There are so many different styles of worship music out there. Consequently, there are many different things people look for in a worship song. There’s no formula for writing a great worship song.
However, there are a few things that are important to remember when writing a worship song. There are a few things that will make sure your song is good for congregational singing and inclusion in a worship service.
As you’re writing, keep these criteria in mind.
It’s said more people get their theology from the hymnal than from the Bible. This means you have a huge responsibility when creating worship songs. You need to be sure they reflect the truth of the Scriptures and the true character of God. If people are singing these worship songs, they’ll remember the truths (or errors) contained within. Take this responsibility seriously.
This isn’t necessarily a requirement. But if you want people to be able to sing along, your best bet is to make the melody memorable and sing-able. If people can’t figure out the melody, they probably won’t be singing along. Plus, a memorable melody allows your congregation to sing it throughout the week on their own.
A Focus on God
To be honest, there is no such thing as a worship song. A song can’t worship God. Only people can worship God. But a worship song can be a tool to help us worship God. Thus, because it’s a tool to help people focus on and worship God, it should be focused on God. It’s tempting to write a song that’s about you. That’s what the focus of most pop songs are about. But worship music allows us to put the focus on God. Make sure your song reflects that.
Lyrics that People Can Relate With
A corporate worship song is an opportunity for all of us to express our hearts to God together. Thus, the sentiments within the song should be fairly universal. For example, if I wrote a love song about my wife and to my wife, it would be fine for me to include words like “schmoopsy poo”. If that’s my nickname for her and the song is only for her, that’s fine. But I imagine you wouldn’t want to be singing along. Look for more universal language that people can relate to.
That doesn’t mean your worship song needs to be filled with clichés, though. Many songs use beautiful word pictures that—while they had never occurred to me before—perfectly reflect the heart I want to convey to God. Avoid using all the same words every other worship song uses. Make it unique.
Of course, this post is simplifying something that it takes people their whole lives to perfect. I can’t guarantee following these tips will skyrocket your next worship album to the top of the CCLI charts. But if you’re responsible with your songwriting and you write with a heart for God, I have no doubt you can make some beautiful songs that will be unique for your congregation. How fun for a church to sing songs written to God by their own people!