So you want to write a hit worship song—great!
At The Babylon Bee, we believe in you. And we’re happy to help!
Writing a worship song that will turn you into a household name overnight is not as difficult as you might think. Just make sure you follow these seven pointers for writing the perfect holy tune.
1.) Every aspect of God’s nature is best represented by either water metaphors or fire metaphors. Want to sing about God’s love? Compare it to either a catastrophic, category 5 hurricane, or else a raging inferno that levels an entire city. Nothing else comes close to accurately representing the love of God.
2.) Remember to direct the listeners’ attention and affections toward themselves. Worshipers should come away from your song with their affections stirred toward how great and glorious they are. If you talk too much about sin, wrath, or the cross, they might feel bad about themselves, so use those negative words sparingly.
3.) The bridge must be at least five hours long. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t finish the extended edition of The Return of the King before your bridge ends, it’s not long enough. Also make sure it loops perfectly with the choruses so worship leaders can cycle right back through it for another five hours at their discretion.
4.) Make sure it’s easy enough that the worship band can play it, but hard enough that the congregation can’t follow along. Don’t throw too many chords at the worship band—they’re musicians, not magicians. Still, your melody should be difficult enough that the high and low notes are way too difficult for the congregation to sing. You want them to be painfully aware at all times that they’re not good enough to be in the worship band.
5.) Just rip off an old hymn wholesale. If you’re out of ideas, just close your eyes, open a hymnal to a random page, and bam! Instant modern worship hit. Just add an emotional chorus and bridge, cut out any of the weird verses that talk about the blood of Jesus, throw the word “Yeah!” in there a few dozen times, and you’re good to go.
6.) The lyrics must attempt to coax the Holy Spirit into the building as if He’s a really shy kitty cat. Every worship songwriter worth his salt knows you’ve got to beg, plead, and cajole God to fill up the room with His presence.
7.) Don’t make too good of a song, or Chris Tomlin will cover it and then no one on earth will know that you’re the real author. If you write something really good, Chris Tomlin will start circling as though there’s blood in the water. Soon, he’ll cover your song, and everyone will talk about that great new Tomlin song while you fade out of the public’s memory forever. And what’s the point in writing a worship song if you don’t get all the credit for it?
Follow these guidelines, and your worship song is sure to be a major hit, played in churches and arenas around the world for years to come.