Let’s face it, what worship leader/songwriter hasn’t thought of writing a great worship anthem that resonates with fellow worshipers all around the world? I believe that God has put in us an innate desire to create music that helps others express worship to our worthy God. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to offer up songs that a lot of people can use to express their worship, but I want to challenge you worship songwriters to start at square one (or maybe two if you count your own times of worship when it’s just you and God).
Tomlin, Wesley, Redman, Watts, Maher, Baloche, Zschech, Crosby, Townsend, Getty – these are all songwriters of renown in our world. God has blessed them with songs that have great reach. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. But something I want you to think about today as you write songs for worship is home.
Where do you call home? Where do you serve? Where are your people?
When you write a song do you visualize them worshiping? Do you see their hearts and faces lifted in praise and worship as you craft your songs? Serve your people first and foremost. Before any thoughts of worldwide impact. Before sharing your song with the masses on youtube, check your heart and see if you’re writing for right where you are.
Some would say that this approach is too simple, but I say it’s the best approach to START from. You’ve got to write from your heart in a scripturally sound manner, of course, but you don’t want to be writing for the “hit” worship song. Put the radio out of your mind and take up the mantle of serving your faith family.
- Are there areas of teaching your leadership is focusing on? Can you reinforce that with a song?
- Are there children in your faith family who love to praise and worship through music? Can you craft some songs for them?
- Do you have youth who are learning and exploring their potential in music? Can you come alongside them and help them learn to write?
- Are there older folks in your congregation who love the old familiar classics? Can you arrange them in a reverent, modern fashion? Can you write some of the old refrains into new treatments? Can you add a modern tag or bridge to the old classics to give them a breath of fresh air?
- Do you get together with other musicians and writers to “hear the heartbeat” of the worship leaders in your community?
These are just some starting places to spring from. If you have dreams of “reaching the world” with your songwriting, keep dreaming and going after those dreams! But, make sure that you start right where you are! Write for your family!
Be faithful in the things that are staring you right in the face that might not seem like big things!!
Russ Hutto is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.