If you’ve led worship for very long, you’ve probably participated in a weekend worship seminar. These events are great for team-building with your people, plus you get to interact one-on-one with experts in the field.

So, why do so many of leave worship seminars with nothing to show for it?

I’m using the blog to speak about ways we can improve the worship seminar model. Lots of you have experiences with these and I’m interested to get your take. At the bottom of the post, you’ll find comment prompts – if one interests you, please comment!

I love songwriting and I love the fact that it’s become so closely connected with the role of worship leading in the last 10  years or so. If I’m at a conference, you better believe I’m gonna’ find a songwriting class to attend!

But after all these years, I’m not sure if I’ve grown as a songwriter. It’s fun to hear songwriters you respect tell neat stories, but I want to learn. I want to get better. Here’s what I wish songwriting classes would do:

It’s idealistic of me to expect one single songwriting class to meet the needs of everybody in the room. However, it seems that many of these classes are focused on beginning songwriters. (Maybe statistically, that’s who attends those classes?) But I do wish songwriting instructors would build in a few spots to talk about folks who’ve been writing for a while and may be using their own songs in worship. It doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to organize a session into three sections.

Look, we know there are no secret shortcuts to writing great songs. But I have no doubt that these hit songwriters that teach the class have discovered some consistent lessons or tools.

We know there aren’t any tried and true formulas…but we still want them anyway. Songwriting clinicians would do well to end classes with a four or five point list of some specific tools or exercises for us to try.

I try to be honest on the blog, and I’m telling you that lots of people who attend these classes are doing it so they can have successful songs. They may not think of it terms of “money”, but lots of us do dream of writing a song that might bless and encourage huge numbers of people.

Why won’t clinicians and speakers talk about this? Even if its to bring us back down to reality by reminding us of the real reason we write songs…talk about it!

I find the absence of this sort of honest/pastoral conversation disturbing because I think many of those hit songwriters who we’re paying to teach felt (or still feel) the same way. They wanted (or still want) to write hit songs, too. Be humble, be honest and talk about the hit song idea.

COMMENT PROMPTS: A lot of you write songs and have been to stuff like this.

  • What are some things that songwriting classes have taught you?
  • What’s the one question you’d like to ask a hit songwriter?

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