We continue the Worship Leader Process series this week with Paul Baloche. Don’t forget that when you tweet or post this content on Facebook you register to win some BEATS BY DRE.
My friend Paul is one of the most prolific worship writers of all time. Chances are if you look at the setlist from your local worship service Paul’s name is on several of the songs. Paul is an avid Beatles fan and leads worship at his local church, Community Christian Fellowship, in Lindel Texas. Paul just released a new album, Same Love, and you can get it here. Now, for the 9 questions with on of the most creative and hardest working guys I know:
1. What does your creative process look like?
- It consists of capturing any and all “inspired ideas” that catch my attention. I record the ideas on my iPhone – from prayers, sermons, or everyday life – then I carve out time during the week to listen back to those recordings – worship with them, play with them, and see if anything starts to take shape. I usually have several song ideas going at the same time.
2. When you write worship songs do you identify a target audience or focus on theme?
- After an inspired idea starts to take shape I’ll consider what direction or what focus the idea should take, asking “Does this seem like it should be a ballad? an anthem? etc. ” Also, I’ll try to focus the lyric more and more as the song unfolds, expanding on a concept or theme instead of trying to cover the whole Bible in one song.
3. Do you have a favorite place to write or create?
- Not really. I’m kind of A.D.D. so staying in one place stifles me. I’ll start off in my church sanctuary or home office, then go for a walk with the ideas floating around, then back home, etc.
4. What inspires you the most?
- Life, creation, sunsets, clouds, etc. Visual things inspire me. However, I find that my best “inspired moments” come to me when I’m in the midst of leading worship, praying, getting “lost in God” – when I’m not “trying” to be creative.
5. When you feel you have hit a creative block, how do you overcome that moment?
- Listening to new music, checking out some random bands on iTunes can help. Going for a walk, listening to a podcast sermon. That’s also a good time to get with another writer or musician to stir things up.
6. Do you prefer to create in community or on your own?
- I love community. I gravitate toward co-writing situations even if I feel like my song idea is almost finished. There is something about getting with a person you trust – sharing stories, coffee, prayer, etc. that leads to something very organic and new. Even if you don’t finish a song, the time was well spent and good for the soul.
7. What is the hardest part of creating worship sets every week (or as often as you lead worship)?
- The hardest part would be deciding if you’re teaching too many songs or getting stale. Also, keeping my heart fresh from week to week so that my worship leading doesn’t feel like “a job’ or “a gig”, but rather an overflow of some alone time with God. I typically stand on the platform with my guitar, worshiping or singing scripture when the sanctuary is empty during the week. Maybe an hour on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons. I find that this practice helps me when I show up on Sunday morning and the Church is full.
8. How do you balance original songs with songs that are leading the global church when you are creating a set?
- I try not to take advantage of my captive audience (congregation) by pre-screening a lot of my new songs. I generally don’t share a new song of mine unless it stands out and feels strong during rehearsals. Over the years we probably are at a 50/50 ratio of original songs vs. global songs.
9. Who is the one writer you have not worked with that you would love to write a song with?
- hmmm. Bono? Jon Foreman? Mark Hall?