Fast Songs for Worship, 2


Hey, all! Several years ago (was 2013 that long ago?!), I posted “Fast Songs for Worship,” and it remains one of my most heavily trafficked posts. That indicates to me that worship leaders are still hunting for upbeat songs to incorporate into their worship arsenal.

Well, here’s a continuation of that list. While there are many great fast songs out there, some are just not conducive for corporate worship (you worship pastors will know what I mean). I have compiled 20 up-tempo worship songs, all of which I think could be excellent additions to your regular rotations. They’re in no order, and chord charts are widely available for most of them, including on CCLI’s Song Select.

Tell me below which ones I missed!

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Joy (Joth Hunt)

As heard on “This is Our Time” by Planetshakers

Melbourne-based Planetshakers Church pumps out a seemingly endless stream of worship music (sometimes several full-length albums a year!), and I personally think they can always be counted on for catchy and fun fast songs. “Joy” is especially fun with a predictable melody (which is actually ideal for corporate singing). There’s a couple quick chord changes here, but after a solid rehearsal, it’s nothing your team won’t catch on to quickly.

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The Church is Alive (Aaron Johnson, Brianna Tomlinson, Ryan Williams)

As heard on “Edge of Heaven” by River Valley Worship

I learned recently of River Valley Worship, and I just can’t get enough of them. I especially love that their music expresses important theology in subtle, friendly packages, including themes of healing, Heaven, and evangelism. This one, “The Church is Alive,” will be an awesome reminder for your people that they are the Church! The whole song is also naturally engaging, so it won’t be long before your people are clapping, singing, shouting, dancing—being alive!

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Grace on Top of Grace (Fellowship Church, Jonathan Smith)

As heard on “Eclipsed” by Fellowship Creative

The worship ensemble at Ed Young’s Fellowship Church averages roughly an album every two years or so, and “Grace on Top of Grace” is from their most recent in 2016. Once you start doing this one in your church, it will quickly feel like you’ve been doing it forever, especially because it melodically references the timeless hymn “Amazing Grace.” (Plus their worship pastor Derric Bonnot always looks like he just tumbled out of an H&M magazine—that’s a fun plus!)

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Zeal (Henry Seeley, Mia Fieldes, Robert Marvin)

As heard on “All the Earth” by The Belonging Co

Full of drums—full of swells—full of climaxes! The Belonging Co’s debut album is packed as tightly as it possibly can be with familiar voices (Kari Jobe, Lauren Daigle, and others), lyrical genius, and a running theme of the Holy Spirit. “Zeal” is spearheaded by Planetshakers alum Henry Seeley, and while the delivery takes some vocal chops, it’ll have your church pulsing in no time!

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Can’t Stop Singing (David Binion, Israel Houghton, Joshua Dufrene)

As heard on “Kingdom” by Covenant Worship

If you haven’t heard Nicole Binion lead worship, you are missing out, my friend. She is that rare breed of “Vocal Powerhouse” and “Massively Anointed.” And what I particularly love about Covenant’s approach to leading worship is how many worship leaders take turns leading different parts of one song. You’ll hear Nicole leading most of this song, with legend Israel Houghton and Covenant mainstay Joshua Dufrene jumping in to carry pieces of it. Every time I’ve lead this song—in various churches, mind you—I’ve noticed how naturally people catch on and worship along. It’s musically easy. It’s got an important message. It’s a winner, hands down.

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In Jesus’ Name (Darlene Zschech, Israel Houghton)

As heard on “Revealing Jesus” by Darlene Zschech

Darlene Zschech, the “Mama Bear of Worship Music” as she has come to be known, has written a prophetic anthem, almost a battle cry, for the Church to latch onto. Yes, there’s some syncopation that might be a challenge for some worship teams, but this is a song your people need to declare over themselves and your city. I believe that as people prophesy life and provision into their situations while worshiping with “In Jesus’ Name,” breakthrough is imminent! (For a more Gospel flair of this song, listen to Israel & New Breed’s rendition called “I Will Live,” which is their most popular song to date, according to Spotify.)

