My focus for the most recent 10 years, has been working with writers of today’s most popular church songs … those sung by congregations around the world on a weekly basis. And as unfortunate as it is, I’ve come to realize that too many Christians today learn or develop their theology from the songs they sing.
Christian Songwriter, did you hear what I said?! That puts a HUGE responsibility on you to write Biblically sound lyrics!
In the Hillsong book on songwriting entitled, Songs of Heaven, author Amanda Fergusson says it this way, “Worship songs and hymns are a powerful medium for teaching truth because they are memorable and so it is especially important to make sure that our songs are theologically sound.” She goes on to point out that Jesus spoke only what He heard the Father saying and that likewise, everything we say in our songs should be submitted to the Word of God.
Any songwriter that has ever worked with me can tell you how much I stress the importance of the lyric in a Christian song. Yes, from a creative and commercial standpoint (as you will note from many of my blog posts), but even moreso from a theological standpoint. As a matter of fact, in a songwriting mentorship session just this week I pointed out to a student that we need not ask God to do what He has already done. Instead, we should thank Him, or rejoice in, explain or proclaim, what He has done.
Songwriter Joel Houston, from Hillsong Church said it this way, “I want everything I write to be based in Scripture, even if it is a prayer. I want to make sure that every line has biblical substance and integrity. That doesn’t mean that it has to be word for word Scripture, but the tenor of my thought has to line up with the tenor of the Word of God.”
Songwriter Jennie Riddle, writer of REVELATION SONG, once told me that when we write worship songs we are putting, “words on the lips of the Bride”. That’s what’s in Jennie’s mind when she writes songs that the Bride of Christ is going to sing.
How often we forget that the Word of God is living and active. We have the ability to put the most powerful words ever spoken into song. Don’t let your lyrics take the back seat … ever. If you’re more of a “music person” or a “track person”, then by all means find a “lyric person” to partner with you in your songwriting. Please don’t simply throw something together lyrically because it sounds right, or sings well, or rhymes, or because you’ve “heard it said before”. Always remember the responsibility we have as Christian songwriters to tell the Truth!