“I am retarded. God is perfect. Jesus died on the cross. Now everything is great.”

Here are the chords: G C G D. Repeat. If you want to get crazy, throw in an Em in place of one of those Gs.

Add above lyrics to above chord progression. Boom! Worship song.

First off, yes, I know I’m over-generalizing. There are great worship songs out there. And even the above formula can be meaningful. But I am concerned that most music we categorize as “worship” music is either (a) 10-15yrs old or (b) a rip-off of 10-15yr old thinking.

People change. Culture changes. Songs that were right for us to sing 10yrs ago don’t necessarily say what we want (or need) to say today.

I believe the Christian Music Industry has far too much influence in our songwriting and song producing.

Christian Music Industry is just that. It’s an industry. It has to sustain itself. It has to turn a profit. It relies on popular culture’s approval to survive. It’s forced to follow. Therefore, it can’t be objective. It can’t be innovative. And it can’t (and shouldn’t) drive the content of our music.

But it does. And the current state of worship music is the result: Formulaic, history-derived, predictable music and lyrics. Because someone is less likely to complain if the song is familiar - even if they hate it.

Complainers drive the Christian Music Industry. Christian Music Industry drives our music creation. So our music is essentially a product of complaints. Not of passion. Not of personal experience. Not of hurt or frustration. Not of desperation or loneliness. Not of joy and excitement. Again, those things may be in there as an added bonus, but they’re not what’s driving the music we’re cranking out. It’s the complainers.

We’re calling for a change. For a return to meaning and humanity as the basis of the entire process - from songwriting to mixing and mastering to marketing and even pricing. For a purposeful disregard of “what our target wants” in favor of music that communicates what we’re really feeling today. Because it’s not the job of the masses and it’s not the job of the Music Industry to decide the content of the songs we sing. It’s the job of the artists. It’s why we were made. And if we’re simply functioning as a machine that cranks out what the Music Industry is asking us for, it’s just a matter of time before we’re replaced with an iPad app.

It’s easier to do what we’re asked. It’s more efficient to recreate what’s worked in the past. It pays the bills. But let’s stop calling it art and call it what it is: business.

It’s the job of the artist to say the words everyone is thinking but are too afraid (or don’t know how) to say. It’s the job of the artist to feel the pain of the world around them, not just their own, and to articulate it in their art. It’s the job of the artist to work in opposition to popular culture in order to move that same culture forward over time. It’s the job of the artist to live on less income, because big labels don’t pay prophets - they pay hit-makers. But you’re not in this to make hits. You’re in this to edit your world - to add meaning and beauty and honesty. It’s your job. That might mean no label support. It might mean smaller gigs. No radio play. You don’t get to go viral.

We’re living in a day of silenced prophets and overload of meaninglessness. Don’t blame the Music Industry or the complainers. If you’re an artist and you’re not speaking, you can blame yourself. Or you can get back to doing what you were made for.

Formulaic Worship Music