Sovereign Grace Ministries Songwriter’s Retreat

img_0623A few weeks ago, I had the joy of gathering with 14 songwriters from Sovereign Grace churches to work on songs for some upcoming albums. Todd Twining hosted the event at Metro Life Church in Orlando.

This was our 6th retreat, and probably worked the best. The retreat was by invitation, but everyone who came paid their own way, for the most part. We started out Wednesday night with dinner and a few comments from me. I shared some encouraging emails we’ve received about songs we’ve written, just to remind everyone that God really does use the songs we write to affect people’s hearts and lives. 

featureimage03_r1_c2I also showed a portion of the video that tells the story of the CompassionArt CD. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s worth checking out their website. In January of 2008, Martin Smith gathered 12 established songwriters for a week in Scotland to write songs for a CD whose proceeds, sales and royalties, would benefit various charities that minister to the poorest of the poor. It was an impressive group: Paul Baloche, Steven Curtis Chapman, Stu Garrard (Delirious?), Israel Houghton, Tim Hughes, Graham Kendrick, Andy Park, Matt Redman, Martin Smith (Delirious?), Michael W. Smith and Darlene Zschech. What I wanted our writers to see was the humility of those involved, the collaboration that took place on the CompassionArt project, and the faith it took to write on the spot. We were inspired.

Thursday and Friday morning we took time before the Lord in song and prayer. The rest of the day was spent writing, co-writing, and rewriting. Previous to the retreat songwriters could post songs on a songwriter’s forum website we’ve set up. We told them we were working on two projects. The first is a children’s project for 7-10 year olds based on the fruit of the Spirit. the second is a CD built around themes related to being sons and daughters of God.

At the retreat, Mark Altrogge, Steve & Vikki Cook, and I sat in one room and listened to songs that people had been working on. We’d give comments and then the writers would head off to work on their songs. It was pretty much non-stop music.


What was different about this retreat is the number of times writers would ask others to help them change or finish a song. A majority of the songs we heard at the retreat were collaborations. This picture shows four writers presenting a song they worked on together. It was a wonderful demonstration of humility on everyone’s part.

Right now we’re in the process of reviewing songs and writing new ones. I can’t believe this is all part of my job.

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8 Responses to Sovereign Grace Ministries Songwriter’s Retreat

  1. Julie Eadie March 4, 2009 at 7:18 AM #

    Thanks for sharing. This sounds like it was such a wonderful time together.

  2. James Ward March 4, 2009 at 2:25 PM #

    Hey, Bob, thanks for your leadership and vision! I wanna come see you guys during my sabbatical Aug 9 – Nov 9.

    • Bob Kauflin March 4, 2009 at 3:09 PM #

      James, that would be great! Let me know in advance when you’ll be in town and we’ll try to grab a meal.

  3. Johnny Sierra March 4, 2009 at 5:08 PM #

    Great stuff! You mentioned a songwriting forum website that you have. What website is that?

    • Bob Kauflin March 4, 2009 at 5:40 PM #

      Johnny, It’s a private site we had someone set up for us using the phpBB open source software. It’s worked well for us. People can post MP3s and lyrics in different folders. Others can come by, download, listen, and/or leave comments.

  4. Emily March 9, 2009 at 9:16 PM #

    sounds like you had a good time. i was praying that God would use the conference to allow you all to create many new songs. i’ve been so blessed by the ones you’ve written so far. can’t wait to hear the new ones! :)

  5. Matt Jolley March 10, 2009 at 9:24 AM #

    I’ll really be looking forward to what comes out of this retreat! Thanks for writing biblical songs. I’ve been able to teach my students some of the songs from Come Weary Saints at the BCM here at Tulane University in New Orleans. Your songs have been a blessing to me, my staff, and our students. Thanks song writers!

  6. Carmen April 20, 2009 at 7:46 PM #

    Your retreat sounds like an amazing time of creativity and worship! I’m so glad I found this site–I’m going to absorb all I can as I seek God’s direction.

    Carmen/Grace Community, Ashburn, VA

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