Overcome Part 2 : “Writing Songs For A Community – and then the World”
In part one, we began a series on songwriting entitled “Overcome : Writing Songs For A Community and Then The World.” but that focused on a song…but never actually on songwriting – or did it?
If you haven’t already, take a minute to go back and read the article. Notice that this song was written for a community. Now, even after the details that I have given you, there are still a ton that I can only speculate about. I’m sure the answers are there and I just haven’t asked the right questions. Was the song written after the first pastor was ousted because of his sexual immoralities? Did they have a huge revelation when they had previously thought they were given the song to deal with the pastoral situation only to learn i was there to cope with the murders? I’m sure there is a clear answer…but I don’t readily know it. One thing that is clear…the song was written and there in place before the murders took place. Don’t miss that! No matter what actually took place with that song, God made sure that New Life Worship had that song there to minister to the congregation in their time of need.
And that brings us to the first point about “community songwriting” :
- Not every song will be known to be “for community” when written.
When we talk about writing “for community”, we are talking about writing for your specific congregation – for situations that apply to what your congregation may be going through. I’ve written songs before that seemed so broad focused but then, in speaking to a pastor at a certain church, learned about a particular situation and realized that the song was perfect for what they were going through. Likewise, I’ve written songs that will more than likely never be played at any other churches other than the community it was written for. In either case – I began by simply writing. I can assure you of one thing…no one picked up pad and paper and said “okay, guys…lets write a song about how we might overcome a situation about someone walking in to our campus with a gun.” God, however, knew that the song would be used in that way – and knew every tear that He would comfort, in advance, with the powerful words in the lyrics.
Which brings me to my next point…
- Knowing that not every song will be known to be “for community” … don’t be afraid to simply write what is on your heart.
If God has laid a song before you…offer it. Let someone hear it. Play it to your pastor, your team, your choir – see what the response is. You never know what difference it may make someday. Perhaps not to a whole congregation…but to even one or two people in that community.
Next, we’ll take a deeper look at how keeping in touch with what is going on in your community will help you in your approach to writing.