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Short Songs: Deepening Our Participation in Worship

Read this viewing guide to find out how you might benefit from watching a one-hour session by Alison Adam, “Short Songs: Deepening Our Participation in Worship.”

Liturgist and song leader Alison Adam teaches people of all ages in many countries to sing together. She encourages us all to sing in worship with the voices God gave us. Alison is a member of the Scotland-based Iona Community and lives in northern England. At the 2017 Calvin Symposium on Worship, she led a workshop on the power of short songs “to make worship and worshipers come alive in a different way.”

Why you should watch this video

Watch it if you choose or lead music for worship, want to improve congregational singing, need new ways to involve worshipers, or seek simple songs for your class or small group.

What you'll get from watching

Hear 12 songs from around the world and get ideas for how to teach and use them in worship. Download sources for each song and music for four of them.

Key lessons

The key to teaching short global songs is for the leader to know them well and sing with confidence and in tune. The leader doesn’t need a great voice, because “an ordinary voice is a voice we can all relate to.”

Weaving short global songs throughout worship helps worshipers grasp and enter into liturgical moments. These songs help people gather, pray in lament and solidarity with Christians elsewhere, prepare to hear or respond to God’s Word, rejoice, bring offerings, share communion, move their bodies, transition between parts of worship, and go forth.


Best segments

7:00 to 9:23. How easy it is to teach and learn a short song: “Holy, Holy, Holy (St. Bride)” 51:46 to 59:48. Teaching and talking about “Ya Rabba Ssalami/God of Peace and Justice”


Since these are shorter songs, not hymns, you can’t necessarily find them on Here’s where you can buy the music in different countries. Links go directly to the songbook or CD page on each publisher’s website.

• Come All You People: Shorter Songs for Worship, GIA (US); Wild Goose Publications (UK); Willow Publishing (Australia)

 • Sing with the World: Global Songs for Children: GIA (US); Pleroma Christian Supplies [CD only] (New Zealand); Wild Goose Publications (UK); Willow Publishing (Australia)

• There Is One Among Us: Shorter Songs for Worship: GIA (US); Wild Goose Publications (UK); Willow Publishing (Australia)

• We Walk His Way: Shorter Songs for Worship: GIA; Wild Goose Publications (UK); Pleroma Christian Supplies [CD only] (New Zealand); Willow Publishing (Australia)

Be sure you follow the rules to get permission for using other people’s music in worship. Read “Copyright Information, Clearing Up the Confusion” by Diane Dykgraaf.