Last Updated March 28th, 2023


In 2021, six curious people, with various academic, pastoral, and music industry backgrounds, met to frame two main questions. Firstly, we asked, “What can be said about the volume of popular worship music Christians are singing today?” Secondly, we wondered, “What are the attitudes of worship leaders toward this same music and the people that produce it?” The group had acquired a complete list of CCLI’s Top 100 songs, dating back to 1989 (i.e. 64 Top 100 lists, in total), and the Praise Charts Top 100 (or in some cases only Top 77), back to 2010. We considered how to use this valuable data to serve the Church. With a view toward analyzing behavioural trends around new music, in particular, we focused only on songs which were released between 2010 and 2020.


It was decided that assessing song volume and affiliations, dating back to 2010, would provide an adequate and comparable evaluation of the current and most recent Christian worship music landscape. To minimize limitations associated with data retrieval, the CCLI song lists, from 2010-2020 (i.e. up to the global-altering COVID-19 pandemic), were cross-referenced with similarly published lists from Praise Charts. By cross-referencing the most popular songs (i.e. 182 songs on the CCLI lists and 157 on the Praise Charts lists) across these two highly used Christian worship music platforms, 107 songs were common to both lists and would supply the corpus for this study.  

Next, attempts were made to confirm the affiliations of the songwriters associated with these songs. In some cases, affiliations to various entities were clear and explicit. In other cases, admittedly, some group decisions had to be made based on the diligent pursuit of a song’s unique history. With major affiliations determined, the decisive step was to find the i) total number of songs and singles written, produced, released, and on our list by each affiliate, ii) total number of songs and singles written, produced, released, and not on our list by each affiliate, and iii) total percentage of songs and singles written, produced, released, and on our list (in comparison to those not on our list).  

Top 100 CCLI Songs (2010-2020)
Top 100 Praisecharts Songs (2010-2020)
Shared Titles (2010-2020)
Survey Respondents
PCO History Uploads


The second part of the study contained demographic and attitudinal data in a six-question digital survey, as well as user-generated setlists used in their churches during the research period. The assessment was made available to participants for four weeks in October 2022. It was offered on several social media and email worship music platforms. Incentives for the completed surveys included four $500 Sweetwater gift cards, donated by Integrity Music.

The survey questions were vetted by a university social science professor. In total, 417 people responded to the 5–10-minute survey. Demographic data about the respondents was also collected on i) gender, ii) age, iii) church affiliation, iv) church worship style, and v) church size. Many users also uploaded their Planning Center setlists for the research period when possible. Data was also gathered from the responses to the following questions:  

  • How do you feel about the number of new songs promoted for congregational use? 
  • When considering a song for congregational use, how important is the song’s association with an artist or church to your decision on whether to use it? 
  • How likely would you be to select a song for congregational use associated with (major affiliates from section 1)? 
  • Do you wish your church was more similar in worship culture / style to the churches and/or artists previously mentioned? 
  • I believe new songs promoted for congregational use are primarily written in response to ______ (various motives). 
  • How likely are you to consider a new song for congregational use when you first encounter it through ________ (various platforms)?  

Each of the six questions offered opportunities for respondents to provide their comments. As a result, a large body of both quantitative and qualitative data was secured from the survey. For several months, our group gathered to verify, discuss, and analyze the results presented to you here on this website and the content you find here is produced in light of cross-correlating and contrasting these various data sets.