“ I will love and I will serve With a love that’s yours and a heart transformed…”
Just some of the latest offerings from the talented musicians within our own Baptist churches. Using their gifts to worship our great God.
Christian music is a hugely popular music genre, ranking higher than jazz and classical music as the most sold genre in America. In 2013, Christian bands writing secular music, consistently ranked in the top 10 of mainstream albums sold in America. The likes of Matt Redman, Lecrae, Casting Crowns and Israel Houghton to name a few, regularly win Dove and Grammy Awards for their music. Hillsong’s Zion album debuted at no. 5 on the US Billboard charts; not in the genre of Christian/ Gospel music as you would expect, but on the mainstream Billboard 200 chart.
So with the proliferation of Christian music currently being written, why should we as Baptists, write our own songs? What can we possibly contribute that isn’t already in our churches and on our radios? I spoke to Ryan Day (RD) and John Crawford (JC) for their insights into the importance of writing our own music.
Given there is so much good Christian music being written, why is it important for us to write our own music?
RD: It’s important for us to develop a culture of corporate worship within our churches that reflects our values, theology, style and voice as a denomination. This will help us create a deeper sense of ownership, identity and engagement across our family of churches with what God is doing uniquely in our movement.
JC: The words and music of any song should reflect the culture and heart of a local church, or indeed, a whole movement. Writing our own songs gives a united voice to something that is uniquely Baptist, and a voice for our creatives.
Our movement has been writing our own songs for a few years now, what growth and development have you seen in that time?
RD: In the past few years, we’ve seen a growing community of songwriters and musicians, who are passionate about investing and serving in the gathered worship of our local communities. We have experienced a deeper theology in our songs as we grow, learn, wrestle and partner with others, striving to write stronger songs, reflecting deeper theological truths.
JC: A collective acceptance that they have something of value to share with their church and the broader Baptist community. They continue to grow as wordsmiths, and in musical capacity, whilst remaining true to God’s word, and accessible to a vast majority of Baptist communities. They have also grown spiritually and in confidence in their God given ability.
What is your long-term vision for music within our denomination?
RD: I would love to see the music written and recorded by our churches igniting a movement of new worship music across our denomination nationally, impacting worship communities around our nation and the world!
JC: That the songs of worship will facilitate a growing unity of all that our movement is becoming, and that the voices of our creatives will have a growing acceptance by the Baptist community, so that in 5-10 years time, Baptist creatives will have a significant voice globally.
So, why create our own music? Identity. Culture. Relationships. Growth. These are the reasons it is important, dare I say, imperative we embrace and champion our own homegrown worship.