The Music and Musings of Steve Cass
8 Reasons Why this Book Could Change Your Life
How to Be A Worship Songwriter: The Complete Solution
Master the Craft – Serve the Community – Get Your Songs Heard
It’s designed specifically for you to write congregational songs for your local community and beyond.
So, listen to the call and become
the worship songwriter you were born to be.
I’m not saying this because I need to make a buck.
I’m telling you about this book because I’m driven just like you: a songwriter called by God to follow my dream. Specifically, I’m called to write congregational songs.
You and I passionately want others to feel the life-changing power of God while singing our songs at church.
This dream changed my life. Now, I’ll show you how to write GREAT worship songs. You’ll create songs so compelling, local worship leaders will have a hard time saying no to you. Your skills will make a lasting impression on congregations and pastors.
You’ll learn exactly how to get your songs heard by local churches.
Your knowledge will make you attractive to other skilled songwriters and artists.
And I’ve developed a full plan for you to take part in – or help create – a local songwriting organization. It’s designed to be the central hub for distributing your songs locally, regionally, and nationally.
Even if you don’t join or create this local organization, you’ll have all the information you need with this book to become a top-level congregational songwriter.
And I guarantee you’ll make strong and steady progress towards your goal of getting your songs heard. Faster than you thought possible.
Scripture is crystal-clear that we’re made to sing together in unity for the glory of God.
And I’m firmly committed to promote this unity. My experience has me more inspired than ever to continue creating songs for the church.
I’m so excited to present this.
Because of 49+ years as a church musician, 14 years as a worship leader – church leadership – church planter, and 25 years as a songwriter with 60+ song titles with Christian Copyright Licensing, I’m ready. God has urged me to document the required leadership, discipleship, and unique song crafting skills for those who want to learn this high art form.
If you’re interested to learn how to craft well-composed, singable tunes that are theologically accurate, this is the book for you.
I’ve done the research. There are well over 20 titles on songwriting philosophy, worship leading, musician experiences in the church, and musicianship books written from a Christian and non-Christian points of view. And none of them mention more than a paragraph, if that, about how to write congregational worship songs. Or any sort of analysis on their parts or how they work.
You won’t find this specialized information about congregational songwriting anywhere but inside this book.
Worship is our response to God. And music is his gift that moves us beyond ways to describe it.
And to the best of our abilities, we’ll cry out to him in thanksgiving, sadness, desperation, love, honor, amazement … and a hundred other emotions.
There are great singers and some not so great. No matter, we do this in unity. We make the untrained singer feel it’s ok to join in.
God made singing together the healthiest element of our lives. It may very well be the only activity that combines all of our strength, heart, mind, and soul into a single effort. This praises God and heals us at the same time. He knows this!
We respond in awe and wonder to the God that gives us breath and sustains us.
The skillful songwriter helps us respond to the greatest story ever told: how a God – who loved us first – pursues us, dies for us, and gives us undeserved grace. All because he wants the fullness of life for us.
Learning to write congregational songs begin with the same skill set common to writing any good song lyric. Especially in six areas:
But there’s special consideration in each area for congregational songs. In the book, over 50 modern worship songs are mentioned or dissected to show how their lyric is unique.
The deconstruction of many modern congregational lyrics show how they’re connected to a single thought and emotion. This is one reason they’re so successful: they’re simple. But don’t let the word ‘simple’ convince you they’re easy to write.
It takes talent to learn to write more simply and to be a strong communicator. Writing simply, concisely, with clarity, and with economic word power is hard work.
Unlike other types of lyrics, we spend time with God in prayer to develop our ideas so others will soar with us and sing along.
We’re writing about the greatest story ever told. Telling that story in a fresh way is a unique challenge.
This original melody study is tailored for the worship songwriter.
Of course there’s nothing new under the sun. I didn’t invent a new way to look at melodies.
But until now, no one has compiled a study of melodies created for modern worship. The melodies follow the ‘rules’ of many great songs (and I mention some of the non-church greats), but there’s a special craft for this style.
I use a tool so you can see the shape of melodies. It’s an eye-opener. And I dissect several melodies to show why they’re so effective.
This is a productive way to see why they’re singable, memorable, and invite participation. These things make congregational songs stand apart.
The book analyzes successful melodies and shows why they’re unique.
One aspect of melody writing for congregational singing is the note range. We’re writing for groups of folks who mostly aren’t trained singers. Since ‘participatory’ is the goal, it’s helpful to understand what note range is best. Some have said that C note to C note, one octave is a good target. Others have said that less than one octave is best.
In this book, read more about the note range, the shape, the repetition, and the rhythm of melodies in great worship songs.
You’ll fall in love with writing melodies, and become a life-long student.
Am I a lawyer? No. But I am a music publisher, and I know the law.
Always seek legal advice.
No publisher, lawyer, or church leader has shown exactly how U.S. copyright law works for the church.
But I will.
Yes, there are plenty of articles, blogs, ebooks, and books in print on how it affects the church. All are biased toward their own business model or written strictly from a moral perspective (understandably).
Or they’re opinion. How to Be a Worship Songwriter is not an opinion, it’s a researched conclusion.
I guarantee you haven’t seen information this complete and concise. And easy to read.
This book clearly and specifically outlines legal concerns for using copyrighted songs in church.
I write the information here for a single understanding: how it affects houses of worship. And ultimately you, the worship songwriter.
When you read this section of the book, you’ll (and remember, it’s visual and all the words and ideas are short and to the point):
It’s written for reading ease and easy understanding. I present the information only to build a case for our exact circumstance as songwriters for the church.
The text doesn’t meander with this or that story.
