As a church that has felt the call to write our own worship music, I thought I’d share some of the insights that have led us in this direction. Before you read on, I want to stress two very important disclaimers:
1.) Never write for the purpose of your own self-glory and worldly gain. Songs are a window inside our hearts and should be used to express our response to the relationship that we have with Jesus. Don’t write for the radio; write for Jesus.
2.) It’s completely acceptable and commendable to use other songs outside of your own writing. Let's not be legalistic, remember that what is important is that we don’t get lazy in our giftedness and hoard it up.
Alright, here we go:
SING A NEW SONG
In Psalm 96, David declares “Oh sing to the Lord a NEW song; sing to the Lord, ALL the earth (emphasis mine).”
What does it mean to sing a new song? How does that apply to corporate worship? Do we have to sing a different song every week in our services? (I don’t recommend that by the way.) After giving those questions much thought, here’s what I feel God has confirmed to me: When we experience and encounter the one true God of all creation, we don’t give him a leftover offering. We give him the first fruits of our efforts. We don’t want to stand in the presence of God and say “Oh, here you go God, this is a song that Passion wrote 10 years ago based on how they felt called to respond to you.” Now again, please refer to Disclaimer #2. Singing other people’s songs is great. We do it all the time, but catch the point here. Shouldn’t we want to stand before God and give Him something shiny and new that has come from our heart? That very question leads into the next reason to write our own worship songs.
IT'S A RESPONSE
When we sing a new song to the Lord, it’s out of a response to what and who God is. Look back at Psalm 96, David is responding to who He had encountered God to be. Verses 2 & 3 say “Sing to the Lord, bless your name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.”
David is talking about all the amazing things that God has done, including His salvation. I don’t know about you but this excites me. I get pumped at the idea of being able to respond to what God has done for me in a new and fresh way. Writing is an opportunity for your church to respond in an intimate way to what God is doing in the lives of your congregation.
Closing out this point, let’s look at how the twenty-four elders RESPONDED to Jesus when they stood in His presence. Revelation 14:3 “and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders.”
WRITING CREATES UNITY
I’ve learned the strength of unity is an incredibly powerful result of writing. Here at our church, we have a songwriting team that focuses on writing the skeleton work of our worship songs. While that group has changed much over the past year, I’m starting to see new and refined fruit come from them. I believe it’s because they see the vision and have unified their efforts.
WRITING INVESTS FOR RETURN
Like in the parable of the talents, those entrusted with the talents can’t just sit on them. They were expected to return with interest. Just like our salvation, we should share and share and share so that more people return to Jesus. Think of our songs the same way; if God has entrusted us with words, a melody, and a tune, then that song should be returned with interest. We should give it back to Him with softened hearts and a facedown posture.
JESUS DERSERVES IT
If we believe that Jesus is God, the author of our salvation, then we know that Jesus deserves new songs about Him. In fact, this point is the most basic reason we should write our own songs. (Refer to Disclaimer #1.) Let me encourage you to dig deep and share how Jesus has redeemed the life of your church.
In closing, I want to challenge and inspire you and your congregation to sing a NEW song. When we give our best to God, I am confident we will see blessings in return for giving Him the first fruits of our labor.