Beware the Song Without Form

Featuring Paul Baloche Posted on January 18, 2010

A song without form is a blob. Even a sidewalk must have a form before it’s poured, or the concrete will spread out into a shapeless mess. A river’s banks are the form that determines where the water goes and holds it in its course. Form simply means the shape of the song, whether it’s verse-verse-verse-verse, (AAAA) or verse-chorus-verse-chorus, (ABAB) or verse-verse-bridge-verse (AABA) or some other combination. A song’s form gives it order and cohesion, enables people to sing it together and helps them remember it.  Many worship songs are just one chorus repeated over and over. 

When your first idea comes for a song and you begin to develop it, you’ll need to decide whether it’s a verse or a chorus. What else does it need to say? Which form would best serve its purpose? When Paul was first working on the title song for his album, Offering, he thought what he had was a chorus: “The sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love...” He sang it for Rita, and she said, “That feels like a verse. When you get through singing that, it makes me want to hear a chorus.” At first he was disappointed, but later he realized she was right. What he had was a verse that was crying out for a chorus to complete it.  He went back to the greenhouse and completed the song. 


The sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love 

There is no shadow in Your presence 

No mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne 

Before the Holy One of Heaven 

It’s only by Your blood 

And it’s only through Your mercy Lord I come 


I bring an offering of worship to my King 

No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing 

Jesus may You receive the honor that You’re due 

O Lord I bring an offering to You 

 As I was leading worship in my church one Sunday morning, I looked out over the congregation at a certain point and noticed many people sitting down, watching the band instead of being engaged in worship. I stopped the band and pointed this out to the congregation and encouraged them not to be just spectators during our times of worship, but to be pro-active and to bring an offering of praise to the Lord. Whether it’s an offering of thanks, praise, intercession, or a cry for mercy, we need to bring something of ourselves to the Lord in our times of corporate worship. I thought to myself, “We need a song that talks about bringing an offering of worship to the Lord.” So in the following weeks I began to prayerfully sing out some ideas at the piano. And little by little, the song, "Offering" came into being. The verses try to paint a picture of a God Who is awesome beyond our comprehension and the only way we can approach this God is through the blood of Christ and by His mercy.  As we come to Him by faith, we bring an offering of worship to our King. 


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