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Do We Really Need Homegrown Worship Songs?

I’ve been a songwriter since I started playing guitar.  I love it, but when I became worship pastor, a dilemma arose.  If I have the choice to lead with a song that I have written or Chris Tomlin has written, if I defer to quality, we would always play Mr. Tomlin.  I love his songs, and our people love singing them.

So do we really need homegrown worship songs?  Do local churches need songs written from within that context?  I think so.  Even if certain songs may have a greater musical quality, certain local songs can have greater spiritual sincerity.  Don’t get me wrong.  Songs that Chris Tomlin or Hillsong or Phil Wickham writes can and should be used by the Body of Christ as a whole, but I am starting to realize that God has unique expressions for specific congregations.

Sometimes God is doing something specific in a congregation that requires a specific song.  The Scripture says that God “put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” (Ps 40:3).  The short answer to why is that a new mercy deserves a new song.  While “Amazing Grace” is a timeless expression of God’s forgiveness that should be used in the Church, there are other expressions we should utilize as well.

With all that being said, I have been doing some songwriting as of late.  I have written a bunch this week.  God has been so faithful to our church over these last years.  We have been seeing Him move in some mighty ways.  And new mercies deserve new songs.

So where did I start?  With this verse here:

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).

Did you catch the theological and practical implications of that verse?  We are called to let God’s Word well up in our souls and we should teach each other those biblical truths through song.  Why?  Because it’s easier to remember a truth set to a tune – that simple!  In songwriting, I have studied Scripture on the truths that our church has been experiencing or upcoming teaching emphases in order to make those biblical truths memorable and portable.  I had Jeff proof the lyrics to make sure in an attempt to work a song musically and lyrically, I did not neglect the theology.

I narrowed down about 25 ideas to focus on 10 songs that I have been trying to finalize this week.  A couple are new renditions of some of my old ideas that needed some tweaking.  Some have been birthed within the week.  I am continuing to pray about when and how to use these songs.

One song, “No Greater Love,” I shared with the week’s worship team last night.  They were so helpful to encourage and help work out kinks.  We are planning on using that one on Valentine’s Day on Sunday morning.  It’s just a simple expression of gratitude to a great Savior.  Why did I need to write it?  Because lives are being changed around this place.

And a new mercy deserves a new song.