Andrew Thompson (M.Div) 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.
Songs have a unique and powerful way of lodging ideas and emotions in our minds and hearts. We are influenced and shaped by our songs. If you are at all like me, you probably have powerful memories and emotions attached to the songs that were popular back when you were in high school. Probably also the songs that were a part of the time when you first came to Christ.
The Covenant Church, like all revival movements, was shaped by its songwriting. One of the reasons our faith forefathers and foremothers were drawn into Philipp Spener’s version of pietism was that this movement produced good songs. Their songs expressed the joy they experienced in conventical groups as they studied God’s Word together and sought to apply it to their lives in mission. Their songs shaped them. Those songs are a powerful part of why the Covenant Church is what it is today.
Like those who have gone before us, we continue to write songs that express who we are and what God is doing in our midst. We need to do it frequently, carefully and well. After all, our songs continue to shape us. We become what we sing.
I am so grateful to see the recent renewal of songwriting awareness in the Covenant church. Projects like last Midwinter’s song sampler “Louder Than Words” remind us that we are still a songwriting revival movement.
I’m excited to be a part of North Park Seminary’s new songwriting course “Songwriting for Christian Worship.” (If you are in the Chicagoland area, there’s an affordable one-day workshop option for this course too.)
Just like we invest in our pastors through training and formation, we’re investing in our songwriters. We’re going to be shaped by songs. Let’s write the best songs we can. And let’s share the best of them with each other. Why not have some of the songs that shape our movement now be our own?
What do you think? How have songs shaped you and your congregation? Are you excited by these renewed efforts to develop Covenant songwriters and songs?