Worship Leaders Respond To Parody How To Write A Worship Song Video

by Bobby Gilles

in Songwriting/Hymn Workshop,Worship Leading

As some of you know, I host a Google+ Community for Christian songwriters. Last week I asked community members their thoughts on this tongue-in-cheek video (How To Write A Worship Song In 5 Minutes Or Less) that many worship leaders, songwriters and others shared in their social media streams and blogs:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhYuA0Cz8ls]
Here are some of thoughts from writers in the Google+ songwriting community, followed by some of mine:

“Totally fair. If we don’t like it, then we can do something about it.” — C.B.

“In light of the cookie-cutter worship music that’s been cranked out in the last few years, I’d say he pretty much nailed it…” — P.P.

“Hmmm other than it seemed like he was really making fun of worship he did have a point. It does for the most part sound the same, the lyrics do need to be simple and rhyming is a good idea for the most part. Didn’t like the mocking attitude though.” — C.M.W.

“I thought it was funny that I was sent this video multiple times by different friends. Satire can be a good thing. Without Christ’s intercession all our worship would be ridiculous.” — L.B.

“I think it’s refreshing that a kid put the video together since it’s mostly other kids who are writing modern worship songs. It shows he’s thinking about what is going on in modern worship and not just going with the flow (pun intended).” T.H.

“How many worship songs use those chords… Sheesh, we can be more original than that! …. I thought it was funny. It’s good to laugh at yourself.” — J.W.

These are all good thoughts. Here are a couple things that have stewed in my brain the past few days:

  1. We could make the same kind of video about many genres and forms, such as bluegrass, the blues, heavy metal, hip hop and country. Simplicity isn’t in itself a reason to decry a musical form. Simplicity is often even the point. Certainly when we talk about music for congregational worship, the whole idea is that people of varying skills and backgrounds be able to sing together.
  2. As several writers said above, the important thing for worship leaders and songwriters is neither to merely say, “This was funny” nor “This was unfair” (I think it was more “funny” than “unfair”). The important thing is to learn what we can and move on. This should be our chief takeaway from all critiques. If the shoe fits, and the shoe is ugly, get some new shoes.



Chad February 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Thanks for commenting on this video. I used to share these kinds of videos on my social media but I’ve started getting tired of them. I guess I’d rather avoid publicly endorsing the snarkiness and smugness that accompanies these parodies (even though they’re good for a laugh) I’d rather encourage young worship leaders and writers who are probably using these chord progressions in their initial attempts at writing for worship. It’s not safe to put yourself out there as a young songwriter/leader when there’s an atmosphere of cynicism directed at each other. I enjoy laughing at myself and the quirks of Christian culture but I think it’s getting old now. Let’s do something more productive other than making each other feel insecure.

Maybe there’s some comparisons being made between songs for worship, and songs for entertainment?

Bobby Gilles February 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Very well said, Chad. We should teach each other gently and support each other fervently. “Let’s do something more productive other than making each other feel insecure.” Great way to put it.

Stephen February 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I do wonder is we write differently today than the hymn writers of old (Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley). They often used hymnody to convey deep theological concepts. I am Methodist and know a great deal of our theology comes from our music. Sometimes when we reduce worship to “whoas” as they are skewering in the video, we lose on the theology. I am not saying all praised based music is bad. I am saying we need to have a richer hymn book full of praise, lament, confession, and theology.

Bobby Gilles February 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I’m with you, Stephen. That’s one of the biggest reason my wife Kristen and I started this blog, and it’s been one of the driving values behind many of our “Songwriting” category blog posts.

Rob February 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Personally, I think the kid is way out of line. He’s basically profiting by openly ridiculing the spiritual interaction between the church and God. I think this goes beyond simply ‘laughing at ourselves’. It’s trivializing a very spiritual and sacred act. “Stupid” and “careless” doesn’t seem to even do it justice in my mind. He is also demonstrating a complete lack of multicultural perspective (but that’s a different topic).

The Christian music industry… sure, fine, fire away. Put some pressure on them to make better quality music. But worship is a different animal completely. This kid needs to be careful or he’ll find himself ridiculing God Himself.

Worship must be simple. It must be inclusive. I must be spiritual. It’s not a performance or a show, and it doesn’t need PhD level chord progressions.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: