I grew up in a house where music did not have an ethnicity, age... it was Kingdom music. At any given time you might hear, Shirley Caeser, Amy Grant, Vicki Winans, or Sandi Patty. Back then, it didn't matter to me if a song was classified as Gospel or Contemporary Christian, I was captivated by the lyrics and how they made me feel.
I say, "Kingdom Music," because at the end of the day, what we sing and write should be to build the Kingdom of God. One genre is not better than the other when we concern ourselves with the message.
Folks will often approach me and talk about the songs swimming in their head and many express not feeling, "good enough," to write their own songs. I wanted to start this songwriter series to share how I write my songs as well as to encourage you to dive into the depths of your heart and do the same.
+Fighting Fear? Read: LET YOUR FAITH BE LOUDER THAN YOUR DOUBT!
I actually wrote my first song when I was in 10th grade for a boyfriend of mine. The song was called, "Make You Surrender," (as if I knew anything about Surrender at 15, smh) and It was for Valentine's Day. I wanted to give him something special, lol. I wrote the song and a local DJ recorded me singing it. I wasn't concerned with, "how good it was," I thought it was great because it came from my heart. Once I gave him the song on a cassette tape, I had friends duplicate it and some listened to it like I was the next Mariah Carey.
I say that not to spotlight my young days of being a songwriter, but to show that writing a song from the heart is all that is necessary. It's a heart cry. Here is the thing, anyone can write a song. Will every song make it to radio? No, not necessarily. Will every song you write be sung by your praise and worship team? Maybe not. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't write.
If you're wondering if you should write worship songs, here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Are You Writing to Glorify God or Yourself?
Listen, 1 Peter 5:6 says, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." If you have a passion for writing music for the Kingdom, it's important to check your motives at the door. If you find that you are writing music so your name will be great, you are doing it for the wrong reason. Everything, absolutely, everything that we do should be to build the Kingdom.
2. Do You Find Yourself Rearranging Songs Already in Existence?
This isn't a prerequisite, but before I actually sat down and committed to writing a song, I found myself constantly rearranging songs that were in existence. I was leading praise and worship and would change songs to speak to whatever was happening at the time in our church or even in my life.
As one of the praise and worship leaders I would be thinking about Sunday morning service throughout the week. Worship service consumed my life, lol. I would rehash sermons my pastor was preaching and ponder on songs that would fit the current move and flow of our church. I found that some songs hit the mark immediately, other didn't and I worked to change them.
Soon, I became disenchanted with singing other people's songs and really had a desire to write what was in my heart.
3. Is There A "Move" Happening In Your Church That Needs A Song?
Life happens in seasons and churches experience the same thing. There are moments of prosperity, lack, warfare, celebration, etc. Music is such an intricate part of a service in that it is used to convey and minister to all seasons.
What I have come to understand is that each church develops their own sense of family. With any family, there is always unique way of expressing things. Every pastor has his own way of interpreting and teaching the scripture. Sometimes, mainstream songs just won't do.
If you find yourself or your church in a season where there needs to be a specific song and you can't find one, maybe you should write one.
+Read: YOUR MINISTRY SHOULD SPARK A REACTION
4. Do You Find Yourself Already Writing Lyrics?
When I was finally asked to write and submit a song to the person who became my producer, I had already been writing songs for a while. I just didn't think they were good enough. I had a treasure trove of songs from over the years that were either finished and I didn't know what to do with them, or they were unfinished and I left them that way.
If you find that you are already writing lyrics, maybe you should explore putting in the work and writing a worship song.
5. Are You Willing to Put In Work?
In this series we will examine the writing and editing process as well as how to assemble a team in order to make a song great, but first, think about whether you are willing to put in the work. Contrary to what many people say, every song that is written is not easy. I have personally had the experience of writing a song in two minutes that took little revision, and I have had one that took me seven months to complete before I ever submitted it to anyone.
You have to be willing to do the work. From a spiritual standpoint that means developing a deeper relationship with God, studying His Word. On a personal level it means putting in the time that is needed to develop a song that will reach people.
6. Can You Handle the Weight/Wait?
I used "weight," and "wait," because both words mean something different and are both equally important.
Matthew 28:19 gives us the great commission to go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. There is a weight or responsibility that comes with what we do to fulfill a call or assignment on our life. Are you willing to carry the weight?
When it comes to waiting, sometimes God gives us an assignment so that we can prepare for it. In this journey you will find that once you write your song, you may be able to sing it right away. Other times, there will be a process of rewriting, revising, and rearranging the song. If you're like me and you're a singer/songwriter but you work with musicians for the actual music, this process may feel tedious. I can't tell you the number of times I have felt that a song was perfect only to realize that a line or two just didn't work when I started working with my musicians. Can you handle the wait?
This is the first in the Worship Songwriting Series and I am so excited that you are here reading this. I want to encourage you that if you have the desire to write for the King, I promise that it can some of the most fulfilling work you ever do. I thank God everyday that He has given me the ability and zeal to write just for Him.
So, please feel free to CHIME IN!
Have you thought about writing worship songs?
Do you feel like something is hindering your writing process?
The next blog will discuss the different types of Worship songs to consider in your writing journey.
Take Your Worship To the Next Level!
l am a little nerdy, a little quirky, a little glam, with a whole lot of personality! A wife with four children and a furry puppy, there is never a dull moment.