By Chris Davis (Worship Pastor, Mid-Cities Church)
Since Every Nation Music is “a global community of songwriters,” it would stand to reason that investing in songwriters would be at the forefront of our vision and mission. One of the ways we do this is through Worship Writer’s Workshops, or W3’s for short. W3 is a three day event in which writers receive practical training, teaching, and even get the opportunity to put what they’re learning into practice through afternoon writing sessions.
In mid-September, we had the privilege of hosting songwriters from all over Texas and New Mexico for W3 West. We were so blessed to have worship leader and songwriter, Tony Sutherland, join us to teach and impart his expertise. Our team of writers were greatly impacted by the training and Mid-Cities Worship is even currently recording one of the songs written at the event. “Unshakable” will be featured on our upcoming album, “The Songs We Sing,” which will be released February 17. This song was co-written by Nathan Brown (Austin, TX), Brooklynn Ward (Odessa, TX), and Dawn Bartlett (Crane, TX).
In all honesty, I’m not a very good songwriter. This is not false humility or a plea for approval through self-deprecation. I’m really not all that great when I write by myself... I’ve written a few songs on my own, but none of them are standouts. However, I do feel I have much to contribute when working together with a group of songwriters. I have been fortunate to have a hand in co-writing several songs that I am very proud to have my name on. When people ask me about my songwriting abilities, my reply is usually simple… “ I’m not a very good writer, but I’m a pretty good co-writer."
Whether you’re writing songs for a small church congregation, or for the masses, there are major benefits to co-writing.
Benefits of Co-Writing
1. We > Me
There is a synergy that comes with writing as a group. The sum of each member’s contribution and ability somehow adds up to something greater than anyone in the group imagined. If you’ve ever co-written, you’ve probably experienced this synergy. One team member may be good at lyrics, while another specializes at creating great melodies, and another team member has an amazing feel for keeping the song unique.
2. You Grow as a Writer
I have learned so much from the writers I’ve worked with. Jon Owens’ passion about the context for which we were writing the song “Many Waters,” Lane Oliver’s “no compromise” attitude when working out the bridge of “Giants Fall” (we went through probably 15 versions before we were happy with the final version), are just two examples that come to mind. Co-writing is a great opportunity to team up with people who are better than you and can challenge you to grow.
There is a really cool bond that happens when you write a song with someone. Whether it’s someone from your church, or someone you just met. One of my favorite things about being part of Every Nation Music is that I get to connect and write music with people from all around the world. The relationships that are forged through writing a song go deep and I’m privileged to have written with many people who I admire and appreciate greatly!
For some, writing with others can be intimidating, stretching, and even frustrating. But if you will focus on becoming the best co-writer you can be, you will find the process more enjoyable and begin to write better songs.