I haven't seen Popstar (and don't have plans to, tbh.) But I can't help loving the tagline of this movie: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING.
From what I understand of the movie's premise, a tagline like that speaks to the hubris of the film's protagonist. It seems to sum up his pseudo-intelligence with equal parts bravado and immaturity. But it's also a great line for songwriters.
I realize not every worship leader who reads this is going to be a songwriter. But for those of you who write (or want to write) here's my advice...
NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING.
A songwriter writes songs. Lots of them. I'm often asked to co-write with other worship leaders or to even just talk the craft of songwriting and I'm constantly shocked at how many of them have only written three or four songs. If you're writing songs for your congregation to sing, you need to write a lot them. Here's why.
MOST OF THEM WON'T WORK. Writing a song is like any other craft. You're not going to be very good at it in the beginning. It takes time, which means that a lot of your songs won't work for your congregation. You're going to have to learn about melody writing and phrasing and congregational themes, and as you learn that, a lot of those songs are going to fail. People aren't going to storm out because of a bad song, but they probably won't sing a long. And if you're writing corporate worship songs, the singing-along is a big deal.
SEASONS CHANGE. Church life is seasonal. There are times of abundance and growth and success and then, seemingly out of the blue, those seasons will turn immediately into times of lack an struggle. If you want your songs to bless your church, you need a deep catalog to respond to the needs of your people. One of your few songs might be working now, but why not spend time crafting songs for other seasons in the life of your church?
YOU NEED A HIT. No, not a radio "hit." You need to write a lot of songs because you need to see what a miracle it can be when your congregation responds to something you've written. It's humbling and daunting, but it's also fantastic. If you're called to write, there are songs God wants to give you that He will use to convict and challenge and encourage. That may not be your experience yet, but you'll never find that unless you keep writing.
In the next post, we'll talk about some practical ways to never stop never stopping songwriting. It's tough to carve out time for something as odd and elusive as songwriting, but it can be done. Come back in a couple days to find out how you can write MORE songs. (Cause writing MORE songs will most always lead to writing BETTER songs.)