Welcome to the Tool Shed

This blog is for artists, musicians, and worship leaders who are interested in the “what, why, and how” of what we do. 

People often request charts and lyrics to reproduce our songs within their own communities. Here we’ll post charts, lyrics as well as little tips and tricks etc. to help you play the songs. However I will also be posting my opinions and theories on songwriting, music worship and art. 
Opinion # 1:
Whether your Bob Dylan or Lil Wayne, if your a songwriter your job is to help us SAY something. Songwriters help us say the things that we really want to say but may not be articulate enough to say or may be too polite to say. Often songwriters say things for us so that we don’t feel like we have to say them. However you want to look at it a worship leader is certainly no different. Actually the concept is actually quite a bit more obvious when it comes to church music.  So all this to say that my goal is to help people say the things they need to say. 
Bottom line: I love the idea that you want to use our music in your community. I see nothing wrong with it and completely encourage it. But if you really want to do what we do, then please also write music for your own community. Few things are more powerful than when a group of people feel like they own a song. This is when people are vocalizing things they really feel inside of themselves and not just uttering the tired religious cliches they feel obligated to repeat.
So please enjoy the charts  but don’t just cover our music. Find your own sound. It’s just as good as anything we do.
John Mark
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6 comments
  1. I’ve heard you teach on songwriting and something that has struck me and stays with me is what you said about reading and reading widely…well, what if you’re someone like me who really dislikes reading? Should I just go for it, hunker down and pray for daylight and turn another page? 🙂

  2. Hey John Mark, Your ideas on writing “indigenous” music that I’ve heard from MorningStar teachings have totally transformed my way of thinking on worship. I agree that the church is needing to usher in that new sound, but it’s not going to happen by doing a million covers. I respect you and your music very much. Aaaand, we still cover your music. I especially love doing “Dress Us Up.” :o)

  3. Stephen said:

    i like your points here and i agree. i look forward to reading more thoughts, tips, etc.question: Goshen House mentioned MorningStar teachings. what is this? where might i find these teachings?thanks for keeping it real….stephen

  4. hey john mark,dont know if you read these, or if they forward to your email, but here goes. man , you are so appreciated by me and others, you dont even know. please, keep going where you are going. i am a worship leader who has led a ton in the past, been out of it now for a few years, but so so so discouraged and just mad sometimes at the religious music industry. you have mentioned ideas here and on your john mark site, and i agree.im especially curious how you lead, how your community worhsip settings look… what songs you use, how you find creative expression in a different setting that a purely creative platform like an album. its different( i think ) because the album is not quite as much responsible for bringing the group of people to a certain place together.I am not asking this to “repeat” or copy what you guys do. far from it, I Realize that cain can keep his own hair, Ill use mine own however it may be. I know you understand.anyway, any posts related to this, would be super appreciated.thanks!chad

  5. I really like that you encourage other musicians to find their own sound. God has so much creativity that with a single ounce of it we can change the world. Also, it's really good for worship leaders & musicians to write music for their own community because they know their community like no one else. They see the struggles of their city & its needs.Thanks for posting this. 🙂

  6. Danielle said:

    Thanks! Im looking forward to reading this and am excited about songwriting!!!

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