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Love Changes Everything (Jake Espy)

As heard on “Here” by Red Rocks Worship

Up-and-coming Red Rocks Worship is already making a noteworthy mark in the world of Christian music. (I may be biased because I went to college with several of their core worship leaders—shout out to Kory Miller, Brinnae Keathley, Jerrica Matrone, and others—but I’m serious when I say some of their songs are simply outstanding!) There’s not a plethora of upbeat music here, and even “Love Changes Everything” is not quite as clappy and stompy as the others I’ve listed. But that rich chorus and joyful bridge are something special!

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Not Today (Joel Houston, Matt Crocker)

As heard on “Wonder” by Hillsong United

While there are many popular worship groups, Hillsong has undeniably remained one of, if not the most, influential worship bands in modern history, and one of their offshoots Hillsong United is responsible for producing game-changers like “Oceans” and “Lead Me to the Cross.” Once when I was in need of a good fast song for an upcoming worship event, I took a chance on “Not Today” and our people fell in love with it. It’s surprisingly congregation-friendly, and the line “Fear is just a liar running out of breath” is among Hillsong United’s most powerful lyrics, in my opinion.

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Overcome (Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Steven Furtick)

As heard on “There is a Cloud” by Elevation Worship

To me, “Overcome” would be a perfect bridge when you are trying to transition from a slower-paced worship time into an upbeat worship team. Fast enough to be fun, and still powerful in its own right. Elevation’s repertoire is also friendly to worship teams who may not have all the guitars and drums of a megachurch—for a stripped-down version of “Overcome,” check out their album “Acoustic Sessions.”

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Found in You (Andi Rozier, Jason Ingram, Paul Baloche)

As heard on “The Rock Won’t Move” by Vertical Worship

This trio of songwriters is each brilliant at packaging an important truth in a limited vocal range, simple chords, and easy harmonies, while still keeping the delivery engaging and fun. “Found in You” is another of the trustworthy standards from Vertical Worship that would serve well as a service-opener.

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Looking Up (Nashville Life Music)

As heard on “Shine On Us, Part 1” by Nashville Life Music

This song is, simply put, a lot of fun! If your church has a choir, “Looking Up” is a great song to emphasize that, as it relies heavily (and beautifully) on the call-and-response style. Something I really enjoy about this song and others like it, is that I feel it effectively reaches both “white” congregations and “black” congregations, thus finding a happy home in multi-ethnic churches. (I also love Nashville Life’s upbeat song “Worthy One” from the same album, although it may not work as seamlessly in all contexts.)

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Alive (Alexander Pappas, Aodhan King)

As heard on “We Are Young and Free” by Hillsong Young and Free

This bouncy anthem is certainly not new, having been released in 2013, but I didn’t include it on my previous list, and I think it really deserves a place on a list of top fast songs for worship. A lot of what Hillsong Y&F releases emphasizes heavy synth and electronic interludes, which is fun but difficult for less-resourced churches to replicate. “Alive,” however, can be translated to fit many different contexts without losing its energy. If you decide to give this one a try (which I recommend wholeheartedly), be prepared for your people to start dancing, bouncing, and praising! And for a slightly more mature version (with nice ensemble harmonies), check out Travis Cottrell’s rendition on his album “All That is Within Me.”

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The Way (Ben Cantelon, Nick Herbert, Tim Hughes)

As heard on “Set Apart” by Worship Central

“The Way” comes from “Here I Am to Worship” songwriter Tim Hughes and is a dance-worthy song that describes the glory of salvation through Jesus. Although it features a lengthy electronic instrumental bit, the song can be masterfully pulled off with an acoustic guitar, keys, drums, and bass—if the musicians really lean into the energy. Plus, it’s musically quite simple, with the same 3 chords over and over again (vi, IV, I).

