Writing Together

1 Comment » Written on February 14th, 2014     
Filed under: Better Together, Music, NPTS, Songwriting

by Andrew Thompson

The songs we sing in worship shape our worship. Our theology. Our mission. Our understanding and God and ourselves. Songs matter. That’s partially why, as worship leaders and pastors well know, our churches sometimes fight over songs. Because they are so important.

What we sometimes forget is that songs come from somewhere. Songwriters. Without good songwriters, there are no good songs. Therefore, if we want great songs in the future, songs that will continue to deepen and expand our devotion, theology and mission, we need to invest in songwriters now.

I was blessed this past month to be some small part in songwriter investment through co-teaching North Park Theological Seminary’s first “Songwriting For Christian Worship” course with my friend and colleague Geoff Twigg. About 15 people participated in the class. Some from the North Park School of Music. Some from the seminary. Others from Chicagoland area churches.

Geoff and I taught some songwriting basics, then released the participants to write as groups, before asking the groups to return to share what they wrote with the rest of us. Our weekend intensive closed Sunday afternoon with a time of worship using the original songs, ordered in the service based on their intended liturgical function. Wow! I wish you could have been in the room. It was amazing.

Songwriting1The powerful reminder I walked away with that weekend was how co-writing and group writing can open up new levels of creativity and wonderful experiences of worship. Ideas bounce off one another, blending into something bigger and deeper. New writers find the courage to try their ideas. Experienced writers break out of their ruts. Once you find your creative community, watch out!

Have you ever thought about writing together? Thanks to technology like whatever you are reading this blog on right now, geography no longer prevents it. Hangouts or Skype can bring us together from a distance.

Our local church is trying an experiment in this that you might be interested in. We’re gathering writers in our church to write in groups – and inviting who want to be a part of group writing or co-writing from a distance to join in via Google Hangouts. 5 weeks starting Wednesday, February 26 from 6:30 – 8:00 PM PST. Want to be a part of this experiment? Sign up here.

Try it. Write together. See how God uses it in your life.

Rooting for you always,

Andrew

Andrew Thompson is the founding and lead pastor of Columbia Grove Covenant Church in Wenatchee, Washington, a church known for the creative arts. His songs are sung by churches around the US and Canada and have been featured at the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Midwinter Conference. Andrew serves as a member of the ECC’s Commission on Worship and blogs at Covenant Songwriter.

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One Response to “Writing Together”

Have you heard the wonderful new hymn that Jerry Jacoby wrote for the 100th Anniversary of Faith Covenant Church in Farmington Hills, Michigan?  He is a gifted musician who has been singing, playing and writing for years.  He would be a good resource to write more music for the Covenant.  

Also, music that will last needs to be much better musically, and in content that much of what has been deemed music in the last several years.  Following a popular trend to have solo type music is not good for congregational singing. People need to be encouraged to sing together with “singable songs”, following the logic of music.  This is especially true as fewer kids have music training in school!  Introduce new, but good music.  However, also, sing with “all the saints”.  Teach people how to get out- and read- the wonderful resource- the Hymnal.  Let them see and hear the beautiful harmony..harmony of parts and voices with meaningful words.  

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