These posts on songwriting are not written from a professional point of view. These are just my thoughts as I experience new aspects of the craft. The best part of these posts will be your input.
I've been writing worship songs for the last 8 years. For the most part, I have always been writing with a future CD/album project in mind. I've always, for the most part, considered the congregation in my writing above all else, but there was always that thought of the future project in front of me.
As I was approaching 2010, I was planning on doing a new full-length album with new songs I'd been writing. The only problem was I didn't have the money, so I decided with prayer to do an EP, which I'm really happy with. The EP is called "Kingdom EP". For the last few years, God has burdened me heavily to be more and more Kingdom-minded. Part of that is providing songs for the Church to sing. The EP represents six songs that have been embraced the most by my church and others. It was such a culmination of what God had been doing through my writing.
Since I did this project, I found myself writing more than ever this year, but with no future project planned. This has brought me to an exciting reality that I needed to be reminded of: I'm writing for the church, not a CD.
So, what does this mean?
First, it means that I'm refocusing on my first motivation for writing worship songs. When I first starting writing songs for the church, I wasn't sure if they would actually go over well. I certainly never expected to record them for an actual project, and I definitely never thought they would go outside the scope of the four walls of my church. I wrote them for my particular congregation, and I'll never forget how rewarding it felt to see and hear my church worshiping God with something I wrote. I'm getting back to the wonder of that.
Second, it means that I'm approaching the selection of the songs the same way I would for a project. When you record an album, it's important that you put not only your best songs on there, but the right songs for the project. This past couple of years, I've written well over 50 songs. Just like when I select songs for an album, I'm going through those songs and identifying the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then I start bringing out the appropriate songs for the appropriate times. I've recently brought out two songs. One was one that wrote a year ago and the other one I wrote two weeks ago. I've done the same thing for recording an album.
I have dreams and I have goals, when it comes to my music, and they are different. My dreams are like most artists' dreams. I would love to see a song or two be sung in churches all over the world. It would be cool to be with a label and travel and work with amazing producers....but that's not my goal. My goal is simple. It's to invest in the Church. I could obviously do that through my dreams, but that's not my present reality. God has placed me in a particular place to minister to a particular congregation. Anything that happens outside those walls will be because He opens those doors.
As a worship leader and song writer for the Church, I need to keep the big picture in mind. The big picture is the Church. The more I prioritize, invest and write for the Church, the more I'm living for something that will last forever.