Songwriting Tip: Only One Thing


One of the biggest challenges in writing a worship song is to narrow the focus.

Many times novice songwriters in particular have way too many unrelated ideas. A song bounces from God’s love, to his power, to his forgiveness, like a man in a shooting gallery at the fair – firing first at the row of ducks, then up at the targets, then over to the bears, then back at the ducks.

One way to focus is to state in one sentence what the song is about.

For example, you might say, “I want to write a song about how God is faithful to us when we are suffering.” Or “I want to write a song about how God is true to his promises.” Sometimes when I’ve floundered for hours on a song I’ve asked myself: “In one sentence, what do I want to say?” and it has brought clarity to the process.

After stating a clear theme sentence, make every verse and every line about that theme.

Go through your song line by line and ask yourself if each one is about the topic. Do any lines take the song in a different direction? Be ruthless. Don’t settle for filler lines or easy rhymes that don’t fit the theme.

Work hard to craft the best song you can for God’s glory.

photo by holeymoon

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I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I’ve written a lot of worship songs. I also like to paint.


  1. says

    I've learned by painful experience to always do this and it's saved me from numerous 'banging my head against a wall' moments.

    Great advice, Mark. keep 'em coming!

  2. says

    Mark & Steven… I would love to mail you a CD – you can review it if you like, but mainly I just want to get it in your hands. Mark already had input on one of the songs at WG08 during the songwriting session. I've already given one to Bob. Anyway, you can email me at

    Thanks and blessings!

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