How are Royalties Generated for Music Used in Church?
Well, not from the normal sources …
According to U.S. law, houses of worship are exempt from two of the six exclusive rights of the copyright holder: the right to display and perform the work during the course of services.
Because of this exemption in copyright law, the book tells how two organizations, Christian Copyright Solutions and Christian Copyright Licensing, have stepped in to raise money to give the songwriter and holder of rights the wages they’re due.
Discover how you can collect songwriting royalties from one of them without signing a deal with a major publisher.
This knowledge is powerful and practical. It will bring income for you and for your local songwriting organization (coming up next …)
Royalty income for your songs isn’t the driving force behind your songwriting success. Building community is. We all want to receive money for our work. Jesus says a worker is due his wages.
But he said to seek the Kingdom first, and all of our true needs and desires will follow.
I’ve created a system where your songcraft seeks to honor the Kingdom first. We will achieve success by first honoring and blessing local churches with our songs. In this way, we’ll sow the seeds for future royalties.
This system is known as ‘local theology’.
Allow the worship of your local congregation to reflect songs of how God is moving in your community.
You can build a songwriting community based on this principle. When royalty income comes from your songs, consider using these funds to help sustain your new community.
This is a unique solution centered on growing your skills as a songwriter. It shows you how to:
2. concentrate on the delivery of fresh worship songs to local churches
3. build a self-sustaining organization designed to keep 1 and 2 alive.
This organization doesn’t belong to any single church. It’s a unique songwriter collective that belongs to the community.
Every community should have one or more. Find other like-minded people in your town or city. Don’t worry if it only starts with you and one other person.
It’s a new way to encourage local songwriters to be active in their communities. This organization isn’t about money, it’s about sustaining this idea of local theology. When money comes, use it wisely for the Kingdom.
What Does this Organization Do?
The organization looks like you want it to. The main idea is for songwriters to sharpen each other. A regular agenda might be:
As Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron.”
* If you and the organization desire it, you’ll create a record label and publishing company to help promote chosen songs to the next level.
How are songs chosen to go to the next level?
One of the most important measures of song promotion is how they’re received by local congregations. The leadership of the songwriting community will decide what songs should be promoted.
See Reason 7 for more information.
If you don’t promote songs to the next level, that’s ok. You’ll accomplish the most astonishing missing link in today’s local churches: celebrating victories and challenges by taking part in singing locally written songs. Songs that are relevant and are born right in the community.
Become a champion of local theology.
The principle of worship song promotion works like this: GREAT songs will rise to regional and national audiences as the LOCAL congregations show the song is ready to rise.
The songwriting organization becomes the champion of the songwriter, and the songwriter becomes the champion of their congregation. Or other local congregations. The congregations signal when a song is ready for promotion, and the organization makes that happen, as they’re able.
There’s a secret ingredient, that’s really not-so-secret: songs in churches raise money that allows royalties payments to songwriters from an organization called Christian Copyright Licensing.
See Reason 5 and read the book to understand how.
Any worship songwriter can receive royalty payments from them. Because of the focus on “iron sharpens iron” of your new organization, the visibility of the songs will be magnified and royalties available to the songwriters will be multiplied.
But the advantage of using this secret isn’t for the sake of money. It’s a plan that increases the visibility for the songs in the local, regional, national, and international communities due to CCLI’s SongSelect service.
The most important aspect of congregational songwriting is serving the local community. That’s where it starts. That’s the focus. God designed us to flourish right where we’re planted.
Dedicated worship songwriters sharpen each other, just as “iron sharpens iron”.
A written song critique / song building form – specifically designed for congregational songs with the principles outlined in the book – accelerates the learning curve because of the laser focus on excellent songcrafting and because you learn to critique each other’s songs.
The songwriting critique form is built around the following criteria:
The form itself is an indispensable tool for writing strong songs for churches. It’s strong enough to stand alone from the book. Individuals or groups can use it. But it’s really best to have both the book and the form because the book provides insights to the questions.
It’s designed so you’ll become a go-to songwriter. You’ll be sought by many writing partners and artists because of your understanding of how great songwriting works!
It’s quite particular, with over 100 questions requiring Yes/No plus essay answers. See how this form alone will make you a stronger songwriter!
This is more than a book. It’s an idea that places you in the heart of local theology:
Allow the worship of your local congregation to reflect songs of how God is moving in your community.
Songwriters can grow in their craft and flourish while coming alongside their local churches and bless them with well-written songs. They help them live and thrive because music touches the heart like nothing else. We can help communities praise God and honor, acknowledge, memorialize, and support each other in song.
This book presents a complete solution for you to become a strong congregational worship songwriter so you can serve God’s kingdom first. And you’ll receive royalties because of your efforts.
And royalties received will help build and sustain a dedicated organization for this cause. As the organization records and distributes songs to the local churches, it can expand and market recording projects on a regular basis, if desired.
We seek to bridge the skill gap between the aspiring and professional songwriter:
We pledge to build up the local community by:
We dedicate ourselves to the songwriter:
You don’t have to create this organization to become a strong songwriter. You can accomplish that with the information in this book. But dream with me and help make local theology a reality for your church.
Are you ready?
Local theology is a valuable missing link in churches today, in my humble opinion. A long-forgotten aspect of how we were built to worship. I’ll show you the healing power you have with great songs, and how they can become a strong asset for your ministry, livelihood, and community.
Order the book today. See the value in developing and growing as a songwriter that’s a blessing to your community.
Become the worship songwriter you were born to be.
P.S. Are you interested in creating or participating in a local songwriting chapter? Please see the link on the order page to sign up. I’ll post a link on that same page to show you the current list and location of those folks interested.