Praising God through song with the right chords can be a powerful worship experience. If you’re looking for the chords to the popular hymn ‘What a Mighty God We Serve’, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s a quick answer: The chords for ‘What a Mighty God We Serve’ are G, D, Em, C, and D7. The song is in the key of G major.
The Story and History Behind the Hymn
The author and origins
The hymn “What a Mighty God We Serve” was written by Claude Hopper in 1982. Claude was a pastor and songwriter who wanted to pen a song that celebrated the greatness and power of God. As he studied Scripture, Claude was struck by verses like Isaiah 40:28 that describe God as an eternal, all-powerful Creator.
Out of his mediations came the lyrics “What a mighty God we serve, What a mighty God we serve, Angels bow before Him, Heaven and earth adore Him, What a mighty God we serve.”
Context and meaning of the lyrics
The hymn extols God’s supreme might and sovereignty over all creation. The lyrics explore aspects of God’s nature – His holiness, grace, wisdom and love. The song calls worshipers to praise God for who He is. The chorus is meant to inspire awe and worship of our omnipotent Creator.
Phrases like “Heaven and earth adore Him” remind us that all creatures owe reverence and allegiance to the Lord. The hymn has a reverent tone, yet also communicates joy and celebration in praising God’s glory.
Popularity over the years
“What a Mighty God We Serve” quickly became a modern hymn sung in many churches after its release. Over the past 40 years, it has been included in numerous hymnals and choral collections. Acording to CCLI’s database, it ranks in the top 100 contemporary worship songs reported by churches.
Artists like Michael W. Smith, Kari Jobe and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir have recorded popular versions. The global spread shows this hymn continues to inspire many to “lift their voice and sing to the Lord!”
Chords and Chord Progression
Chords needed to play the song
The main chords needed to play “What a Mighty God We Serve” are G, D, Em, and C. The song utilizes basic open chord shapes that are beginner friendly. The chords are major chords like G and D, as well as minor chords like Em and C that create a balanced and emotional progression.
Strumming pattern and tempo
The strumming pattern for “What a Mighty God We Serve” is a simple down-down-up-up pattern that repeats throughout the song. The tempo is moderate, around 100-120 bpm. This gives the song a steady, driving feel.
The strumming pattern emphasizes the strong downbeats, creating a powerful rhythmic foundation for the vocals and lyrics.
Chord changes and progression
Here are the chord changes for the song:
- G – D – C – D
- G – D – C – D
- G – Em – C – D
- G – D – C – D
The progression uses the I (G), IV (C), V (D), and vi (Em) chords in the key of G major. It has a straightforward alternating pattern between G major and D major, with Em adding variety in the third line.
This creates satisfying resolution back to the I chord G. The consistent return to the D chord gives momentum and anticipation during the progression.
Tips for Playing ‘What a Mighty God We Serve’
Use a Capo for Easy Key Changes
Using a capo, a clamp that attaches to the guitar neck, is an effortless way to change the key of ‘What a Mighty God We Serve’. Place the capo on the 2nd, 4th or 5th fret to play in a higher key that fits your vocal range. This trick makes singing much more comfortable, especially for beginners.
Transposing chords on the fly can be tricky, so rely on a capo for seamless key changes. Most worship leaders use capos to adapt keys while leading congregations. Guitarists like Keith Urban and John Mayer are also fond of capos for versatility.
Simplify Chords for Beginners
The standard open chords in ‘What a Mighty God We Serve’ may prove difficult for novice guitar players. However, there are simplified one- and two-finger chord alternatives to make playing easier:
- Replace G chord with G5 power chord (3rd fret low E string, open A string)
- Use Cadd9 chord instead of C chord (mute low E, 3rd fret A, open D G B e strings)
- Play Dsus2 instead of D chord (open D G B e strings, 3rd fret high E)
Strumming familiar chords boosts confidence during worship. As skills improve, tackle the standard grip in time. Additionally, use a guitar slide on your index finger to avoid pressing strings down when changing chords.
Sing Loudly with Confidence
Spirited congregational singing magnifies God’s glory. So belt out ‘What a Mighty God We Serve’ vibrantly within your vocal range. Smile brightly and close your eyes occasionally, as facial expressions and body language greatly impact singing power.
Breathe from the diaphragm by inhaling deep belly breaths and exhaling fully. Correct breathing supports singing strength. Drink lemon water too for vocal chord elasticity. Furthermore, running scales vocally before worship rehearsals warm up your voice.
With practice, you will gain assurance to sing mightily from the heart and even hit challenging high notes during stirring worship sessions.
|How It Helps
|Use guitar capo
|Easily change key for vocal comfort
|Reduce difficulty for beginners
|Enhances vocal power with expression
|Close eyes occasionally
|Helps connect with lyrics emotionally
|Supports stronger singing
|Drink lemon water
|Keeps vocal chords elastic
|Run vocal scales
|Warms up voice before worship
With some thoughtfulness, everyone can praise God audibly during worship sessions with confidence. By following these tips, you will soon lead choruses boldly and even hit high notes you never imagined.
So drink some lemon water, run a few scales and get ready to lift your voice with assurance as we glorify our mighty God in song.
For more guidance, check out these online resources:
Other Versions and Arrangements
Hymnal and choral arrangements
The popular worship song “What a Mighty God We Serve” has been arranged for choirs and published in several prominent hymnals. The Celebrating Grace Hymnal features a four-part vocal arrangement, allowing church and school choirs to perform the song.
An a cappella version also appears in the Baptist Hymnal, which is used widely in Southern Baptist churches. Some contemporary hymnals like The Faith We Sing contain simplified, more singable arrangements designed for congregational singing.
Cover versions by contemporary artists
Many contemporary Christian music artists have recorded their own cover versions of this worship anthem. In 2010, the Christian band Phillips, Craig & Dean added their rendition to the compilation album WOW Worship Blue.
This version features a full band and backing vocalists to create a radio-friendly arrangement. More recently, the singer Chris Tomlin included “What a Mighty God We Serve” on his 2021 praise and worship album Always. His version has a distinct acoustic folk style.
Other notable covers come from Michael W. Smith and Passion, showing the song’s continued popularity.
For church services and ceremonies that require reflective, non-lyrical background music, there are several instrumental recordings available. The Majesty Music label has released two separate piano-focused instrumental albums that feature solo piano arrangements of “What a Mighty God We Serve.”
Some musicians like Christian violinist Jaime Jorge have also uploaded virtuosic violin covers to YouTube and other streaming platforms. Finally, some compilation albums such as 30 Favorite Classics of Praise & Worship Instrumentals contain orchestrated instrumental versions designed for meditative worship.
Similar Songs and Hymns to Enjoy
Other hymns praising God’s greatness
Here are some other popular hymns that extol God’s power, majesty, and glory:
Songs in the same key of G major
Here are some other hymns and worship songs in the same key of G major as “What a Mighty God We Serve”:
Singing in the same key makes these songs easy to transition between during worship sets.
Hymns by the same author
“What a Mighty God We Serve” was written by Steven J. Curtis Chapman. Here are some other popular hymns and worship songs he has authored:
Chapman is a contemporary Christian singer-songwriter with over 20 albums. He has won numerous Grammy and Dove awards for his contributions to faith-based music.
Singing the worshipful lyrics of ‘What a Mighty God We Serve’ along with its uplifting chords and melody is a great way to praise God for his awe-inspiring power and love. This guide covers everything you need to know to play this hymn skillfully and passionately.
Keep these chords handy and enjoy glorifying God through this meaningful song.