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You Are Life (Aodhan King, Ben Tan, Michael Guy Chislett, Scott Ligertwood)

As heard on “There is More” by Hillsong Worship

Hillsong’s 26th installment in their official live worship series resonates powerfully as one of their best in recent memory, for me. Since Darlene Zschech’s transition away from the helm in 2007, the leadership has changed a few times, and although there have been several standout moments since then, “There is More” finally sounds cohesive again under newly appointed worship pastor Brooke Ligertwood (“What a Beautiful Name,” “Hosanna”), almost like a nod to the style and revival-feel that made them so great in the first place. “You Are Life” is among the myriad of excellent songs from this album and really captures the contagious energy and happy culture of Hillsong Church itself. This song would make for a fabulous service-opener.

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Build Your Kingdom Here (Rend Collective)

As heard on “Homemade Worship by Handmade People” by Rend Collective

Here’s another song that really isn’t new, but it definitely deserves to be on this list. And if you’re a worship pastor who’s been living under a rock, Rend Collective is basically the Christian version of Mumford and Sons. With super-fast strumming and drums that just won’t quit, the lyrics expound on the prayer “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” It’s impossible for a person to passively listen to this song—everyone will be clapping hands and tapping toes with enthusiasm!

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Our God Reigns (Israel Houghton, BJ Putnam)

As heard on “Covered: Alive in Asia” by Israel & New Breed

Has Israel Houghton ever written a bad song? No, really. Has he? Because “Our God Reigns” is as timeless and strong as any of his other standards like “Jesus at the Center,” “You Are Good,” and “Your Presence is Heaven.” This song is musically less complicated than you think it might be (depending on your team’s musical skill), and its message is necessary in a world full of upsetting politics and fearful news: “Our God is in control—steadfast, unmovable! Nothing’s impossible ’cause our God reigns forever!” Your people will sing faith back into their hearts!

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Glorious Day (Jason Ingram, Jonathan Smith, Kristian Stanfill, Sean Curran)

As heard on “Worthy of Your Name” by Passion

The uber-cool (let’s be honest, he is uber-cool, isn’t he?) Kristian Stanfill hits a home run as he leads “Glorious Day,” a song bursting with exciting imagery. Indeed, salvation in Jesus is not a somber, emotionless experience; no, when Jesus calls us to life, our spirits erupt awake into a technicolor reality! I love the thought of running out of a grave, as opposed to stumbling or groggily emerging. I think your people will love the theme also, as they dance their way to victory. And one look at the simplicity of the chords will let you know that a worship team of any level can pull this one off. Now, if we could all just be as uber-cool as Kristian…

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Do What You Want To (Jacob Sooter, Jason Ingram, Meredith Andrews)

As heard on “Church Songs” by Vertical Worship

Songs of surrender are often reserved for slow, reverent ballads, but Vertical Worship has reminded us that surrender can be upbeat, too! This song also leans into a bit of a Pentecostal vein, as the Church releases the Holy Spirit to do whatever it is He longs to do. Although Meredith Andrews has an impressive voice, this particular song has an intentionally limited range, making it very accessible to worship leaders with varying vocal abilities.

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Your House (Kyle Lee, Michael W. Smith)

As heard on “Surrounded” by Michael W. Smith

This song, guys! It’s such a perfect call to worship, as the first few lines serve to gather people together, and the refrain shouts out, “We come into Your house with thanksgiving and praise, all for Your Name!” And the bridge declares that timeless truth: “For the Lord is good, and His love endures forever!” I can imagine this song working well in many different denominations, done by worship teams of varying skills.

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Risen (David Binion, Israel Houghton, Joshua Dufrene)

As heard on “Kingdom” by Covenant Worship

Maybe you haven’t learned yet, but I’m a humongous fan of Covenant Worship and Israel Houghton… so when they come together to pump out a few songs, I’m here for it! “Risen” is a great addition to any worship set and would also serve well during an Easter service. I’ve lead this song many times and people love to engage and worship along—but the rhythm is a little tricky. That said, you’ll find that the chords can be simplified a bit and the rhythm can be smoothed out for those teams who may have some difficulty. But either way, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this incredible anthem!

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And there you have it! Now, tell me, what songs did I miss? What fast songs have worked well in your church? Or, what fast songs do you wish your church would do? I would love to hear, and I’m sure other worship pastors would benefit from hearing your voice, too! Leave a note in the comments.

Praise God!


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