Writing songs for your congregation
This Christmas I was inspired by hearing the song “Emmanuel (God has come to us)” by the Trinity Anglican Worship Band. I wanted to share this song with my congregation, and I know that they have not been exposed to the song before, so as the music director I get to have control of the experience (Never underestimate the importance of controlling the way music/worship is experienced by the congregation, especially if it is the first time they are being exposed to something.) of first hearing/singing this song. The song is repetitive in its melody and very “singable.” So the song will teach itself if the vocalists sing it strongly enough as to lead the congregation.
To make the experience more impactful I have added two verses onto the end of the song (once the congregation has picked up the tune). These two new verses touch on our culture and our reality of being a Church in a community that sits on the border between areas that people think of as being in Atlanta and the suburbs. We are also surrounded by neighborhoods that are changing demographically. I also make a reference to the neighborhood of homes on our campus which are being used to house refugees.
The original version is linked to the post, and my version is attached below...