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Songwriting: Our Role In Our Church

Over the last few months, we’ve been writing pretty furiously to finish some of the new songs for this next album (which we record LIVE next Friday, Feb 25). And as we initially began to drill down on some of these songs at a recent songwriting ‘get-away’, Wade shared some powerful truths to remind us of our purpose in writing. And so now, I share them with you….

First off, our passion is writing for our church. It’s also our calling. And we LOVE the Church. And we love our church. So, that frames everything we do when writing music. It frames the “why” and the “how” and the “what.” And you always need a starting place when writing. You’ve got to know your audience. The most meaningful songs come when written out of something you’re passionate about. And when your starting place is the overflow of your heart and passion, it’s hard to become mechanical or formulaic in your songwriting. We consider that a good thing.

There’s 3 avenues we typically pursue when starting a song:

1) Adoration: Praise for who God is
2) Memorial: Thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness
3) Prophetic: Looking ahead at what the Lord will do

When we highlight these characteristics of God, we’re “magnifying” God. We try to serve as a magnifying glass, taking what we want to say about God’s nature, and bringing it close to our people…making his character clearer/bigger. This has to remain our focus.

We shouldn’t concern ourselves with being “timeless” when writing, but instead, “timely.” If we’re focused on being “timeless,” we’re showing a concern for ourselves, and not what the Lord may want to say. Above all, we cannot get distracted with writing an “awesome” song, but remain focused on writing for an awesome God. The Lord knows what his people need to know about his nature. And we want to help deliver on that. The Lord deserves our best offering of worship, and we want to deliver that to him.

So songwriters, especially worship leaders in a local church: You’re uniquely positioned to magnify God’s character to your local body in a way no one else can. What do your people need? What are you walking through as a church? What have you been through in the last year? Where are you headed? What does the Lord want to reveal about himself to your people? Let that be your starting place. Remain focused on building his Name, not your own, and your songs will not only glorify God, but also minister in great ways to your church.


8 Responses to “Songwriting: Our Role In Our Church”

  1. Awesome. I’m doing a songwriting retreat with my worship team in April. I think as worship leaders it’s easy for us to think “write the next worship hit” rather than what is God doing in our church? It’s so important to stay rooted in your local body of believers. Thanks guys.

  2. Jeffrey Johnson says:

    This blog couldn’t have come at better time. My worship team is headed on a songwriting get-away next week. I especially like the line about not being focused on writing an awesome song…instead we should focus on capturing how awesome God is through the songs. Great post!

  3. Jason P says:

    I agree with everyone else, awesome post! Very insightful and I think it’s great that you guys are being a resource. Thanks so much!

  4. Mike Gorrell says:

    Amen. I’m the worship leader at the Campus Crusade chapter at my university, and just did a blog post about worship music. Now I’m starting to get interested in writing music, which if done for the wrong reasons could be tragic. Thanks for your band’s wisdom! All glory be to our Father in heaven!!

  5. Andrew Kangas says:

    Giving it your best effort though, I believe, is admirable! (Colossians 3:23) I think God likes us working hard at writing great/timeless/awesome songs. God gave us the ability, not to squander it lazily, but to be diligent and invest and bring pleasure to those around us and to God.

    As David said when buying the field, “I will not give God that which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24)

    So, with that in mind, I say, write an awesome song. Focus on making it as good as you can. (but don’t get hung up on it)

    And do it to glorify God.

  6. Leonid Sun says:

    Amen to the mission at hand! Hallelujah to all the gifts given to this church and to the ministry. As David reaches out hearts and souls thru song writing and so are you guys, making God’s word more fresher than ever.

  7. Candace says:

    I really needed this. Thank you!!

  8. martin says:

    great way of writing songs, I have been writing a lot of songs, but i don’t think that my true insight for God is the one thing I’m not putting on the songs.
    how can i do that,
    i want to learn to write praise and worship kind of songs, but all i do is for people to know i have a song written. But what i really want is that the congregation can follow the song and not just know a song. can anyone help? pls. thanks so much.

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