This page provides a place to share helpful resources from the Crossway worship team.
Why do we sing in multiple languages?
One thing that makes our worship team unique is that we introduce songs that is originated in other countries/cultures/languages to our congragation. We do it because we are a diverse body of Christ that is consisted of people from many nations.
It is challenging and stretching for all of us. Here are some reasons why we chose to do it:
– We want “healthy discomfort” as our norm. We sing in different languages from time to time, which means no one person is able to sing comfortably with all of those languages. It takes learning and practicing to do so. By doing so, we can learn what it is like to adjust our own “comfort” for the sake of other people’s comfort. Also we strive to be able to honor others more than keeping “Me and My culture” as the center.
– We learn from many different people and realize that our God is more than just “our” God. We believe our worship experiences can be richer by including different music styles and different languages as an expression of diverse cultures. When we sing in different languages, it gives us realization that our God is the God of all nations and peoples.
– We want to be welcoming and inclusive. Imagine if you are in a foreign land and learning a new language – everyday feeling insecure and inferior among foreign people who are fluent in the language you are trying to learn. Yet Sunday morning you come to the church and the whole congregation is trying to learn a song that came from your culture and to sing in your language! What do you think that would make you feel? While there are many ways to be welcoming and inclusive, the worship team thinks that this is one of our ways we can show welcome and include diverse people in our church.
With these reasons in mind, we put some limits when we choose which languages/songs to use in the service: – We use the languages that at least one person in our congregation speaks as a heart language. The exception is that sometimes we keep singing the songs, even when speakers of that language have moved away, since the songs have become important parts of our worship together.
– We will do our best to honor the language and culture where the song was written. Even if song is written in English or in someone’s heart language, if the music style of the song is unique to the culture where it was written and if it is beyond the worship team’s ability to reproduce while honoring the culture, we will not use the song unless someone from the culture can join/help.
– The worship team members commit to put utmost effort to learn the language (especially those who serve as a vocal) and music style so that we can honor the language and its speakers.
We add songs that is new to us few days before the Sunday we introduce the song.
Kau Rajaku → See the foreign language songs section.
Foreign language songs
It takes so much background works to introduce foreign language songs. Sometimes it takes many people’s help and months of preparation for a song. Here, we post foreign language songs we use here with some background stories (The songs are listed in alphabetical order). We keep adding songs weekly as we use the song…so come back and check often!
This song was introduced to us by a Filipino member of our congregation. Since we learned this song few years ago, it has become our Easter favorite! It’s a simple and joyful song anyone can easily learn and sing both in English and in Filipino. In this video there is another language – Ilocano – version is included, but we don’t have anyone who speak the language so we do not use the version.
This song was introduced to us by our friend from El Salvador who was a member of the worship team. The singer, Marcos Witt is an American pastor /singer who is a famous Spanish speaking figure in Christian music. Whenever we sing this song we thank God for our friend who moved on!
Hana Mo (Let the Flowers)
This song was originally written in Japanese by a Japanese Pastor. Then it was translated into Korean, then English. It is wonderful that we can sing the same song in different languages with more and more diverse people! Just like the song says “Let the flowers, clouds, winds, great seas, create melodies of Jesus. Oh our souls, let our songs ring to the sky, sing of His grace,” we make melodies to praise Jesus together!
He Came Down
This song is a traditional song of Cameroon. A Scottish minister John L. Bell (b.1949) collected many praise songs from around the world and introduced to the Western world, and this is one of them. This is our favorite to sing in Christmas season and also throughout a year.
Imela (Thank you)
This song took an interesting path to reach us. The language is Igbo, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria. Yet not a Nigerian friend, but a British American friend learned this song in Myanmar and brought to our attention. We learned from the friend that there is a big Nigerian community in Myanmar and they sing this song in their church. There are several other Nigerian songs titled “Imela” which means “Thank you.” Often times the simple “Thank you” is the only thing we need to say to God and it is so great to have many songs that express the appreciation.
This song was played in Urbana 18. Written by a well known Christian singer songwriter in Indonesia, Sari Simorangkir. It is easy to sing along, beautiful and powerful declaration that Jesus is our King. There are many versions and covers on Youtube, so look around and find your favorite version …it may open door for you to explore more other Indonesian Christian music!
Nara (Global version)
We have been singing this song for quite a while ever since our Nigerian member introduced this song to us, yet this global version widened our horizon to sing this song in multiple languages. For the Easter 2021, we had 17 people came together to record vocals and instruments and created CMC 8 languages version.
Precious Cross (宝贵十架 or 寶貴十架)
We sang this Chinese song first time during the Good Friday service 1996 or 1997. We had so many Chinese students joining our service that year. After the service some Chinese attendees approached to the pastor and excitedly told him that they sang this song in Chinese churches. It is always a joy and such a reward for us worship team to hear that kind of feedback that the people in the congregation find a familiar song and able to join singing in their language!
Santo, Santo, Santo
This song is a traditional song across Latin America and originally written in Spanish. It was first translated in Dutch, then French and Korean. From these languages, we can easily assume that the missionaries who visited Latin America loved the song and translated to their languages. In CMC, we have our own version – It was translated into Chinese and Japanese by the attendees of our church.
This is another song we found in the collection of the Scottish minister John L. Bell. Originally a traditional song in South Africa, written in Zulu. Thuma Mina means ‘Send me.’
Uruwashiki Mina (Beautiful Name)
Unfortunately we don’t have a Youtube video for this song. This song was written and performed first by “Lyre” (a student group of Tokyo Christian University). Christian music market is very small in Japan, reflecting the very small Christian population in the country. However, Lyre’s songs are very popular among Japanese Christians ever since they started recording in 1994. They have published 68 songs, 9 CDs so far even after the original members have graduated from the university and each person has moved onto their mission field. The English lyrics were translated from Japanese and added by a CMC member. If you are interested in listening to the original Japanese recording by Lyre, talk to someone in the worship team.
Yesu Sarang he yo (Jesus, I love you)
This song was originally written in Korean, then translated into English and other languages. At first we were singing only in Korean and English, then someone said she sang this song in Chinese in a gathering. So we added the Chinese lyrics, then worship members translated it into Spanish and Japanese. Recently (in 2021), more members of the church translated this song into Yoruba, Bahasa and Filipino. Now we have 8 languages so far to sing this song!! We hope to add more languages in the future! (The video is only English).
You Alone Are God
This song was from Urbana 2006. The lead vocal, Daryl Black, sang the chorus part of this song in Spanish, so that is what we do too in CMC (The attached video only has English lyrics). In the Urbana conference that year, the Urbana worship team had multiple leaders – and each person was from different background and spoke different language. So we who attended it were introduced to many different language songs that year and it was so inspiring!!