Why We Write Worship Songs

The feedback from the Valley of Vision CD we produced earlier this year has been very encouraging. But nothing is more meaningful than someone who takes the time to write and let us know how God has used the truth in the songs we write to make Him bigger in their eyes. I wanted to share a portion of a recent e-mail from Jessica that helped me remember why we continue to write songs for the church.

This summer was a very difficult season for me, yet spectacular at the same time because God was deeply at work in me. Isn’t He always?!! I started to go through an intense time of panic attacks this summer, where I would literally feel fear and panic fall on me like a blanket. The only way I knew to explain it was that it was just intense fear and darkness coming on me all of a sudden…The Valley of Vision CD has been pivotal in me overcoming panic attacks. It was released right around the time the Lord was dealing with me on this fear I was struggling with. And the lyrics on every song have helped me immensely on fighting the temptation to fear. Lyrics like,“Let me learn that my losses are my gain / To be broken is to heal / That the valley’s where Your power is revealed”, or “All that I need is in You Jesus / You are my only hope” , or “and when Satan comes to tempt me / I come running to You / When I fear, when I’m tried… to Your blood, to Your side… there my soul finds rest”.

I just don’t think I can express how much these songs have helped me focus on Jesus. They have been a great source of healing for me because they cause my perspective to be that I have everything I need in Jesus and that there is indeed life and vision in the valleys of life. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving us songs to sing, ways to express truth in brokenness, and ways to declare the greatness of God and the sufficiency of Christ. Songwriting is such a powerful tool! The ability God gives His people to make music that changes lives and spreads HIS fame will never cease to amaze me.

What I so appreciated about Jesisca’s comments was her focus. She wasn’t simply inspired by the music of the songs – she was changed by the truths they contained. This has application for us no matter what role we’re in.

If I’m a songwriter, I need to remember that while music is important, in the end truth outlasts tunes. A catchy melody can be a distraction unless it helps implant God’s truth in people’s hearts.

If I’m a song leader I need to remember that music is meant to direct people’s attention to the lyrics. My song choices should be made more on the basis of theology and theme than tempo and key.

If I’m pastor, I need to make sure my church is singing songs that enable them to feed richly on the Word of Christ. It’s part of my responsibility in shepherding the flock of God.

If I’m a worshipper of God, I need to remember that music may move me emotionally, but truth can change me eternally. I want to do everything I can to meditate on the riches of God’s Word when I sing to feed my soul, and not simply see it as a time when I express my own thoughts and feelings.

Of course, expressing our thoughts to God as we worship Him is right and good. Part of the dynamic of worshipping God is giving to God and receiving from Him, speaking to Him and listening for His voice. But our feelings and expressions are only reliable and true as they’re rooted in who God is, what He’s done, and what He’s said to us. Which is why Jessica was helped by listening to a CD – the songs helped her “focus on Jesus.” I pray God gives us grace to always write songs that help people do that.

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2 Responses to Why We Write Worship Songs

  1. Ian McConnell October 18, 2006 at 5:31 PM #

    Bob,

    This post has sent my heart down a road of meditation I have been on lately and that is the power of music to assist in biblical meditation and instruction.

    My children have helped me to see this. I have a 3 1/2 year old son and a 2 year old daughter who are able (I am not exaggerating) to articulate clear propositions of the character of God and the gospel. Although we quote Deuteronomy 6:4 daily and memorize scripture together what comes out of their mouths most often are lines from the songs that we sing. Part of their daily existence is being taught through song, “Holy God in love became perfect man to bear my blame . . . .” They sing it, and for the most part understand it. It’s amazing the questions they ask in connection with the songs we sing during family worship. Recently they were in the bathtub and out of no where just started belting out the Gospel Song. You know what that does to a parent’s heart!

    We have found that songs like these are a powerful tool for raising our children to know and worship Jesus Christ. Just the other day I was driving my children to visit some unbelieving family, when Payson asked where we were going and I told him—he responded by saying, “They need to worship God.” It was a very impacting moment for me because it has become clear to Payson that God deserves to be worshiped and should be worshipped by every one. But I must admit if he says that to my family they will never believe that we didn’t tell him to say it!

    The combination of biblical truth and song have been a major part of our child training. I am so thankful that you all at SGM believe this and produce music time and time again that fuels our hearts for worship and tools us with a means to teach clear truths about Christ to our children. My wife and I were again discussing how thankful we are for the Awesome God recording that is a wonderful example this.

    I hope this encourages you and does not bring too much attention to my family.

    Grace & Peace,

    Ian

  2. Bob Kauflin October 18, 2006 at 6:00 PM #

    Ian,

    Your comments were very encouraging, and rather than drawing attention to your family, inspired me to take more time to impress God’s word upon my three daughters who are still at home.

    I thank God for your faithfulness to the Savior.

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