Another post reminded me of a discussion I had with 11 other worship leaders a year ago. Someone asked "how many of you have written new worship songs?" And nearly everyone raised their hand. Then he asked " how many of you are using those songs in your churches?" And no one raised a hand.
I am guilty of this as well. I can never quite bring myself to use one of my own songs in worship, because I worry that I am not clearly judging the song, it's quality, it's value to my church, etc.
How do you handle this? Does anyone else struggle with using their own songs?
I only use songs that I have written if they are on topic with the sermon (which doesn't happen very often since the songs I write tend to have very specific biblical content).
I never announce to the congregation when I am using an original song because it would seem to introduce too great of a potential for distraction during worship, but if anyone comes up afterward and asks about an original song I'll let them know.
Whenever I complete a song I always show it to at least a few trusted people, and now that I am attending seminary I try to show it to at least one or two of my professors for theological inspection. Also I've found it helpful to submit songs for critique at sites like this one just to see if complete strangers can understand whatever it is that I'm trying to communicate in a song (as opposed to people who know me).
You're right; there's always a potential for mixed motivation when it comes to using original songs in worship.
And even for those who believe that worship music should generally be on topic with the sermon there's a temptation to try too hard to find reasons to use our songs.
I suppose the bottom line is that we all need to humble ourselves and ask God what is truly the best way we should serve the congregations he has allowed us to lead...
Well said. Our guitar player is also our youth minister. He writes allot of songs and is very hesitant about sharing them because he is self consious of the fact that he wants God to be the focus and not himself. I am more apt to recognize his efforts and encourage him because I want him to continue to write, We use allot of his songs in our worship sets. Most all are based on scripture and are great worship songs. Writing with a heart of worship and love for our Lord, could never be bad.
I have occasionally used my songs as part of worship. I only do it if I hear the Lord calling me to share it. If it has significance to the message being shared. If I am called to share it then, I don't worry about how its valued in my church. I focus on how the Lord values it, and he alone knows who will be reached by me sharing it. Its my duty to server and be obedient to His call.
I am not the "leader" but ours gives us a lot of leeway. It 's been hit-and-miss singing our "own" songs. I re-worded a Doobie Brother's tune. Instead of "Listen to the Music" we sing "Tell the World of Jesus." That one has gone fairly well if we don't get going too fast.
Another song I wrote went over well when I sang it at a rally with just the band accompanying. Out P&W Team leader tried it as a group and, well. . .It was a learning experience. I hate to say it but I think we killed it. There are some good songs that don't go well when trying to sing it as a group.
I have introduced 3 or 4 of my songs at my present church (been here 2 years now) and they are received well. I don't make a point of saying that I've written the song, but since they are listed with CCLI, it is part of the info on the bottom of the slide.
For me, using my own song is similar to speaking or praying while on stage...it needs to be well thought out and worth sharing. If not, then I should keep it to myself. But if it's something that the Lord has given me to use in ministry, then I have an obilgation to use it.
I use many of my own songs in our worship services but I do so anonymously so that I can get honest feedback. The response has been quite good, although after a few years of doing that, every time we introduce a new song, someone asks if it's mine. :- ) If you write songs using the same standards as you select songs for worship, you shouldn't be afraid to use them. Sure there's an ego boost when people are enthusiastic about your music, but that usually doesn't last very long. It becomes very humbling when your songs start to really bless others.
"If you write songs using the same standards as you select songs for worship, you shouldn't be afraid to use them. Sure there's an ego boost when people are enthusiastic about your music, but that usually doesn't last very long. It becomes very humbling when your songs start to really bless others."
Totally agree, Al. I feel that people who try to scare us over the potential ego boost when others receive our songs well usually don't get that boost themselves, because they don't have songs that are well received! (OK, I admit that was cynical) There is a point when we see people blessed and we realize that we can't do that by our own ability. And it's humbling to know that God has chosen to use us, even when we didn't know it! :)
My issue is not so much worrying if people will like the song, but wondering how to judge the effectiveness of a song that I am so close to. Someone mentioned running songs by pastors. What do others do to get input on songs? I just discovered the Songwriter's Circle here at WTR, which is a cool resource I will start using for that. Any other thoughts on that.
I, too, will not tell the church it happens to be my song, to get a real feel of how the song works without that being a factor. I have one friend whose church actually used a pseudonym on the overhead for songs written by their team. I just leave the name off. :)
I can, to a point, see the objectivity issue, but on the other hand (and remember, I'm an IT guy who plays a Worship Leader on Sunday morning) You've got to Beta-test your song at some point.[grin] ...I do like the pseudonym idea, may have to give it a go.
All kidding aside, I feel that some songs are given for time between just the author and God, and some are given to share with the body. Discerning the difference is what I'm sensing you asking (and forgive me if I'm putting words in your mouth...) Sharing with other songwriters, with your team, and with your pastoral staff are good steps in helping you with that discernment, but sometimes it just comes down to listening to the Spirit (yeah, I know, fleeces are so much more clear-cut, but neither of us is Gideon...).