One of the most powerful things we can do in our worship times is to declare the Word of God. God brings things into existence by first declaring them, and if we want to change the environment or anything for that matter, we need to do it using the Word of God.
Scripture worship songs are a great tool since they incorporate in a prophetic way the Word of God, allowing the church to proclaim it and declare it so that things are aligned with it.
Here are some tips and guidelines for writing this kind of song in an easy and simple way.
Why scripture worship songs?
Words that come out of our mouth are powerful, (the tongue has the power of life and death, Proverbs 18:21). This means that with our tongue we are able to edify, but at the same time, we are able to destroy. Just think about the words that have been spoken over our lives. Maybe they were words of affirmation that edified us, but also we have probably received words that put us down and that may be destroying us if we believed them.
If this power is in the tongue of any man, even of someone who doesn’t have God in their life, just imagine how powerful are God’s words when they are spoken over us, over His creation, or over situations. God’s words have the power to bring life where there is death. Think of the dry bones that we see in Ezekiel 37. God told the prophet to speak over them and they became a living army.
Declaring God’s Word in a prophetic way during our worship time allows us to shift the atmosphere. Words that are inspired by God are one of the most powerful things in the world. God created the whole universe by speaking his Word. Writing scripture worship songs is a tool to proclaim life over death, to proclaim God’s Kingdom, and to proclaim things that are to come.
How do we start?
Any time we are creating a piece of art, we need to start from one idea, or (in our case) with a revelation about scripture or a concept that we can find in the word of God. I wouldn’t suggest writing scripture worship songs without starting from a place of revelation, otherwise, our song will be meaningless and powerless. I believe authority and power come from the experience and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Here are some steps to follow in order to build our songs.
Find a topic that has had an impact on your life. Pick something you have experienced, or ask God for revelation about a scripture that you want to write about.
- Something I always say is that art needs to tell a story.
- What does the scripture talk about?
- We need to immerse ourselves in the topic. In what situations or circumstances would we share this topic? What are the outcomes of proclaiming these words?
- What feelings come up when we think of a situation we went through like the topic depicts? We need to bring out all that we have experienced or had a revelation about and then tell our story.
Once we have figured out what we want to say and what feelings we want to communicate in our story, we can start to express it artistically. Having a structure is good. Without structure, the message won’t reach the audience. I suggest determining the parts of the song not so much in detail but at least having a clear idea of where the song needs to go/its direction.
- Should there be a turning point in the story we are telling?
- Which emotions or concepts do we want to underline? This will determine the structure of our song.
Once we have set these ideas we can start to approach the writing process.
How do we put words and feelings into music? – My experience
When I did my School of Worship with an organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission), there was a one-week teaching on songwriting. During the school, we were asked to write scripture worship songs based on verses that were assigned to us. The first theme was: “sing a new song to the Lord.” Since I’m a drummer and percussionist, I had no experience in writing songs
I remember going to the piano and trying to put together a melody or a chord progression, but nothing worked. It wasn’t until the teacher asked me why I was trying to write a song using an instrument that I didn’t play that I realized I was approaching the creative process in the wrong way.
Here are some tips for a more fluid creative process and to avoid getting stuck.
- Gather all the feelings, meanings, and concepts that will be a part of the song. (As I mentioned in the previous paragraph).
- Determine what has to stand out in the song.
- Approach the writing in a way that belongs to you. Speak with a language that you relate to. Maybe start by singing a melody or by recreating a feeling with your instrument. Start with something that brings out the emotions that are in the song. In my case, I started by playing the rhythm and humming a melody. Describe the feelings, talk about the situation you faced, and allow feelings to emerge through the language you are familiar with. Then the song will start to come to life.
- Try to keep everything within a structure.
An example of a simple structure
- Verse 1: Start from your feelings, where did the story begin?
- Chorus: Emphasize the text and the concept of the scripture but without saying too much about it (maybe do the chorus just once)
- Verse 2: Go back to your feelings and talk a bit more about your experience
- Chorus: Emphasize the scripture
- Bridge: Turning point (How did the scripture change our life? Did God give you a promise? Talk about it and sing out His words.)
- Chorus: Emphasize the scripture again
Use simple rules of composition like:
- question and answer
- transposing our melody by lifting it up
- chord progressions
- Don’t give everything from the beginning
Maybe before going into the chorus we could change the feeling of the chords and do a Pre Chorus or a little instrumental that leads to the Chorus. This will underline the difference of feelings between the verse and the chorus.
Keep in mind this is an example of how to write scripture worship songs which are not complicated. There are many ways to elaborate a song, but this is not the purpose of this article. What I’m trying to underline is that every story or song needs structure, and we need to stir up our creativity to create it.
The purpose of this article is not to teach musical knowledge but to give a method to approach songwriting, especially when it comes to writing scripture worship songs. Finding our own language and artistic identity is key if we want to write with authenticity and communicate in a passionate way.
Searching for inspiration from God allows us to be ourselves and also to move with power guided by the Holy Spirit.
I wish you the best in your songwriting, that your songs will be powerful and will lead people to experience freedom and deliverance. Let’s proclaim His word through our songs and what we have heard in our intimate times with Him. Let’s proclaim it from the rooftops as it says in Luke 12:3.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. Feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below.
God bless you,
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