Monday, June 25, 2012

Songwriting In Worship

When it comes to the journey of songwriting, there are a few paths to travel.  In all honesty, HOW we write music is as important as WHAT we write, especially when it comes to “worship music.”  The term “worship music” describes music written specifically for the use of congregational worship.  There are many schools of thought on the technical aspect of worship songwriting.  Songwriters understand meter, rhyme, and imagery of their songs, and that’s cool.  At the same time, do worship songwriters understand songwriting within the act (or lifestyle) worship?  Of course, I’m asking myself the same question here.

Often times, I think of King David’s psalms.  Since David was a “man after God’s own heart,” I’m convinced he did not think things like “what can I write that best expresses the heart of the congregation?”  I’m pretty sure he did not concern himself with rocking the music business boat, motivating hearers to follow his vision, or ensuring his lyrics were theologically sound.  David wrote out of the overflow of worship.  This overflow of worship began with an active seeking of God’s heart.  As a result, his psalms prophesied about Jesus the Messiah centuries before he was born according to the Prophets.  In essence, David sang what God spoke.  Isn’t that POWERFUL?!?!

In a general sense, every songwriter writes as a result of worshiping someone or something.  What does this mean to us worship songwriters today?  Out of what overflow do our lyrics come?  What is God speaking?  How much prophecy flows from us when we worship?  How much of God’s heart flows from us when we worship?  Of course, these are simply reflective questions.

I’d love to hear from you.  Where are you in your songwriting journey?  How much does worship precede your songwriting?  How can we pray for you in your songwriting journey?

UPDATE:  To clarify more regarding the meaning behind the term "worship music," genre should not be a factor.  Going back to King David, when he wrote the psalms from the overflow of his heart, he also wrote according to his culture.  Same applies here.  When songwriters write worship music from the overflow of their moments with God, they also write from their culture.  So if your culture is jazz, write worship music in the jazz culture.  So, feel free to write songs in the music culture you're currently in.  Don't worry about trying to sound like Christian radio or the well-known worship artists.  In many cases, culture plays a big role in music.

We'd still love to hear from you!  So, please provide some feedback so the group will grow according to the needs of the group.  Blessings!

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