus: Life of Jesus  Jesus: Living Water  Jesus: Lordship 
Jesus: Messiah  Jesus: His Name  Jesus: Son of God  Jesus: The Light
Joy Judgment  Kingship Liberty 
Love Mercy  Missions Nature 
Obedience Peace  Petition Praise 
Prayer Presence  Promise Providence 
Provision Redemption  Refuge Rejoice 
Repentance Resurrection  Revival Righteous 
Sacrifice Salvation  Sanctification Savior 
Second Coming Servanthood  Service Sin 
Stewardship Strength  Testimony Thankfulness 
Trials Trinity  Trust Truth 
Unity Victory  Warfare Worship 
Table 1 - Themes and Content

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Results of Analysis

Table 2 groups the themes by the number of songs in which they appear.
Number of Songs
Adoration, Praise
Dedication, Holiness, Victory 
Consecration, Jesus: His Name, Jesus: Lamb of God, Joy, Mercy 
Atonement, Crucifixion, Holy Spirit, Salvation, Savior 
Blessing, Cross, Encouragement, Power, Refuge, Resurrection, Strength, Trinity 
Calvary, Communion, Creator, God's Attributes: Grace, Jesus: Lordship, Nature, Peace, Presence, Rejoice, Thankfulness 
Church, Comfort, Commitment, Devotion, Eternal, Eternal Life, Fellowship, God's Attributes: Faithfulness, God's Attributes: Forgiveness, God's Attributes: Greatness, God's Attributes: Shepherd, Healing, Heaven, Prayer, Providence, Redemption, Service, Testimony, Truth, Unity, Warfare 
Ascension, Benediction, Declaration, Evangelism, Faith, Family, God's Attributes: Goodness, God's Attributes: Love, God's Attributes: Righteousness, God's Word, Humility, Jesus: Bread of Life, Jesus: Friendship, Jesus: Living Water, Jesus: Son of God, Jesus: The Light, Petition, Repentance, Righteous, Sacrifice, Sin, Stewardship 
Anointing, Character, Christian Life, Compassion, Confession, Courage, Fellowship With Christ, Forgiveness, God's Attributes: Father, God's Attributes: His Name, God's Attributes: Will, God's Attributes: Wisdom, Guidance, Heritage, Hope, Jesus: Life of Jesus, Jesus: Messiah, Judgment, Liberty, Majesty, Mercy, Missions, Obedience, Promise, Revival, Sanctification, Second Coming, Servanthood, Trials, Trust, Will, Wisdom, Zion 
Table 2 - Number of Songs Per Theme

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    Where there are strengths there are usually weaknesses as well! Many themes included in the analysis were the subject of only one or two songs and there were also many themes not found in any song. I cannot begin to highlight all of these themes, so I have chosen a few which are most significant to me. (return to Table of Contents)

Strategies for Growth

    In this section songs are suggested that could be used to build strength in each of the four areas of weakness mentioned above. As both hymns and choruses are used and minister to different groups within the congregation, both will be suggested. It will be necessary to obtain slides for the songs before introducing them to the congregation during the worship service. Ideally these songs could be introduced one or two every week and worked in the repertoire of songs being used.  Return to Table of Contents

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