What's it like worshiping in another language? I read a while back that a study found that worshiping in a language other than your native tongue didn't have the same neurological connection as when you worship in your native language. While I understand the conclusion, I also don't completely agree with this. Over the past more than 3 years that we've been on this journey, one of the things that has most deeply connected me with France and the French has actually been the worship music.
Way back in the fall of 2014, we had just recently begun feeling like God might be calling us to France and I had started to look into what the Vineyard movement was doing in France. I came across the website of an American family in Nice who are running a small Vineyard church there and on their site was a link to an album called Vague aprés Vague (Wave after Wave). I was curious and clicked on it, and when I went to listen to the previews of the songs, I was delighted to find that the album was entirely of French versions for many of my favorite Vineyard worship songs!
The album has songs like Sweetly Broken (Je regarde à la croix), I Love Your Presence (J'aime ta présence), In The Secret (Dans le secret), and many more! Starting to listen to these songs was a great experience. I already loved the songs in English, and now I was able to connect with them in French. We also were able to download the lyrics to the songs and read along with the music helping us understand the words and remember the songs more.
Finding this album started opening up the doors to many more albums and songs that we love. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever (Parcourant les monts), How Great Is Our God (Le roi dans sa splendeur), Everlasting God (Notre force sera renouvelée), and many more. Those songs are all on the album Dieu incomparable (God incomparable). If you like traditional hymns, Québécois musicians, Sebastian Demrey & Jimmy Lahaie, have a series of albums called Héritage that are all different hymns in French. There are songs like I'll Fly Away (Je m'envolerai), Amazing Grace (Grace infinie), How Great Thou Art (Dieu tout puissant), and even a Christmas album (but French versions of Christmas music are a whole different blog post!).
Finding worship songs in French that I already knew helped me connect deeper with God and my calling to work with the French, and it also opened the door to finding many amazing French worship and Christian artists. Some of my favorites are Dan Luiten, Matt Marvane, Sebastian Demrey & Jimmy Lahaie, Luc Dumont, and others.
Even if you don't feel called to go to France or another country to serve God, try listening to some worship music in another language! If you start with songs you're already familiar with, you might be surprised how much it changes your perspective and connects you with the global church. It's easy to get stuck in our North American bubble and forget about the rest of the world but there are amazing believers all around the world and we are all called to be one church. So go give it a try!
And I, Kristy, wanted to add to Rob's post since French worship has had such an impact on me. As a writer, I can't fully describe my experiences of worshiping in French in words. When we attended le culte (i.e., the worship service) at Assemblée Chrétienne Mulhouse in 2015, during worship, the team led us in a French song to which we already knew the lyrics. I was able to truly worship God, knowing what I was singing in French. It was such a powerful connection. During that song, I felt like I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing.
As Rob mentioned above, we are one church. I believe song, and especially worship, has a way of connecting us with others around the world and with God in a way that nothing else can, short of our humanity. There is something profoundly powerful about hearing different languages singing the same familiar melody. It ties us together, and we feel like we are going to be okay. We know we're not alone. We may come from different cultures with different languages, but we share brokenness, hope, healing, redemption, and God.
To finish off, here are a few YouTube videos that we have embedded of some of these worship songs for you to listen to!
Dieu tout puissant
How Great Thou Art
Sauve avec puissance
Mighty To Save by Hillsong United
Quel ami fidèle et tendre
What a friend we have in Jesus
Seigneur que tu es beau
Oh Lord You're Beautiful by Keith Green
Here are a couple songs we love that aren't French translations of English songs.
Seigneur de l'Univers
Savior of the universe by Dan Luiten
Christ est la lumière
Christ is the light by Matt Marvane