In an effort to encourage Psalm-singing, Church of the Servant invites congregational songwriters to submit a Psalm-based song to its 2015 COS New Psalm Contest. The winner will receive a $500 award. There is no entry fee and the contest is open to all. Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by October 1, 2015. The song will be premiered in worship on January 31, 2016. Church of the Servant is a Christian Reformed Church with a rich history of encouraging the arts in worship. Its worship is Reformed, liturgical, participatory, eclectic, and open to creative new worship expressions.

This contest is made possible by a generous donation in memory of  Ben Fackler, who loved all things musical.


  • A congregational song based on a Psalm or a significant portion of a Psalm.
  • Any musical style or lyrical form. Creativity is encouraged.
  • Settings may include solo, choir, readers, and instrumentalists, as long as the congregation is given a significant role. Available musicians include piano (no organ), choir, cantors/vocal soloists, a variety of advanced instrumentalists, string ensemble, Joyful Noise Orchestra (small orchestra), Guitarchestra (folk ensemble of guitars, fiddle, accordion, etc), and hand percussion.
  • Settings of less frequently sung Psalms are always encouraged.
  • Music submissions should be at minimum in lead sheet (melody, lyrics, chord symbols) or hymn (two staves, four parts) format. Fully notated accompaniment parts are encouraged, and MP3 demos can be helpful.  Multi-page full scores are acceptable, but please include in your submission a version that is no longer than two pages.
  • Texts without music will be considered, but should include tune suggestions.  New music for old texts (“re-tuned hymns”) will be considered, but the text must be public domain or include statement of author’s permission.


  • Submissions may be emailed as PDF attachments to or mailed to New Psalm Contest, Church of the Servant, 3835 Burton St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.
  • Do not print your name or identifying marks on the music itself. Instead, include all contact information in the body of the email or in a cover letter.
  • No more than two submissions per person.
  • The contest is open to everyone (except the judges).
  • Please do not resubmit songs entered in this contest previously.
  • Only unpublished songs that have received no awards may be submitted. If a song has been self-published (website, blog, etc.), please include link or information in cover letter.
  • If a submission is co-authored or uses copyrighted material, proof of permission must be included.
  • Submissions will not be returned. Please do not send original copies.
  • All submissions must be emailed or postmarked by October 1, 2015.


  • Submissions will be judged on their quality and usability at Church of the Servant.
  • $500 will be awarded the winner. Judges have the right to award no winner or divide the award money as they see fit.
  • Contest results will be made public by December 1, 2015.
  • Premiere will take place in worship at Church of the Servant on January 31, 2016. The winning composer is welcome to attend, but travel funds are not available.


  • Composer retains all rights to the song and is encouraged to seek publication.
  • All future dissemination of the song will include the phrase “Winner of the Church of the Servant 2015 New Psalm Contest, in memory of Ben Fackler.”
  • Winner grants Church of the Servant the right to use the song in its worship and publicize his/her name.

A printable PDF document of these contest guidelines is also available. Questions should be directed to Greg Scheer (; 616-956-7611).