Songwriting as Servanthood
By Pastor Scott Flaten
Writing worship songs is a lofty goal. Just think about it-you’re creating melodies, harmonies, and writing lyrics with which people will use to connect with Jesus. People’s lives can be changed because a song helped them connect with God in a new way.
Songwriting for worship is not just coming up with a cool song or arrangement that will sell. It’s serving. Serving your pastor, your local church, and the greater body of Christ. It’s keeping the needs of your audience in mind, as well as expressing your heart to the Lord.
Serving in worship songwriting means that we:
1. Write songs that are easy to learn. I love listening to worship artists that are pushing the level of excellence in worship music. But remember that most churches are working with volunteer worship teams who carve out rehearsal times into their schedules. Writing songs that challenge them musically is good…doing songs that overwhelm them is not good.
2. Write songs that are easy to sing. It’s unfortunate that many of today’s worship songs are written in keys that are too high for your average guy to sing, and too low for your average lady. What happens when people can’t sing your song, is that that stop singing! Then worship becomes a spectator event instead of a participatory event. Try to write songs that are accessible to everyone vocally.
3. Keep it simple. Lyrically, stick to one main theme. Musically, keep the needs of your team in mind. If you’ve got a team that can bang out the latest Israel Houghton song with no problem, feel free to write as complex songs (musically) as you want. But for the rest of us, keep your songs simple.
Remember that serving is the highest priority when it comes to writing worship songs. If you’re song showcases your great voice, but leaves your congregation in “concert” mode, perhaps it’s time for a re-write.
Let’s pray and be diligent in our craft of worship songwriting!