How to Write a Great Worship Song
Writing a Christian worship song is very similar to writing a secular song except for one very important difference – your intended audience happens to include God. Praise and worship songs can be written in any genre or style, as a hymn or chorus, or even a simple bible verse set to music. Regardless of the style you choose for your song, the most important thing is it must come from the heart.
Psalm 150 says, “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
Here are a few tips to help you write a great worship song that will encourage others to praise and worship Jesus Christ in a meaningful way.
Pray. Ask God to inspire you. Many people can write lyrics, but few can write lyrics that are powerful, moving and anointed. Writing a worship song requires you to humble yourself before God while you bask in His majesty and glory. Only then will you be able to write a worship song that describes who He is while encouraging others to join in His worship.
Write the melody. A worship song must be easy to learn and sing. It should be written in a key that is not too high and not too low. Most people who worship in a church setting are not trained musicians. Your song should have a strong melody, not too many words and simple phrasing. Everyone (young or old, male or female) should be able to sing the song easily.
Write the lyrics. Your lyrics should encourage people to worship God. Writing about personal experiences can be very powerful, but only if the song ends with the attention being brought back to Jesus. A good praise and worship song will touch people in a way that causes them to think about how awesome God is, and as a result, feel moved to praise Him.
Add scripture. Many worship songs are inspired by or include scripture in their lyrics. As an added benefit, using scripture in a worship song encourages worshipers to memorize the Word.
Save it. No matter how good your memory is, most people will forget their lyrics and melody if they are not written down and/or recorded. Inspiration for a worship song can come at the most unexpected time. Always keep a notepad or word processing app with you so you can save new ideas.
Listen to the song first. Once you have your chord progression, melody and lyrics, record your song to see how it flows. Listening to the song a few times will help you identify any awkward phrasing or chord changes that might distract from the worship experience.
Start with a small group. Try the song out in a smaller setting first, like a home study group or Children’s church. If all goes well, add your song to a mid-week or evening service before using it in your Sunday morning worship lineup.
Copyright the song. If you feel the song is a keeper, you might want to copyright it. Check out the U.S. Copyright Office for more information.