As a long-time fan of Christian worship music, crediting the biblical messages behind the songs in Christian music for leading me to Christ, I have been immensely blessed by the emergence of female worship leaders. In the past several years, there have been some incredibly stellar offerings of worship from female vocalists, both new and established. In conjunction with the worship releases After All These Years by Brian & Jenn Johnson, Here I Am Send Me by Darlene Zschech and Boundless by Kerrie Roberts, I got thinking about my top 12 favorite female worship leaders.
If you haven't checked them out, I highly recommend listening to the offerings listed below from these anointed female worship leaders. Do you have any other favorites that I missed?
1. Brooke Fraser Brooke Fraser is the writer and singer of Hillsong United's "Hosanna," "Lead Me to the Cross," "Desert Song" and "Soon." Her incredible return with Hillsong Worship's Let There Be Light after several solo projects has returned Brooke to the top of my list of my favorite female worship leaders. The video of Brooke leading "What A Beautiful Name" demonstrates why.
2. Taya Smith
The singer of Hillsong United's "Oceans," "Touch The Sky," "Say the Word," "Even When it Hurts" and "Captain," Hillsong Worship's "Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)" and "Grace to Grace" and Hillsong Young & Free's "Wake" makes Taya one of top female worship leaders of our time. Her take on "Oceans" alone is iconic.
3. Lauren Daigle Lauren Daigle displays the strongest vocals I've heard in years on her debut How Can it Be (released in 2015) with the standout worship songs "How Can it Be," "Loyal," "First," "Trust in You" and "Come Alive (Dry Bones)." In a few short years Lauren has changed the landscape of worship, as in this video of her leading "How Can it Be."
4. Kari Jobe Kari Jobe's version of "Revelation Song" alone puts her on the list. Her contributions with Gateway Church, Bethel Music ("Forever"), her Grammy nominated Majestic (2014) and new release The Garden (2017) keep taking her music ministry up a notch with each release.
5. Darlene Zschech Darlene Zschech paved the way for today's female worship leaders with her writing and singing of "Shout to the Lord," "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" and "The Potter's Hand" with Hillsong. Her solo projects continue to bless worshipers everywhere, with her songs "Cry of the Broken," "Victor's Crown" and her most recent release Here I Am Send Me.
6. Audrey Assad Audrey Assad is a critically lauded singer, songwriter and musician, as well as an author, speaker, producer and daughter of a Syrian refugee. She has sung many beautiful worship songs including "Restless," "Show Me," "Sparrow," "O My Soul," "I Shall Not Want," "Humble," "Even Unto Death" and "New Every Morning." Assad recently released her second independent album, Inheritance: Deluxe Edition, which is a collection of hymns and original songs that both pay homage to her childhood heritage and to her Catholic faith and charismatic spirituality. I'm really engaged by Audrey's emotional vocals and the deep, prayerful lyrics throughout the album, as you can see in the video of Audrey leading "Good to Me."
7. Jenn Johnson
Jenn is one of the founding worship leaders of Bethel Music from Redding, California, who has brought worshipers everywhere into God's presence with her songs "A Little Longer," "Chasing You," "Come to Me," "In Over My Head," "Heaven Come" and "God I Look to You." She also leads the standout songs "You're Gonna Be Ok," "Mention of Your Name" and "Gravity" from her new release After All These Years with her husband Brian Johnson. You can watch Jenn leading "In Over My Head" above.
8. Kim Walker-Smith
The new album and 9th live recording Let it Echo from Jesus Culture includes 12 new songs featuring Kim Walker-Smith, Chris Quilala, Bryan and Katie Torwalt and more. The Kim Walker-Smith led anthems are highlights, including "Never Gonna Stop Singing," "Alive in You," "In the River" and "In Your Presence," the latest entries in her influential career.
9. Amanda Cook
You can hear Amanda Cook's anointed, emotive and prophetic worship in Bethel Music's "I Will Exalt" from Be Lifted High, "You Make Me Brave" and "Shepherd" from You Make Me Brave, "You Don't Miss a Thing" from We Will Not Be Shaken and "Mercy" from Have it All. Amanda's debut solo worship album Brave New World is an excellent set of songs that focus on asking God to truly inhabit our inner being and allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. You can see her passionate approach to worship as she leads "You Make Me Brave" in the video above.
11. Kerrie Roberts Kerrie Roberts has pure and strong vocals that remind me of Brooke Fraser and Audrey Assad, and her albums have always included worshipful songs like "Savior to Me (Sing Glory)," "In Your Sight" and "My Heart's Lifted." Her new album Boundless is an album about the boundless nature of God's love and how He desires to make His home in each of us as followers of Jesus.
12. Misty Edwards Misty Edwards, who is based out of IHOPKC, has left a deep mark on the contemporary worship atmosphere with her clear and passionate voice. The ethereal musical style and Misty's powerful and gorgeous vocals keep me hanging on every word she sings and speaks on songs including "Baptize My Heart," "Only a Shadow," "Shine like the Stars," "When You Think of Me," "The Gift" and "So Come." You can see her signature worship leading style in the video of "When You Think of Me."
NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.
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