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 rarely use my own unless it is a perfect fit with a sermon as Alex said. Sometimes I use one as an offertory but that usually seems self indulgent to me.
I wrote one not too long ago that I felt was for the congregation and introduced it but it didn't really fly so I dropped it.
It is such a fine line. I think God wants new songs to be birthed in the church context but he doesn't need any more Chris Tomlins or the like. I love Chris Tomlin but I think that we love our worship leaders sometimes to a fault. It really seems as if we are worshipping the song or leader and not our Creator!
Yes, I use songs that I have written in worship. I start with introducing them to small groups first - prayer meetings, bible study nights, etc. If the songs are working there, (effective in helping others to experience the presence of God), I introduce them to the congregation on Sundays, with Pastor's approval and blessing of course! Oh, I do not announce that it is a song I've written, not even in the "small group" stage - I just use it as it fits the theme, or as the Spirit leads.
It seems to me that if your gift is worship leading, then the Lord will probably be giving you songs to share, much like the teaching pastor is given words and illustrations to share. Yes, I have heard terrible self-written songs sung in church as special music by someone who should probably have been screened before being allowed to step onto the stage, but then they are probably not the worship leader either. (Not trying to be cruel to the non-gifted song writer who has an honest heart to serve God)
We should be discerning with our songs, and make them the best they can be. By all means, run them by someone for a critique - I do that with my chapters when I'm writing a book. But when it's all said and done, trying to hide what we do seems like we're almost ashamed with what God is working out through us.
Much better to write a good song, share it with confidence that the Lord will use it, and then if someone praises you for it, deal with that in a mature manner. Give God the glory and be thankful that He sees fit to use you in blessing some else's life.
I do, but so far I only have extra verses added to an existing song. If/when I write a complete song, I plan to use it but not tell anyone it's mine. I'll submit it for copyright and post it to CCLI. Then someone famous will pick it up and record it and make it popular and I'll retire. And my congregation will say, "What's so great about that song? We've been singing it for a year already. I wish our worship leader would get something new." You can never win.
We use our songs occasionally. Our worship team has produced 3 CDs, about 30 songs of all original stuff. Since I am no longer on the worship team, (I'm working in the video projection department now) I find we do less of our music. I always tried to encourage our team to write music. Many didn't care for it though. Some even fought it.
That's wat prompted me to do a solo CD. The group hasn't done any of my songs from that CD.
I've seen the same thing...a song that I've written may get an enthusiastic response from the congregation and pastor (he'll even use it as an illustration in a sermon), but when it comes to the other teams using it...well...
And you can't really say anything about it, 'cause that looks like ego. *sigh*
It's good to use songs that your community can identify with and a song you've written yourself will usually have elements and themes that are important and beneficial to your Church community. Where possible, I try to use songs that I have written myself and find people identify with them as they know some of the testimony behind their composition.
So true Helen,
We, the songwriters within our church community are the prophetic voices God has annointed to put into words and music the things that are relevent to "that" community of believers. And sometimes that song may find itself speaking to a greater audience beyond it's community.
Not trying to sound egotistical or putting writers above other members of a worship team. Everyone is special and unique. But we do need to recognize this gift within our church body and not allow jealousy to creep in.
Our worship band only does songs we write because God has given us and is still giving us so many songs. I believe that if you write worship songs out of a pure heart then God wants you to use them minister to the body. It was easier when we played other peoples songs because everybody already knew them. But it has been tremendously rewarding to see people grad hold of what God has given us and use it to enter into His presence. If you write songs, use them to bless God and his body. Don't be afraid to step out and do it. After all it's not about you anyway.
Could you imagine a bunch of pastors in a discussion about whether or not they use their own sermons on Sunday morning? The biggest differences are (1) the sermon/pastor is driving the overall theme, which we are adding to/supporting (2) the pastor does not expect the congregation to "preach along" as he speaks.
If you have both the gift of worship leading and songwriting it would be irresponsible not to use your music, appropriately, in service. I've done a lot of specials, and a handful of congregation worship songs, that are original. Only those with good enough eyes to read the small print at the bottom of the slide realize they are my songs.