On this and other websites we have the opportunity to share original music with thousands of other musicians. This is really great -- one of the best features of the twenty-first century -- as long as we have the ability to create songs and find helpful people to accompany or record. You can even record yourself on a telephone with adequate quality to send over Facebook!
But there are lots of people in our congregations who have musical and artistic abilities of various sorts -- songwriting, poetry, visual arts, drama -- who have little opportunity or training to share and develop the gifts they have.
Example: A lady comes to me with a whole sheaf of songs and stubs of songs. I can tell right away it will take years to hone down her dense poetry and tune up her rhythmic cylinders so they all fire in sequence. What can I do with her? She has all this music in her, a music minister who is willing to mentor her, but no one else to hear her music!
A few years ago, I started a songwriter's fellowship, using basic concepts gleaned from a missionary who had taught Africans in the bush how to set Scripture to music. I reinforced this with music examples from all over the world, to arrive at some notions of what makes a song really work, so "composition" is something beyond just stringing out nice ideas until the urge goes away.
The Fellowship went for about a year, when I ran out of ideas. I've experienced some marvelous approaches to creative workshops, such as a time 80 of us took a Psalm and turned it into a powerful contemporary worship song, aided by a very competent and fast-thinking leader.
I really want to start a new Fellowship and make it a place where all, from raw beginner to experienced composer, young and old, can share their gifts, ideas and substance. There must be some here who have experience working with the creative genius which lies imbedded in many more people than we think. Who'd like to share their best ideas?