ALL THE SAINTS – Live from the CentricWorship Retreat – No. 1

I don’t believe I’ve ever used by blog to promote projects that I’m working on, but this is one I’m very excited about and wanted to share with you.  Releasing March 11th!   Hope you enjoy…

In September of 2013 we invited 12 worship leaders to join us for our first ever worship retreat in the beautiful Methow Valley of Winthrop, Washington. It was to be a week of worship, refreshing and new friendships. Our retreat was filled with both tears and laughter as we dug into the Word of God each day and spent time in the presence of our Lord. By the end of the week, we had written 18 new songs and recorded 21 during our morning and evening worship times! This first EP is our way of sharing a small part of that experience with the world. Our prayer is that these new songs will assist you in your prayer and worship as you continue the journey with us, closer and closer to the heart of Jesus. – Steve Rice, Executive Producer / VP CentricWorship



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.

Message In A Bottle

At a recent retreat for indie artists and songwriters, I asked Hillsong writer, Mia Fieldes to teach on lyric writing. Her class entitled, Message In a Bottle, was quite inspiring and, I believe, helpful to the artists and writers attending.  She began her talk with this:

If a bottle washes up on the shore and you find an interesting message inside, it’s something quite special.   But if a bottle washes up without a message, it’s just trash.

Mia’s point of course, was that the music is your delivery vehicle for something really special, so don’t waste it.

You can find many helpful tools in this blog for lyric writing.  Check out blogs on Alliteration, ApostrophePersonification, Repetition, Anaphora and more, at the links provided or under the Lyric Writing category.

Abundance Of The Heart

If you work on your heart, and work on putting the right stuff in your heart, when you go to write a song, the good comes out.  Out of the abundance of the heart the pen writes. – Marty Sampson

Marty Sampson is a songwriter and a worship leader at the Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. He was one of original Hillsong United worship leaders. Marty Sampson was a former worship leader for United together. His last album with United was the 2011 release Aftermath [+Digital Booklet]Aftermath. He often leads worship at church and has continued his strong contributions for new Hillsong albums. Since his departure from United, he has kept working on his craft of songwriting. He also helps with the worship at Northern Beaches, a Hillsong extension service.