Wanted: Covenant Songwriters

WENATCHEE, WA (March 6, 2015) — “If Covenant songwriters don’t write new songs that remember and celebrate what it means to be followers of Christ in the Covenant church, who will?” Andrew Thompson wonders.

That’s why he and other worship leaders throughout the denomination are encouraging efforts to nurture Covenant songwriting, with the hopes that the best of the work will spread throughout our churches.

0306 thompson 2Thompson, pastor of Columbia Grove Covenant Church, was studying the top 50 songs on the CCLI charts when he noticed that about 40 percent of those songs came from the Vineyard Movement, a network of churches roughly the same size as the Covenant. Churches that sing contemporary music almost certainly sing at least one Vineyard song a month.

“The Vineyard had been proactive in developing songwriters to spread their theology,” Thompson says. “There’s nothing preventing us from doing that.”

He says it’s important for the Covenant to raise up its own songwriters as a way of carrying forth the denominational distinctives that include freedom in Christ, holistic mission, and “multifaceted understanding of the doctrine of atonement.”

Thompson has held several “Songwriter’s Bible Study” sessions in the past year via Google Hangouts. “It resulted in some cross-country collaboration between emerging writers,” he says. One result of the sessions is his collaboration with Michael Hill at Marin Covenant Church in San Rafael, California. “Using Hangouts we are able to do real-time writing together, even from a distance.”

Thompson co-led a “Songwriting for Christian Worship” class at North Park Theological Seminary. He and Geoff Twigg, who was then worship arts project coordinator for the denomination, taught basics of songwriting and discussed incorporating Covenant theology and liturgical considerations. Students broke into groups, and each group wrote a piece that corresponded with a particular section of a liturgical worship service. Songs were then used in the closing worship. Thompson will offer the workshop again in 2016 during the weekend prior to the Midwinter Conference in Chicago.

Thompson has blogged about “Writing Together,” and “What Is ‘Covenant’ Songwriting?

Songwriters also are invited to share ideas at Covenant Mix.

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About the Author

Stan Friedman

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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3 Comments

  1. Have you heard the wonderful new hymn that Jerry Jacoby wrote for the 100th Anniversary of Faith Covenant Church in Farmington Hills, Michigan? It is thankful for where we have been and hopeful of where we are going. He is a gifted musician who has been singing, playing and writing for years. He would be a good resource to write more music for the Covenant.
    Also, music that will last needs to be much better musically and contain better content that what has been deemed good music in the last number of years. Following a popular trend to have solo type music is not good for congregational singing. People need to be encouraged to sing together with “singable songs.” This is especially true as fewer kids have music training in school! Introduce new but good music. However, also, sing with “all the saints”. Don’t presume to have it all in only new. The “old” has a span of almost 2000 years! “Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” to “As the Deer” is a long time! Teach people how to get out- and read- the hymnal, which is a wonderful resource. Let them see and hear the beautiful harmony – harmony of parts and voices with meaningful words. Learn the hymns (actual translation: praise songs) of our long tradition- the wider church and the Covenant- as well as creating more worthwhile hymns.

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