Hey everyone! From the moment I took my first full-time worship pastor position 20 years ago, I started writing worship songs. I had prayed for this for a long time and I believe God started giving me songs to use in my church. Some I knew were just for me and my own worship times... but some were definitely for the church. Some ventured out to other churches as well.
Over the years, I've continued writing and co-writing, and regularly introducing original songs to the church where I was ministering at the time. This always was a positive thing in my experience and many really liked that some of our worship material came from our own people. I always encourage worship leaders to be writing and praying that God gives them songs for their congregations. Your church may need a specific song to sing... in that season... that speaks to what God is saying to YOUR church. You might find that song on the latest Tomlin CD... but probably not. (no offense to him of course!)
So my questions for those of you that are writing and using these songs in your church...
1) What percentage of your set lists, on average, consists of original material?
2) How often do you introduce original songs?
3) Do you encourage others on your team to write as well? Do you co-write with them?
About 25% of our and's repertoire is songs I wrote. By request of a couple who were moving away, a couple Sundays back we did "all Charles songs" for one service, so I've tried to go easy since then. It's rare that we introduce original songs any more, though, because I think I lost my worship songwriting mojo back about 2007 and haven't come up with anything lately that I'm that excited about introducing.
We do also have four or five songs we do that came from WtR, and if the songwriting forum gets going again, I'll be on the lookout. And if somebody from the congregation comes to me and says "could we do this song that somebody at my old church wrote?" we would probably at least do it once as a special, do it with the congregation if it seemed like it worked.
Similarly, if somebody on our team brought me a song or a lyric, we'd figure out how to do something with it.
1) Probably between 5% and 10%.... I counted a little less than 20 original songs in a list of 280, but we don't regularly do all of the 280, or all of the 20.
2) When they are ready! On average maybe 1 per year.... but like Charles I've not been inspired for a couple of years.
3) Yes, when I can. In fact one of our team has just come to me with a song idea and we'll have a go at co-writing.