MIKE HARLAND: Lifeway Worship Director on Successful Christian Songwriting

“The mistake I see young writers making sometimes… is they focus most of their energy on what they can do, instead of focusing their energy on being who they should be. If you’ll be who God wants you to be, He’ll take care of the doing what you should do.”

In this episode, John Chisum interviews the inimitable Dr. Mike Harland, Director of LifeWay Worship. LifeWay has reach into millions of believers and is one of the world’s largest Christian resource ministries offering a full range of music, Bible studies, research, events, and much more.

”I think we undervalue the process of writing songs, the impact that has on you the writer… The process of sitting down with pen and paper and pouring your heart out in song shapes you.”

Mike Harland has been at the helm of LifeWay Worship for twelve years and brings an amazing amount of information and depth about songs, songwriting, and the publishing industry in this powerful show.

“Get in that space in your head, where you learn all about the craft and then ‘forget it’ to be able to do what you do. Let the Lord anoint it and enable it.”

Catch up with Mike Harland on Twitter at @mikeharlandLW, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mike.harland.37 and check out all the great resources LifeWay offers at https://worship.lifeway.com.

Some topics we talk about in this episode:

  • How to write from the overflow of your devotion to God
  • How to follow God’s leading into your destiny and be who YOU are as a Christian songwriter
  • Why character matters more than ability
  • How frustration shuts you down creatively
  • Remembering that intimacy with God is our real “platform”
  • What LifeWay Worship is doing this year you should know about
  • Why no one would be “served well” if publishers threw their doors open to receive unsolicited material and how you can really be heard as an unpublished writer
  • Why you can’t hide a GREAT song (and how “I Can Only Imagine” was born)
  • How great songs will always “find their way” to the forefront
  • How songs are “good,” “great,” or “commercial”
  • What makes a song unique and the distance between great songs and commercial songs
  • What motivates publishers to publish YOUR songs
  • Why we don’t need another Lauren Daigle
  • Fanny Crosby, Xiao Min, and the idea of God “dropping songs” on people
  • Mike’s tips on song process and why we undervalue the process of writing songs and its effects on us as songwriters

How to get involved

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John Chisum

John Chisum is a pioneer in the Christian music business, serving alongside people such as Bill & Gloria Gaither, Twila Paris, Paul Baloche, Don Moen, and many more. As President of Nashville Christian Songwriters, John seeks to empower Christian songwriters worldwide to discover and fulfill their call to write.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ray Hollis

    Excellent article!! So many good points!

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