May 13, 2008 Tony Morgan

Worship Music Genre Poll Results

In case you missed it, we had a little poll a couple of weeks ago. Over 300 people responded. The question I asked was this: “Consider the worship music at your church. What genre of music would best describe the style?”

Here are the results of the poll:

  1. Rock 49%
  2. Pop 32%
  3. Alternative 12%
  4. R&B/Soul 4%
  5. Country 3%
  6. Hip-Hop/Rap 0%

By comparison, I thought you might be interested in seeing the same results from the current top 100 songs on iTunes.

  1. Pop 29%
  2. Hip-Hop/Rap 22%
  3. Rock 14%
  4. Alternative 11%
  5. Country 11%
  6. R&B/Soul 10%

Now, before we dive in, I think we need to state the obvious. This wasn’t a very scientific poll, so it doesn’t accurately reflect all the churches in the country. In fact, though I wish it weren’t the case, I’m guessing my site lacks ethnic diversity in its readership. That being the case, I’m hoping that explains some of the disparity we see in the numbers.

With those caveats, it’s pretty obvious that there are some glaring differences between the music genres that our culture is listening to and the ones used in our churches (those represented by the readers of this blog). For example:

  • 49% of us are using rock music compared to only 14% of the top 100 songs on iTunes.
  • 32% of the top iTunes hits are hip-hop/rap or R&B/soul, and only 4% of us are using that style of music in our worship services.

That raises some questions in my mind:

  • Are we still using the right style of music to reach our culture?
  • Can hip-hop, rap and R&B music be used to worship God? (I personally think the answer is yes. To me that question isn’t unlike the one previous generations wrestled with regarding the appropriateness of using rock music in worship.)
  • Are there churches in America that are embracing hip-hop/rap and R&B/soul to reach the large portion of our culture that’s listening to that style of music?
  • Have we adequately determined who we’re trying to reach and what style of music they resonate with?
  • Do we have a responsibility to do anything about this?

What are your thoughts?

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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