Learning to Write a Congregational Worship Song
I used to think it was the hardest type of song to write.
When I started to explore the realm of songwriting when I was 14 years old, my natural inclination was to express what was on my heart in the flow of my heart, & in any way that I wanted to. Learning to unleash my unique artistic sound was a necessary & exciting stage in my development as a songwriter. My songs were generally full of stories, life lessons & passions written with a pop/folk influence, & I loved how a song could release the ponderings of the heart into a tangible form that others could capture & make their own.
As the Lord continued to raise me up in my calling in praise & worship, He deepened a desire for me to not just write songs for myself but to learn to tune into the desires of a PEOPLE & to give them a song to sing. As exciting as this new commission was, I was facing just one problem: I suddenly had a fear that I would not be able to fully express my view in a unique artistic manner anymore. I suddenly saw parameters, almost felt restricted & hindered by the boundaries of writing a worship song. Generally, there’s a few guiding points to follow when writing a congregational worship song that is different to when you’re writing for yourself:
- Describe an unchanging biblical truth about God BUT
- …in a way that’s unique so that your song isn’t exactly like thousands of other worship songs. It’s supposed to be fresh.)
- Melodically easy to catch so it’s easy for a congregation to sing
- Prophetic - you want to capture what God is saying NOW in this season
The Lord had to do a work in me to remove the lens of seeing these pointers as restrictions. It was when I learnt to take ownership & believe in my call as a worship leader & songwriter that the mental blocks I saw as ‘artistic restrictions’ were completely smashed & torn down. The Lord instead unveiled a deep well of unlimited revelations from the heart of the Father - all seeds to write powerful worship songs. I learnt that there were no ‘restrictions’ to writing worship songs when we are in fellowship with Him as He is the giver of all & unlimited songs!
Two additional pointers I’ve learnt from my journey?
- Good congregational worship songs are REVELATION-BASED. When writing worship songs, the most powerful ones are those that are written when the truth of God hits not only your head, but your heart! There is a difference between just a beautifully crafted song & a beautifully crafted AND Spirit-breathed song.
- It is a joy & honour to SERVE people by writing songs for them to worship God with! The pointers serve to guide & help us to achieve that purpose.
I pray this helps you in your worship songwriting journey!