A Message To Songwriters

 

A Message To Songwriters

In recent days, when I have listened to worship music, my historic convictions have been freshly reinforced.

(1) There is no shortage or need for more worship songs. We have them in abundance.

(2) There is, however, a drastic shortage of worship songs with compelling lyrics!!! 

Lyrics that are rich in poetry. 
Lyrics that are rich in theology. 
Lyrics that say the things I feel in my heart in a way that I would like to say them when I am face to face with Almighty God.
Lyrics that are as real, and as honest, and as vulnerable as the Psalms, and therefore as faith building as the Psalms, without veering toward escapism and denial.

There are just too many cliches. 
Too many songs circling the same ideas.
Too many lyrics that feel like well-constructed jingles for God, not heart-wrenchingly believable.
Too often in a musical wrapping and production format that does not reflect the lyrical content.

Therefore, this encouragement to worship songwriters ...

(1) Please become as convicted about your lyrics as Christianity has become convicted about production in recent years.

(2) Please avoid the temptation to write "glib" and "over the top" jingles for God on subject matter about which you have not had sufficient life experience.

(3) Please dig a little deeper into God's rich internal deposit to find your inner artist - observant, courageous, sober, careful, empathetic, poetic, and the list goes on. 

(4) Please counter balance the euphoric triumphalism of recent years with the kind of honesty, vulnerability and gutsy faith that is forged in the crucible of life.

(5) More than just finding find new words and phrases, please explore new subject matter, so that we do not continue building a library of songs that cover the same ideas over and over again.

(6) Please find a trusted friend who will give you honest feedback on your compositions, to keep you reaching for "gold".

Malcolm du Plessis

PS: Because of the priority in Christianity for high quality “production”, we have fallen into the culture of giving producers a percentage in a song for suggested tweaks. I would like to encourage that we build a culture of giving a lyric doctor a percentage for massaging a lyric into something special.