How do we practically write songs with universal themes in unique ways? Here are three suggestions.
Make sure your opening line is fresh
This is where you grab attention and set the premise for the song. No “same old opening” line will do.
Take risks with words
The only way you can know if some- thing will work or not is try it out (sing it privately for days and then try it on a few trusted friends before you test drive it with your whole church). When I am working on a song I write down every single option I can think of, even if at first glance that option seems too crazy or out there to sing at church. It will either grow into a fit or lead you to another solution. The goal is not to be clever, but to awaken worship with our words.Taking risks means being willing to be personal—writing words that you own at a deep level.
Learn the skills of a lyricist
There are no shortcuts to this. Learn- ing to write great lyrics takes lots of work, some raw gifting to work with words and then lots more hard work. The good news is everyone can become a better lyricist through hard work and not just settling for first draft. The great hymns that have endured for centuries did not write them- selves on the first try; they were a result of people pouring over words, meditating on the Scriptures so that each line of the song would be filled with truth and beauty. We are called to no less, even though our mu- sic may sound radically different.