Bob Kauflin on the Origination of Sovereign Grace Songs

As a worship leader who has struggled with songwriting (any more of you out there who are willing to admit it?), I am thankful to Bob Kauflin for the overview of the Sovereign Grace songwriting process that he posted today on his blog. Obviously, the fewer than 800 words he uses to describe this process comes nowhere close to reflecting the amount of experience, thought, (prayer?,) and effort expended in developing their methodology. There are so many weighty chunks of wisdom packed in there that they're worth bearing out. Some of the elements that stood out to me include:
  • Teamwork. These are not individual, rock star lead worshipers with big record deals to live up to (which, IMO, has often made the quality of songs suffer over time), but a group of gifted individuals who know they can do better together than by themselves.
  • Humility. Any artist of any type knows how personal one's artwork is, be it a song, poem, painting, sculpture, or dance routine. But every artist worth her weight in salt values the critiques of others, especially others who excel in the same field.
  • Excellence. To some (no doubt justified in certain cases), excellence is a by-word for slick, over-produced professionalism that strips the art of its authenticity and originality, and hence its value (as art). But putting one's best into something—or collaborating when one knows his best could be better with the help of others—is something to be admired. Excellence includes thoughtfulness, care, time, energy, skill, and perseverance. Is individual achievement to be celebrated? Absolutely. But at the expense of what could be produced collaboratively with a better result? Probably not.
  • Intentionality. These folks aren't out to come up with songs and albums that are going to go main stream and make big bucks. They aren't going to have posters of themselves hanging on the insides of teenage lockers. Rather, they are concerned with all the things that make a quality worship song: theological substance, literary mastery, singability, experiential appropriateness, longevity. And they are concerned with these qualities because they have a profound effect on those who will be listening to and singing along with them—effects on discipleship, effects on creativity, perhaps even effects on the generational composition and integration of congregations (how many more "tion" words can I possibly string together?).
Anyhow, if you are a pastor, worship leader, or someone else involved in the corporate worship ministry/committee of your church, this piece is definitely worth bookmarking or printing out for future reference. Attending a Sovereign Grace worship workshop might not be a bad idea either. Let's hope their commitments and methodology spread to an increasing number of congregations.

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