This is an open letter to worship songwriters, from the ones that make a living writing worship songs to those that are just starting to write, and everyone in between.
PLEASE STOP regurgitating what’s already been said in a hundred other worship songs. We don’t need another song that says the same thing as “How Great is Our God”, “Mighty to Save”, and “You Never Let Go”. Write something fresh.
PLEASE STOP using the same chord progressions (i.e. A – E – F#m – D). Try something new and exciting. It’s okay to explore.
PLEASE STOP writing about things you haven’t experienced personally. Write out of your own experiences with the Lord and out of deep convictions of your faith. If you don’t like to dance during worship, you probably shouldn’t write choruses that say, “Dance, dance, dance before the Lord!”
PLEASE STOP writing songs with the goal of getting it on the top 25 list on CCLI. It’s an oxymoron to write “worship” songs with the motive of wanting the song to be popular and/or get radio play. If it’s truly a worship song, then it shouldn’t matter if anyone ever hears it. It’s your worship to the Lord.
PLEASE STOP writing feel-good love songs that have no way of distinguishing themselves from secular love songs on the radio. If you’re writing about your love relationship with God, the creator of the universe, it should sound different than someone writing a song to his girlfriend.
PLEASE STOP watering down the gospel in your songs. If your songs have deep theological truths and communicate the gospel clearly without compromise, expect them to be offensive to non-Christians (and even some Christians). Proclaim the Truth of God in a powerful, but creative way. That’s what we need more of, not touchy-feely/Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs.
PLEASE STOP trying to be the next Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Paul Baloche, John Mark McMillan, David Crowder Band, Kari Jobe, Hillsong, etc. You will be accountable to God for who He called YOU to be, not who he called Tomlin or Redman to be.
Be yourself. Use the uniqueness God gave you. Use your own creativity. Write for God and God only, out of the place of intimacy with Jesus. Don’t let dollar signs or the spotlight blind you and fool you into thinking it’s okay to write worship songs to make your own name famous. God is NOT okay with that. Either do it all for Jesus or all for yourself.
In the words of a wise old Jedi…“Do or do not; there is no try.”
– Wisdom Moon
Question for discussion: What are some fresh and creative ways that you approach songwriting for worship and do any of these “please stops” resonate with you? Do any of them get under your skin? Do any of them challenge you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!