This article was originally published in Inside Worship Magazine.
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I want to encourage leaders to find a new expression and a new fragrance and a new passion from the realization of the brokenness around us. It will unlock a depth of intercession and heart cry that I believe is integral to the expression of worship, and God ends up looking awesome. Pursue that aspect of worship and have passion and integrity in your songwriting.
From The Gut
Songwriters – I would strongly encourage, however it works in your lifestyle, to dig from the deepest place of your guts when you write, because that’s what God seeks. He seeks truth. He seeks honesty and vulnerability, anchored to theological truth. When theology is married to the reality of life, you get powerful, powerful songs. In great hymns like “It Is Well With My Soul,” it is the wrestle of pain that bleeds through the truth of the theology.
The Marriage Of Conflict And Praise
The root system of all modern forms of music, as far as musicologists tell us, is the Black Negro spirituals from the southern United States. I believe they are the best modern examples of Psalms that we have historically (“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen/Glory Hallelujah!”). Conflict and praise, usually found in tension, are here married together and there’s deep truth that resonates in the lyric and the melody. I’m not saying laments are the only songs that come from that deep place of truth, because there are some modern songs that draw from the same well.
Anchor In Objective Truth
As songwriters, draw from the well and anchor what you write in objective truth. If you only ever pull from your subjective experience, things can go wacky. The temptation is great for those songwriters who have a real craft and a real ability. If you’re not careful you can build a good table, or build a nice house, and it might do very well. But, what the Church is truly longing for, and the sound the world will respond to, is that real heart’s cry.