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.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
5 thoughts on “Do We Really Need Homegrown Worship Songs?”
I cannot wait to hear the new song! I love praising God every Sunday with the worship team and love watching you just about jump off the stage!!! Your smile and love for God is contagious – if it is not then something is wrong with the person or persons. Don;t forget to email me a picture of Eli. Caroline wants to see him bad!! Give Obie a hug for me and please let him play the drums!! Does he have a set?
Travis I love your “homegrown” songs. While worshipping last hear I heard a couple of those songs and they spoke to my very soul of God’s Love. When planning my marriage, those were the songs that we selected because they were the essence of Love and Renewal. Thank you and your team for sharing the blessings that God brings through you. It would seem ungrateful not to share what He has and is giving. I look forward with expectancy for what lies ahead!
Travis, I am with you. I, too, fancy myself a songwriter and the ones written out of the pain of a hard lesson or the joy a special blessing have the most meaning. While I will never win any awards, I sometimes pop in the CD of ones I have recorded and I am instantly there in the midst of those emotions.
You’re a pretty good songwriter, by the way!
You know that I have always loved you songs. My favorites are from you first CD and will always bring encouragement my way. Love you man and have a Great day. MJ
“And a New Mercy deserves A New Song”…that one sentence spoke volumes to me – I believe that was inspired by God. God has truly blessed His people at North Side and He has been doing amazing things here. However, I believe with all my heart that the Best is yet to come. I believe God is getting ready to do things at North Side that we can’t even begin to imagine. You’re right…. Lives are being “changed” – for I am one that can testify to that. Who I was and who I’m becoming by surrendering my all to Christ, cannot be put into words.
I really appreciate what you’re doing with the music. I love the Contemporary but I truly miss the Traditional songs as well. I hope with what you and the Praise Team are doing we can have a “Marriage” of the two. So that all the people of North Side can praise God in One Accord – Standing United as One on His Word – Lifting up His Name…for He Alone is Worthy!
I pray for you and the Praise Team each and every night and above all else I pray that God’s will be done in our Church and in Our Lives as it is in Heaven.
Praise God for what He’s done, for what He’s doing and what He has planned for His glory here at North Side.
……When I Prayed, Mercy Poured Down On Me and I too was given a “New Song” – What an awesome God we all serve!
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