During the time I served as song development manager for Integrity Music, I was often asked a question that went something like, “Do you think people from our local church should try to write original praise and worship songs?” As I affirmed that idea, I would always explain how grateful the Body of Christ worldwide should be that local churches, like Hills Christian Life Centre in Australia, and others, have chosen to use their musical and songwriting skills to be such a great blessing to all of us. If the leadership of that church had been timid about allowing songs from their local congregation to be incorporated into worship, we might never have had the song, “Shout to the Lord.” If the songwriters at Bethel Church in Redding, CA, had not been encouraged to write and sing their own songs, we might never have had the song, “Goodness of God.” There are countless songs that have blessed the worldwide Church that were birthed in a local church setting.
What we must realize, however, is that not all songs that arise out of a local church are going to have such a worldwide impact. There are some songs that can serve to minister primarily in a particular local church setting. Sometimes a song is birthed out of a situation or circumstance that resonates greatly with a specific local church but does not seem to have a broader appeal. That in no way invalidates the ministry impact of the song for that one church.
Other songs may have a regional appeal, or “catch on” with churches in a particular group or fellowship, but still not be embraced nationally or internationally. Again, the scope of the sphere of influence of a song does not necessarily determine its validity. So, I always want to encourage musically gifted believers in local churches to use those gifts to express their praise and worship to the Lord through song. And as the leadership of the local church deems appropriate, have those songs incorporated into the worship expression of that church.
IPHC Discipleship Ministries is calling for new songs to be birthed in IPHC local churches!
If the song is a blessing in the local situation, let that be sufficient affirmation. Just because most of the world may never hear your song doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it! Don’t fall into the trap of believing that unless it becomes a “big hit” or unless Integrity or Maranatha or Vineyard, or Elevation, or Bethel, or someone else records it, then it has no validity. Even if your song is only a blessing to you and draws you more closely into the presence of God, you can sing your song in your times of personal devotion and that will be meaningful. The scriptural directive, “Sing to the Lord a new song,” is for all of us (Psalm 33:3; 149:1 ESV).
As we are now in our emphasis on worship, IPHC Discipleship Ministries is calling for new songs to be birthed in IPHC local churches. Perhaps someone reading this right now is ready to overcome the fear and insecurity that has held them back from stirring up their songwriting gift. I want to encourage you to go for it! It may well be that the Lord would deposit a song in a local IPHC congregation that would become a blessing to the whole world. But even if the song simply becomes a way for you to express your heart in worship to the Lord, the song is its own reward.
I love songs; and I love songwriters. If I can be of any encouragement to you, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to hear your song.
This article is part of Discipleship Ministries' 2021 emphasis on Worship. If you are interested in learning more about this emphasis, check out the new webpage.
If you would like to join the conversation or reach out to Wes, you can check out the Facebook group for IPHC Worship Leaders!
Dr. Wes Tuttle is an accomplished worship leader, musician, and songwriter. Dr. Tuttle’s songs have been recorded by influential worship leaders like Don Moen, Paul Wilbur, Bob Fitts, John Chisum, Aline Barros, Robin Mark, Juanita Bynum and Judy Jacobs. Wes is an ordained minister and holds an A.A. in Music and a B.A. in Religion from Emmanuel College. He holds an M.A. in Counseling from Liberty University and a M.A.R. with a concentration in Cross-cultural studies from Liberty Theological Seminary. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Liberty Theological Seminary.