How Shout To The Lord Helped Inspire PraiseCharts

Featuring Ryan Dahl Posted on April 26, 2008

"Shout To The Lord", was probably the first song to really inspire the development of PraiseCharts.  I remember back in 1997 when I was developing my little church orchestra, using the Songs For Praise And Worship Series put out by Word Music.  I had the big conductor's binder and all!  That first collection stopped just short of, "Shout To The Lord" and the wave of new contemporary worship that was about to unload on the church in the 21st century.

There is quite a story about how, "Shout To The Lord" came to be, written by an unsuspecting young lady named Darlene Zschech, who was quite new as a worship leader at the time.  That song seemed to not only catapult her ministry, but the entire ministry of Hillsong Church, much less the worldwide wave of powerful new worship songs that would follow.  I knew in 1997 that we needed a new vehicle to keep up with this rushing river of new worship music that was coming down the mountain, and so, the beginning of PraiseCharts converged with the dawn of, "Shout To the Lord" in 1998.

Today, PraiseCharts has a close relationship with Hillsong Church, both from a publishing side and a personal side.  Steve McPherson (who oversees Hillsong Publishing) and I have developed a great friendship in the last number of years.  We are both the same age, both have 4 kids, and we both have a passion to resource the world with great worship music.

My pastors, John and Helen Burns, have a long-standing close relationship with Brian and Bobby Houston, as well as Mark and Darlene Zschech.  They are in Australia half a dozen times a year, and then Houston's and Zschech's have been to our church in Vancouver, BC several times.  Bobby Houston is the keynote speaker at our Life Women's conference next week.  Needless to say, there is quite a buzz in our church.

Back to, "Shout To The Lord", it seems there is a renewed buzz about this song in recent months since the exposure it had on American Idol.  I would never have thought it would have that much impact, but sure enough, "Shout To The Lord" has shot up the ranks in PraiseCharts, currently sitting near the bottom of our Top 10 list.  With more than 1300 arrangements in our catalog, that says a lot about a song that has already been around for 10 years.

There is no question this song has an anointing on it.  The lyrics, the melody and the chorus all unite to create a powerful expression of worship that will minister in churches around the world for many more decades, no doubt.  The song is a modern day hymn.

Interesting, though - I wonder how you feel about the song showing up on "American Idol?"  Of all places for a worship song to be showcased, but on a television broad cast with the word IDOL in it!  On the more skeptical side, Bob Kauflin writes in his blog, "American Idol, for all the good the show is seeking to do, will never be a platform for worshiping a crucified Messiah. The Gospel has to be gutted of a bloody cross to find a place on prime time TV."  To be fair to Bob, he does teeter-totter on both sides of the argument, almost having his own internal struggle of whether it is good or bad to see a worship song on an idol show.

As for putting worship songs on a pagan stage, you might be interested to know that another top worship song on PraiseCharts was written on the stage of a strip joint in Korea.  To hear more about that, click here.

Personally, I don't think there is any stage that justifies a worship song.  Worship Music belongs everywhere and anywhere.  There are as many pure hearts in a strip joint as there are impure hearts in a Sunday worship service.  God sees everything on an entirely different dimension - the heart dimension.  So, to God, it is neither here nor there that a song shows up on American Idol, or in a strip club, or in a church service.  They are all just places where people meet.  There is no physical setting that sanctifies worship.  The presence of God is not limited to anything physical - ANYTHING.

So, the fact that, "Shout To The Lord" showed up on American Idol is only relevant to the degree that it inspires more people to live the life of worship as a response to that song.  Only God knows about everyone.  Only you know about yourself.