songwriting

What is the GQ (God Quotient) of Our Worship Songs?

Worship leader Mark Snyder offers tips on worship songwriting:

Worship songs are an area of vastly differing opinions. Evaluating what works and what doesn’t can be very subjective. One sentiment I hear and read all the time is ‘let’s take the focus off of us, or I, or me, and put it on God, where it belongs.’ In many ways, this is a push back on the effects of a ‘generation me’ culture. But, to figure out why a song leaves this impression is not as easy as it sounds.

As a career software engineer who is also a worship songwriter, I try to allow my analytical side to influence what I do musically. When I am songwriting or considering songs for my set list or recording projects, I like to think in terms of an analytical measure of a song I call the God Quotient (or GQ for short). GQ is a way to look at a song and try to evaluate its real focus.

Each song we use for corporate worship has a certain amount of creative energy expended to write it, and a focus it brings to the congregation. It is useful to examine where the creative energy of a song is strongest. Assuming a song is well written, theologically sound and grounded in Biblical truth, I like to then evaluate a song along several scales to look at its GQ.

I look at each lyric, especially focusing on the pronouns that describe me, or us, but also the ones that describe God. Repeated lyrics get more weighting. I also look at where the song has its strongest musical moments (typically the chorus and bridge) and what those are saying. Continue reading.