As worship songwriters we have an incredible responsibility to find fresh melodies and lyrics that will express the praises of God from the people of God.
Some songwriters describe the song they have just finished as fondly as they would describe their own child. Their artistic expression has come from the deepest recesses of their heart, and when it finally surfaces for others to hear - their very being has been replicated into a 3:30 min expression of who they are.
A song child has been born.
With that comes a protective response, babies need attention and care in their early stages. It also means that if anyone gives ‘feedback’ on that child, it is as though the songwriter (parent) has been attacked at the deepest level of who they are. Their child, their likeness has been criticised.
I’d like to suggest that the songwriters who write for the church should have a different view on their songs.
Instead of songs being their children, I think they would be more adequately described as apples, oranges or juicy watermelons. Fruit. As worship writers, our songs are our fruit. They are one of the fruits of our connection with Jesus (John 15), they are the overflow of hearts due to our relationship with God and his revelation of himself to us. Different seasons create different fruits, but all in all, they are just fruits, not children.
What are the implications of this?
When we view songs as fruit, we become much more open to letting our apple be chopped up to becoming an apple pie, or an apple danish, or simply cut up and served fresh. Whatever the church needs in order to serve and facilitate worship, thats how your fruit can be shaped, cooked, eaten. But when we view our songs like children, parts of who we are, every suggestion feels like an attack at our character; we wouldn’t dare let them be moulded, cut up and consumed. We take feedback personally.
Of course at this point we must highlight that the fruit gets tastier when the tree is healthier. So allowing God to transform our hearts and lives will directly impact the quality of fruit that we produce.
Last year I was writing a song about us being a temple of the Holy Spirit and there was this one line in the chorus that said ‘Come inhabit me’.
It was my favourite lyric of the song.
While I was holding this song like my child, I was stubborn about letting that line change. When the desire for making it a useful for other people to sing got stronger than my ego, and a friends suggestion; I finally changed it to ‘Jesus, live in me’.
Now others have begun to sing it, just because it was chopped up like an apple to serve.
When we view our songs as apples, we let the purpose they serve guide how they are crafted, and stop taking the crafting process as a criticism of our very beings.