In an effort to encourage Psalm-singing, Church of the Servant invites congregational songwriters to submit a Psalm-based song to the 2020 COS New Psalm Contest.

The first place winner will receive a $500 award; the second place winner will receive a $200 award. There is no entry fee and the contest is open to all. Submissions must be emailed or postmarked by October 1, 2020. The winning songs will be premiered in worship on January 31, 2021.

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.


  • 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 or choir, 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, strings, winds, folk instruments, 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 are strongly encouraged. Multi-page full scores are acceptable, but please include in your submission a version that is no longer than two pages.
  • Texts in languages other than English are welcome but must include a singable, English translation.
  • Texts for re-tuned hymns must be public domain or include statement of author’s permission. Newly authored texts must, at minimum, include a tune suggestion. Please note that new texts and newly composed tunes are given greater consideration than new texts set to known tunes.
  • We require the use of gender-neutral language for people (“human” instead of “man,” avoiding “he” when referring to both genders, etc.)


  • 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.
  • 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  • Only unpublished songs that have received no awards may be submitted.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.
  • All submissions must be emailed or postmarked by October 1, 2020.


  • Submissions will be judged on their quality and usability at Church of the Servant.
  • $500 will be awarded to the first place entry; $200 to the second place. 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, 2020.
  • Premiere will take place in worship at Church of the Servant on January 31, 2021. The winning composer is welcome to attend, but travel funds are not available. Virtual attendance may be possible, depending on the form of worship at Church of the Servant in January of 2021. Winner grants Church of the Servant permission to post a recording of the premiere on its website.
  • In addition to the first ranked submissions, the judges will also make known other high-ranking submissions. Composers will be contacted before their information or submitted materials are made publicly 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 2020 New Psalm Contest, in memory of Ben Fackler.”

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

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

Read about and listen to winners from past contests…