Seven Reasons Why Every Church Should Get SongSelect


Here are seven reasons why every pastor should make sure their church gets a subscription to SongSelect Premium by CCLI.

Originally written by Andy Rowell and posted in Church Leadership Conversations in 2007. Updated and used by permission.

1. Because you can instantly get perfectly spelled and formatted lyrics for projecting songs on the screen or printing words in the bulletin.

No errors and consistent copyright information – can you imagine that?

2. Because your musicians will love you for it. This is a godsend for musicians.

They can get chord sheets, lead sheets (those things with notes – yes they have them for contemporary music), and vocal sheets for virtually every worship chorus and hymn. Not only that but the musicians can simply choose what key to put the song in and the chord/lead/vocal sheet automatically changes. Incredible. Can you say “better music with less headaches?” Can you say “organized musicians” without feeling faint?

3. All your worship leaders, the pastoral staff, the secretary, (even all your musicians if you trust them and I suggest you do), can have access to this awesome resource online anytime.

In the old days, churches kept file cabinets of choir music and in the 90’s we all kept three-ring-binders of worship chorus chord sheets. It was a big pain to access and it did not foster good communication among people! So use this resource and let everyone have access to it. The only limitation is that you can only print 200 lead sheets per year. As long as you make it clear that only a few designated leaders can print out lead sheets, you can make a “regular musician account” for the rest of your musicians. Do it. Let everyone share the wealth and have access to this tool. If you let just the “worship pastor” have access to it, you are killing the spirit and potential of other musicians. Give as many people access to the music as possible. Don’t you want to develop other musicians?

4. It is a good financial investment. In the old days, churches spent lots of money on choir music, robes, and hymnals.

Today they spend it on technology. $189 is not bad considering the potential for better communication, better quality, increased creativity, and less stress.

5. You can make song books. For home groups or a retreat outdoors, you can make lyric sheets.

You are allowed to do that. I think you are supposed to collect them at the end though but you would have to read the fine print. You are not supposed to allow people to use your SongSelect for anything unrelated to the church where the license is from I think.

6. Lots of people on your staff will use it if you allow them to (and since you bought it and that is what it is for, let them use it!) Let the youth pastor use it.

Let the people who plan worship use it. The pastor will use it to look for songs that might go with the sermon. It will be well used. Stop using Google and illegally posted song lyrics to find “that song you were thinking of.” Use SongSelect.

7. It may help bring unity.

Having worship choruses with notes (lead sheets) and not just chord sheets will make your musicians better and will bridge connections between the young and old. Having worship choruses arranged as hymns with four parts will also draw young and old together. Having chord sheets for hymns will allow your guitar playing musicians to play hymns more easily.


Church musicians, worship leaders and secretaries have it hard enough and pastors have enough trouble getting along with them. Don’t deprive them of this resource. It will make their lives easier.

SongSelect has the top worship songs—and many more, from over 3,000 publishers and song owners.


  1. Sorry, but I have to partially disagree with you about this for several reasons. #1, the lyrics are not always accurate. I have called them a few times to correct errors, plus when you copy the lyrics they usually have the chorus first which adds more work to put the lyrics in the correct order for the powerpoint.

    #2, yes there are songs that have chord charts, but for one, the chords they provide I rarely use because they are not the best choices of chords so I end up having to make my own chord charts for the guitarist, and second, the majority of songs in CCLI do not provide chord charts, lyrics, lead sheets or audio. Matter of fact, that is my biggest issue with their site. They have songwriters/publishers that register their song title and that is all they provide. That is useless to me as a worship leader. CCLI should require that anyone wishing to have a song listed on their site, provide both the lyrics and lead sheet. I have complained to them about this and their response is it would cost too much and they are trying to make this more affordable to small congregations. What good does it do any congregation to have only a song title and not lyrics or lead sheet?

    The rest of your suggestions are valid, and it is helpful to have what they offer no matter how limited it is, but I cannot say they are even close to perfect and I am hoping some other company steps up and provides something more complete than CCLI.

  2. I agree with Mark, the chord sheets as formatted by SongSelect are often less than ideal. We regularly reformat to a more compact and musically readable template, but will use SS as a reference. So, we’re still maintaining the 3-ring binders of yore. I would love to have something that easily reformatted itself on various sized tablet-screens so that I could just access it online, rather than kill trees 😉 This is something that could be crowd-sourced, in the same way that sites like Ultimate Guitar make it possible to generally find whatever you need, albeit not as legally. I don’t know how that effort would line up with CCLI’s legal policies, but it would transform SS in no time.

    I love using SS to search for music by topic/theme, etc… I like the Favorites feature for easy lookup of songs we’ve incorporated into our repertoire, but I wish that it was something that was linked to others on my church’s account. If I tag a Favorite, but the pastor(s) and other musicians have to do that themselves as well, it’s less useful.

    I also pretty much skip any song that doesn’t have at least a lead-sheet, or chord sheet. That usually indicates to me that the song isn’t well established. Being able to narrow the search by those parameters would help.

    I am trying to convince my church to make use of SS as much as possible, if only because we are paying for access to it. Any of the improvements I’ve noted would go a long way towards that effort.

  3. I have to agree with some of the comments above about SS. I am the planner/singer with a small worship group and my guitarists are always complaining about the complex arrangements of the songs in SS. It seems the instrumentalist needs to be fairly advanced in their skill level to use the lead sheets as they are presented in SS. Also there are far too many songs with the same title and no lyrics or lead sheets offered for view to easily identify exactly which song you want to use. If you do no already have a copy of a song the SS is fairly limited in the variety of songs on a particular topic. and if you do have a copy of the song from a book, you have a hard time identifying which song number it would be when no lyrics or lead sheet is presented in the SS.

  4. I find SongSelect extremely valuable. I am sure that it is not as perfect as the article makes out, and agree that I would like to see some of the additional features that previous commenters asked for, but it is still a tremendous resource.

    While I agree with Mark that it would be great if all of the songs provided lyrics and lead sheets, I don’t agree that a listing is worthless without them. If I know a song or have it in a book, it is valuable to me to find it on SongSelect even without the lyrics or music, because I know I am allowed to reproduce and use it under my CCLI license. In that situation, shouldn’t be any trouble identifying the right song by author/publisher. I think the option to narrow a search to only songs with chords/lyrics/etc already exists.

    I can’t say I have ever found an error in SongSelect. I certainly have found differences between the words I know and those in SS, but assumed they were right, not me. Often SS has different chords than I am used to. Hard to say what the “best choices” are; that is a matter of taste, style and ability. Usually I like SS’s chords better, but may stick with mine unless I have time to learn theirs thoroughly before worship.

    Agree that SongSelect doesn’t replace the need for our own library of songs we have used, and customized the format. If you do want to get rid of your binders, consider getting a Dropbox account.


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