We asked Tim Williams to share about his new church project ‘Southville Music’ and the challenge of writing 100 songs in one year.
I remember the day well. My senior pastor, Howard Davenport, and I were sat in the upstairs room of Cafe Nero in Yeovil (as all good pastors do), and we began chatting about how the Holy Spirit was moving in the church around the world at the moment. After quite a bit of discussion, we both agreed that one of the key ways that He seems to be working at the moment is through music. We know that our God is unchanging in who He is, but that He is also a God of the 'new thing' (Isaiah 43:19).
If you look back over the last 40 years or so, God has done some incredible things and you can see a real progression of how the Spirit was working. At one time, the Spirit was moving powerfully through house churches, then through big crusades and football stadium evangelistic events, and now over the last 10 to 20 years or so, the Spirit seems to be really moving through music.
You look at places like Hillsong, Bethel, Elevation Church, and consistently a massive part of what they do, and a huge part of how God has been working is through music. We wanted to catch on to that. So we decided to go away and pray and think about what this meant for us.
The conclusion of that conversation was that we felt we could really reach out to people through music, and more specifically through the internet. God is working in fantastic ways through the internet! What if we were to write some beautiful, God glorifying songs, and then create some stunning videos to work alongside them, and share them on the internet.
How many people could we reach who would never step foot in a church building, but who would probably play 30 seconds of a video that their friend shared on Facebook. What if they could capture just 5 seconds of the heart of God for them through one of these songs. That would really be incredible! So we're doing it!
We set ourselves a goal of writing 100 songs over the course of this year, and then we are going to whittle those hundred down through a series of 'hoops' until we get down to the final 13 that are going to go on the album. We are then working with a Christian video company called 'Louder than Words' to create some beautiful videos that can work with these songs to help bring people to know Jesus.
The best part about this project has been the way it has engaged the whole church. We have a core team of about 12 song writers who are meeting up once or twice a month to write, and these people range from 13 years old to some in their 50's. But it doesn't stop there. We opened this journey up to our church and said we'd love them to come along with us, and we then had a lady who is well into her 90's send us in some lyrics that she had been working on.
This project is actively engaging children, all the way through to those much older and we love it! Even if this whole project boils down to just the fact that we've managed to actively engage our church in really thinking, and delving into how they can ascribe worth to God through these songs, it will have been worth it.
It's a fantastic roller coaster journey that we are on, but we are absolutely loving it! We go into the studio Feb 2017 to record the album and hope to release it in May/June 2017 so keep your eyes peeled!
You can find out more information at www.southvillemusic.co.uk.
Questions: How are you encouraging song writing in your church? Leave a comment below.