A quick look at the songs most often sung by the church at large, reveals that church worship leaders prefer to use songs that are born out of a true place of worship. For example, songs recorded by Hillsong are songs written specifically for use in their church worship services. Songs recorded by Chris Tomlin are written for the Passion ministry events that he’s involved in. The Vineyard songs that we sing, were first written for use in Vineyard church worship services. Songs recorded by Jesus Culture are songs used effectively in their ministry events. Matt Redman songs – written for Soul Survivor church and the Soul Survivor events in the early days, and later for the Passion events. Tim Hughes, Israel Houghton, Paul Baloche – all worship leaders at their home churches. Even worship songs recorded by major label CCM artists like Michael W. Smith, PC&D, Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant, etc. are all songs that were first written for, and used in, church worship services. The list goes on and on.
If we are the writer of a worship song and we can’t, or don’t, use the song in our own personal times of worship, then why would we expect others to use the song in their times of worship, individually or corporately? Only when the church body finds songs that are helpful for their times of worship, should we distribute the songs for broader use. But today, there are many young artists, bands and songwriters, who write “worship songs” for their own albums, which were never birthed in a moment of worship, nor have even been tried in the worship setting.
Writing worship songs must be approached differently than writing “artist” songs. Many of the same techniques used in the commercial market can, and should, apply to writing worship songs. After all, we want to craft them with the utmost excellence and skill. However, above all, worship songs must be authentic. And a legitimate worship song will only be born out of a life and attitude of worship, and most often out of an authentic setting of worship – either personal or corporate.