Aside from the obvious, how is a worship song different from say, an artist song? Well for starters, it needs to be easy to learn – simple, repetitive and predictable. Not so predictable that it’s boring, but predictable enough that it’s easy to learn on the first go-round so the worship service doesn’t become an exercise of learning, or even frustration. And not so simple that lyrically it says nothing of value. Not such an easy task. At first glance, simple, repetitive and predictable might sound anti-creative to the songwriter. But it actually takes great skill to craft a good song with these qualities.
Mark Twain once said, “My books are water. Those of the great geniuses are wine. Everybody drinks water.” When you’re writing congregational songs, you’re writing songs to be sung together by the general population, many of whom do not have sophisticated musical training. Don’t let the cultivated tastes of your trained musicianship get in the way of creating a song that the average person can appreciate and sing.