How to Write a Worship Song (In 5 Minutes or Less)


Hilariously, painfully, sadly accurate. There’s a reason I avoid K-LOVE like the plague.

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9 thoughts on “How to Write a Worship Song (In 5 Minutes or Less)”

  1. Nevertheless, none of the lyrics sung at the end of the video AREN’T true.
    Sure, I’m among the ranks of those that get fed up with the general flavor of Christian music. People have done that over the centuries… Isaac Watts, who lived in the 16-1700s, complained of the dull and lifeless songs they sang at church. Someone, his brother I think, prompted him to write his own worship songs if he was that fed up.
    He did. And he is the author of many famous hymns now, like Am I A Soldier Of The Cross and Joy To The World.
    He didn’t just sit around complaining about it. He did something.
    If unimaginative musicians who have a heart for the Lord are all we have in the Christian music industry, then so be it. But if there are skilled and out-of-the-box people who can write better songs… where are they?

    1. With regards to your last question, here are a few:
      – Josh Garrels
      – the Grey Havens
      – Andrew Peterson
      – Nathan Clark George
      – Christa Wells
      – Sara Groves
      – Matthew Smith
      – Sandra McCracken
      – Shai Linne
      – Lecrae

      “Nevertheless, none of the lyrics sung at the end of the video AREN’T true.” The issue, I think, is more about how such truth is expressed in our music. Christians should be the most creative people on the planet; our imaginations should, as Schaeffer put it, “fly beyond the stars.” If our imaginations are stuck in the mud, well, then we should probably get that checked out. :) I think the shallow banality of CCM is a reflection of the shallow banality of modern evangelical theology. There’s no richness, no vibrancy to it. I’ll quote Schaeffer again, simply because he had so much to say about Christians and art. Speaking of Bach, he wrote,

      Bach consciously related both the form and the words of his music to biblical truth. Out of the biblical context came a rich combination of music and words and a diversity of unity. This rested on the fact that the Bible gives unity to the universal and the particulars, and therefore the particulars have meaning. Expressed musically, there can be endless variety and diversity without chaos. There is variety yet resolution.

      That’s what we should we shooting for.

      1. A few more to add to your list:
        -Gungor
        -Lovelite
        -All Sons and Daughters
        -David Crowder
        -The Digital Age

        I do find it sad for the modern Christian, though, that it’s so difficult for us to find excellence in music that lifts up our God, or even anything more then “sub par”. I’m excited to see this video taking off the way it has, because maybe in our own way, we’ll be able to help inspire musicians (like myself) to really give it their all when writing songs about, and to God. He deserves more than a simplistic “worship song formula” following ditty, he deserves the very best that humanity has to give.

  2. It’s also sad because, lyrics aside, we miss so many opportunities for musically-interesting ideas in worship. The augmented chord sounds too country-western, the 7th chord sounds too hymn-like, the half-diminished chord sounds too jazzish, the Lydian chord sounds too…wait, what’s that? And so forth. It’s sad. One of the things we like to try to do on our worship team is to beef songs up harmonically, or else change them harmonically just so they don’t sound so identical to each other. This can help an anemic song and can help even a classic and dynamic hymn to hit new peaks.
    I think it must be like being an oil painter, but only having two colors from which to choose.

  3. I got such a kick out of this video. :D It’s all very true, and it’s easy to point the finger at people and say, “Make something creative already!” but unless you’ve actually sat down at a piano or with a guitar and had a go at it yourself, writing something that hasn’t already been done is actually rather difficult. (I’ve been at the piano trying to do so for the last hour) Ecclesiastes also says “there is nothing new under the sun”. I think that we just have so much variety today that, like being at a smorgasbord, you are suddenly not hungry because there is too much to choose from.

    That being said, it matters more to God the heart with which we bring praise and worship. As the woman who threw in her two mites gave more than all the rich men, it means more to God if someone played a clichéd praise song with a heart full to worship their Saviour than a well ordered, creatively intricate melody from a cold heart.

  4. I wasn’t too sure whether this was parody or real… and frankly, I was a bit too frightened to click on the the youtube link to find out: for fear of what I might find.

    On a more awkward note, while I was watching this, I couldn’t help but think that if Jeff Goldblum’s daughter married Steve Zahn, this young man might be the progeny. Hope that didn’t send too many chills up and down the spine of a cheap paperback.

    At any rate, always good to read your blog, dear brother. Thanks for your prayers, There’s been a sudden turn in my health (for the better). Will be positing about that soon. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you.

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