From joyful big-band tunes to aching psalms, from Dallas to down under, local musicians bring depth and diversity to our praise.

While big-name megachurch outlets produce the bulk of music sung on Sunday mornings, independent musicians across churches, denominations, and musical styles are writing their own songs for their community to sing together—and maybe ours one day too.

Four recent releases by independent artists—Gather, Pray, and Eat by Hey Barnabas! and Sunday Morning Songs; A Table by Saint Augustine’s Music; Psalms: The Poetry of Prayer by Caroline Cobb; and Lent Hymns by Paul Zach—offer new music to accompany and facilitate worshipful celebration, intimacy, mourning, thanksgiving, and supplication.

These independent worship artists have a foot in both worlds: They write for their local congregations but also hope that their songs reach worshipers they’ll never meet.

“We want to create music that’s unique to our community, but we sing to the world,” said Chloe Williams, a vocalist and songwriter in Saint Augustine’s Music. “We’re not trying to replicate anything, we’re not trying to be the next best thing; we’re just trying to be faithful.”

Independent artists add diversity and depth to the repertoire of music available to the church, providing space for collaboration and contributions from a broader community of songwriters.

“We want to create a table, not another platform,” said Eric McAllister, creative director of the worship collective Sunday Morning Songs.

Gather, Pray, and Eat

Eric McAllister is creative director of Sunday Mornings Songs and director of music and liturgy at High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin. He describes congregational singing as …

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