Do you ever wonder how the mega-church ministries like Bethel, Hillsong, and Gateway have built powerful songwriting cultures into their ministries which are impacting worship globally, even far beyond their church? Do you long for a stronger creative community around you to share your ideas, songs, & inspirations, but just don’t know where to start? Do you read about the deep worship experiences people seem to be having in small creative communities and feel a little left out?
Well, if any of that’s you and you dream of impacting the world with your songs like the big ministries do, look no further! Here are five easy ways you can begin to build a songwriting culture in your church, no matter the size, and no matter if you’re a beginning songwriter yourself. All it takes is a little leadership creativity on your part to see great things begin to happen!
First, start talking about it. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that, “Without a vision, the people perish…” Other translations say, “run amok,” or even “go without.” When there’s no one talking about all the great things that come out of having a songwriting culture, no one “gets a vision” for it and everyone “goes without” the benefits, right? So, start talking about how cool it would be for you and your team to write songs out of your pastor’s sermons, or for special occasions, or to strengthen the impact of an entire sermon series. Before you know it, people around you begin to “catch” the vision and join you in imagining what the benefits could be for you and your team to be expressing the heartbeat of your church in fresh, new songs.
Secondly, gather some resources. It’s one thing to talk and another to take action. You’re already taking action by reading this post, so pat yourself on the back and start digging for some more resources to share with the team, your pastor, and anyone who might be interested. You can start with the blogs here and the great ones over at nashvillechristiansongwriters.com. Go to Youtube and search for worship songwriting videos. Do anything you can to build your case and then start sharing those links with the people you hope to influence towards this creative community.
Thirdly, start a private or closed group on Facebook for your new community. Why not go ahead and act as if you’re creative community is up and running already? What if you started inviting people on your team (and maybe even outside) to join and to post their songs or resources they’re discovering? You could link articles, videos, songs, and just about anything that fed the creative atmosphere and, before you know, people are getting excited and jumping in to share their own brand of creativity. A little bit of attention goes a long way when people feel they’re being valued for their creativity, too.
Fourthly, ask your pastor to participate. There’s nothing quite like getting the blessing and participation of your pastor, if possible. At least ask. How cool would it be for the pastor to know you and the team are actively supporting and praying for him or her? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have them post their sermon ideas and series ideas in the group for you to be praying about and writing towards? Anything you can do to show love, unity, and support for your pastor(s) will go a long way. Inviting their participation in the creative community is a wonderful step towards powerful spiritual renewal and creative output.
Fifth, get some coaching. Whether it comes from your pastor or an elder, deacon, or professional songwriting coach, fanning the flames of creativity works better when someone’s speaking into your life, too. After all, you have your own battles and offering extra leadership always makes you a target for the enemy, so getting some spiritual and practical backup is important. Utilizing a songwriting series or a boot camp for your team will bring exponential results, but the point is always to be looking for coaches beyond your level to help you keep reaching for bigger and better things. We offer excellent boot camp experiences for church songwriting teams & praise teams, so be sure to check us out at nashvillechristiansongwriters.com. But whatever you do, get some help through coaching.
There you have it. Five easy ways to build a songwriting culture in your church, even if you’re a new songwriter, too. In fact, you only have to be a little further down a road to help others see the way, so you’re probably more equipped for this than you think. Follow these five easy steps and give it some time. Bet you’ll be amazed in just a few months what’s happened and who knows… someday we might be saying the name of your church right along with Bethel, Hillsong, and Gateway. Happy songwriting!
John Chisum is a 30+ year music industry veteran & now Managing Partner of Nashville Christian Songwriters. NCS exists “to empower Christian songwriters worldwide” & offers a range of song critique & coaching resources designed to empower you. For more information, visit them at nashvillechristiansongwriters.com.