Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If a Pastor could speak to Christian songwriters...

If I could speak to Christian songwriters, and particularly those who are worship song composers, this is what I would say.  If you are one of those, you get what you pay for with this advice, etc., etc. etc.  Take it for what it's worth, but take it from a man who is for you, your craft, and the content as it's used in the church today.

I offer three humble comments.

First, please write songs that are singable.  Not just in lyric (because supralapsarianism doesn't really have a catchy rhyme), but mostly I'm thinking about in music.  One of the struggles that I think most congregants struggle with is singing along to some of the more difficult melody lines.  That includes those that I call "octave songs," those that start low and then hit the octave above it.  Need an example? The current song-of-the-moment example is One Thing Remains (which I like and worship to personally).  Those kinds of more difficult melodies work in younger settings but are hard to grasp in the larger church and often when they're tried they struggle to connect.  So write songs that are singable.

Second, write just as many "We Songs" as "I Songs."  I'm for "I Songs."  I like confessing things to God where I lose focus on those around me and do business with Him.  But I also know that the Gospel of Jesus didn't just create a new person but a new people.  Therefore "We Songs" are crucial to the expressions of the church and reinforcing to the theology of the New Testament.

Lastly, the more closely you tie your lyrics to the text of the Bible, the more you help in the disciple-making process of the church.  I don't think you need to quote Scripture in the lyrics (although that's awesome if you can).  But tying lyrics to the text puts them in the memory of those who sing them.  So when you write about liberation from the body of death because of no condemnation, you're writing about the last part of Romans 7 and first part of Romans 8.  And when a congregant picks up the Bible and reads that part of the Bible, they think about your lyric.  And the next time they sing that song, they think about Romans 7-8.  See how that's wonderfully cyclical and reinforcing of the disciple-making process?  A close tie between text and lyric takes work, for sure.  It also comes from a heart that doesn't want to be a worship leader but a worship pastor, a person who pastors the church through the worship and music ministry.  That's a mindset shift for a lot of people but one that is so healthy for churches.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...


  1. "It also comes from a heart that doesn't want to be a worship leader but a worship pastor, a person who pastors the church through the worship and music ministry."

    You hit the nail on the head brother!

  2. So great Trent!

    I have been struggling with this as I try to come up with a melody for our summer camp song. It's different writing/singing something that works for my personal worship than writing/leading a song that engages church to praise/worship God. Hope all is well!