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.