On top of the albums of the year I love to draw attention to the top albums that were made for the church each year. These records are full of songs that churches throughout the world are singing or that have inspired church song-writers. It’s great to see so many great records being written by the church and for the church. But it’s also great to see the artistic viability of these albums outside the church. I hope you enjoy the list and once again I would love to hear about some records that I may have missed out on. Happy New Year!

/// Top Albums for the Church 2011

10.) Various – Love Divine: Hymns of Wesley
This is a great collection of Wesley’s greatest hymns done by some of today’s great church songwriters. Not just a modern feel, but some wonderful chord structures, arrangements, and song choices make this a must have album.

9.) Worship Central- Spirit Break Out
One of those albums that really captured what God was doing in the room that night. Nothing musically stands out, but it’s a great album of great songs that captures the passion for God that was in that room. It makes you want to join in with every listen.

8.) Tim Hughes – Love Shine Through
This Martin Smith produced effort has the Delirious? sheen and that’s not a bad thing at all. Musically very fresh and still accessible. Some of Tim’s greatest songs, but I still think the best is yet to come from Mr. Hughes.

7.) Matt Redman – 10,000 Reasons
This is an album full of modern hymns. Redman is one of the greatest church songwriters of our time and this is living proof. Easily his best record since Facedown.

6.) Elevation Worship – For the Honor
A great record of solid songs. Some songs are from past releases, but with these being live they immediately have a better feel. Lots of video extras and other things make this record worth it as well. Truly an album written by the church for the church.

5.) Jesus Culture – Awakening
Every Jesus Culture album seems to have something special about it. There is an strong sense of unity amongst the great songs. It’s a great album for just listening and worshipping God personally.

4.) United – Aftermath
An extremely creative effort and chocked full of great songs. I always enjoy United’s live albums, but this is the best of the 2 studio albums so far. Incredible arrangements, tonality, and songwriting. A very challenging record for church songwriters.

3.) Hillsong – God is Able
The best album of songs for the church of the year in my opinion. At least 5 songs that would immediately connect with any congregation it seems. The only way to write songs like this is with a pure passion for the Kingdom of God.

2.) Gungor – Ghosts Upon the Earth
The most creative record of the year for the church and while the songs are really accessible enough to use on Sunday mornings they are inspiring none the less and a huge step forward in church songwriters understanding that we must care about the medium as well as the muse.

1.) John Mark McMillan – Economy
One of the best records of the year period. The only album to make both my top 10 for the church and my top ten albums of the year. Songwriting, production, arranging, tones, all come together to set a new standard for making records with a heart for the local church.

/// Honorable Mentions

Classic City Collective – Leave Your Guns with the Usher

Leeland – The Great Awakening

Daniel Bashta – The Sounds of Daniel Bashta

Kristian Stanfill – Mountains Move

Aaron Keyes – Dwell

Please make sure to post any albums I may have forgotten. I know there are so many great records that come out to resource the church each year. 2011 was a great year for art in and through the church and I hope we continue to grow and make art that resources the church and reaches out into the whole world.