"Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy" (Ps. 33:3, NLT).
Finding the time to write new music can be challenging with busy schedules and all of the preparation that goes into being ready for worship every Sunday, but it can be extremely rewarding to produce songs that are unique to your own church and team. Here are a few reasons why.
It Gives Authenticity
If you listen to music produced by different church worship teams, you will notice that they each have their own style. Sometimes you can tell which worship band is playing before they even start singing by the style of their music. Every local church has their own uniqueness, and a great way to celebrate that authenticity is to create music that reflects it. By writing your own songs, you can give wings to the distinctive qualities of your particular ministry and not just sing what every other church is singing.
It Supports the Message
Writing new songs can be a wonderful way to help empower the pathway that your church is on. Each church body has its own series of messages, year-long theme, or passage of Scripture they are focusing on for a season. It's great to find a song that goes right with that message, but often there isn't one that really fits.
When I first started going to my church 10 years ago, they were in the middle of a year-long theme called "Moving Forward." Fortunately, there was a song already produced by a well-known worship team with the same title and message as the theme that our church worship team would sing sometimes. When they did, it really helped to cement the message that we were all focusing on. That song helped lay the foundation for what our pastor was teaching us.
A few years back, I was asked to lead worship for a community event. When I heard the theme for that meeting, the Lord impressed on me a song to write for that special service. It took more practice than usual to teach it to the team I brought together for the event, but it was really worth it! As a worship team, we were able to prepare the way for the speaker who was ministering at a level that other ordinary songs couldn't. Why was this? The specific song was a "now song" for that event, and it helped release a "now word" through music that tied into the theme of that event. Our team received great feedback about the song and how well it supported the service.
It Spurns Creativity
You will never know how creative the people on your team might be until you tap into that resource. You may even have team members who have already been writing music that you can use or get permission to modify their songs to use in your church. As a songwriter myself, at any time I have 10-30 songs that I have started writing but for one reason or another, never really finished or couldn't find that last part. Maybe that half-finished song is something that your team can help complete.
Once you start writing as a team, it will likely develop a creative flow as you brainstorm music together, and you will find individuals in the group coming up with all kinds of new song ideas! We serve a very creative God, and He would love for us to pick up our pens and instruments and allow that "download" of music and lyrics from the throne room to happen.
Writing Your Own Music Builds Community
Creating worship music together can be a great team-building exercise. This is especially true if more than just a few people are allowed to be involved in the process. There's nothing more satisfying than when a song really comes together and hits that sweet spot; and it's even greater when your team can look at each other and know that you all designed it together.
"He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord" (Ps. 40:3a, NLT).
So plan that first song-writing session. Don't try to do it during your regular practice times, you don't want to be unprepared for the next service. Find a time when most of the songwriters can be there for a few hours, and give them ideas ahead of time so they can each have some thoughts to bring to the table. One person's idea could spurn someone else's creative gift into action, and it can result in a great song. If you find that several people have different ideas for one song, try each person's idea and decide together. Who knows, you may write a song that takes your church into some really amazing times of worship!
It's time to turn our worship sessions into worship encounters that tie into the central theme of what God is saying through our pastor's message each Sunday. Is your pastor on a long series of messages? Why not write a song to go with the theme? Find the real heart of what the pastor is saying through that series and come together as a team to craft some worship surrounding that. If your church has a certain Scripture it is declaring or believing for this year, why not write a song based on that verse or passage? Your lyrics may help people not only remember the Scripture, but they will be singing it during the week, reminding them of that biblical focus throughout the week and not just on Sundays.
Cathy Sanders has been involved with music for over 27 years. She is an anointed worship leader and psalmist who regularly leads worship for community and church events. She has produced three albums, and her music was played on the radio for over six years in the northeast. She is also a prolific writer who has authored/coauthored five books. Cathy carries masters and doctorate degrees in Christian education, graduating with honors. Cathy and her husband, Andy, reside in New York with their two teenage children.
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