Salvation Worship Songwriters
We wanted you to get the chance to meet the writers who's songs have been selected and get some insight into their process and what inspires them to write.
Most of our songs have come in through the SAWM Song Search. Submissions for the Song Search have come in from around the world. Once the submission deadline passed, the songs were organized and sent to a global team for adjudication. The adjudication panel was comprised of territorial worship leading experts from the UK, Australia, USA, New Zealand and Canada. The panel received a standardized recording of each song so that there was no difference in the way the songs were interpreted. The aim was to get a wide perspective on songs as well as consideration for different worship styles across the Army world.
We are proud to be continuing the tradition of Salvation Army songwriting and to bring that into our modern context so that congregations across the world have a 'new song' to sing as they worship our amazing God.
2022 Salvation Worship Writers
Sothwark Community Church
United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Territory
Some of my earliest memories growing up include listening to my dad play guitar and singing songs he had written to put me to bed. Music was a part of my life before I could even walk, and I have always loved different kinds of musical expressions.
I first picked up a guitar at 10 years old and was soon playing in different church bands and projects. In my later teens and early twenties, I was part of some semi-successful secular rock bands. For a while, I thought that was the direction I wanted my life to go, but I started to feel that there was something missing in my life.
It was during this time that I recommitted my life to Christ and my life started to head in a different direction. During this faith journey, my music started to reflect my faith and my lifestyle. I started to play in a wide variety of worship groups in my division. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure to lead worship across the country and be part of several awesome bands and projects. I also started to write songs that reflect my personal experience of being a Christian and I’ve found the whole process of writing songs helpful in my walk with God.
Nothing but Jesus came to me during some free time I had at a Salvation Army leaders conference. I was reflecting on the faithfulness of God and how He was all I wanted and needed in life. I had the idea to rework the hymn and a new melody came to me. I sang it to my friend Sarah Rose. She wrote some lyrics and helped bring the song to life. It is a song that is a declaration that Jesus is all we need in life. He has the power to make us whole and restore our lives. I hope that when people hear this song that they are reminded of His goodness to us.
United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Territory
I’ve been a member of Romford Salvation Army nearly all my life. I have always enjoyed being part of the musical sections, including growing up through the YP band, singing company, and various other instrumental and a cappella groups. I now continue my music ministry by playing keyboard in our worship band FulPhilled. I also occasionally bring out the euphonium and cello to play during the Christmas carolling season. I started song writing in 2018 and I love using this medium as an act of worship. I also enjoy the creative challenge and process that it brings.
Where Heaven Meets Earth was inspired by a member of our congregation who was talking about the Celtic concept of “the thin places” – locations that are spiritually beautiful. The place where Heaven meets earth. As the verses focus progressively on God, Jesus, and Spirit by inviting them to come to us, the song also reminds us that Heaven can meet earth right where we are if we listen to God’s voice and open our eyes to see His glory around us.
Father Lead Us was based on Romford Salvation Army’s corps vision that was created under the leadership of Captains Mark and Julia Cozens in 2019:
As disciples of Jesus, we will be passionate, prayerful, and led by His Spirit to deepen our relationships with Him and others, leading them to Christ.
Our church will be a growing, diverse, friendly, and inclusive family, totally dependent on Christ, which serves and enhances our local community.
Although originally written for our local context, this song is a vision and prayer that I’m sure will resonate with other church communities that wish to grow together under God’s leading, with Jesus’ healing, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Osei Stewart (Major)
Hawai'i Kroc Corps and Community Centre
USA Western Territory
Music has always been a big part of my life, but especially as God has used it to draw me to Himself and to minister to me in meaningful ways. I use music to reach those who need a touch from the Saviour. God is in the music. God is in the lyrics, and He brings inspiration to me to draw closer to Him and to better understand His word and purpose for my life. It serves as a way for me to express my relationship with Him so others may understand my testimony of God’s work in my heart and life. I currently sing tenor in the USA Western Territory Staff Songsters where I can share my gift of singing and music. I also participate in music ministry at my corps.
The song Emptied came about because I was going through a rough patch in my walk with the Lord. I had begun to shift focus on me and what I was doing in my own strength. I had abandoned God in some ways and was so far away from Him, even though I was a full-time corps officer. While lying in bed after reading Philippians 2, I fell asleep and dreamed what would be my complete song of surrender to God – from lyrics to melody, piano, strings etc. Based on Philippians 2, the song reminded me that if Jesus was emptied and lowered Himself for me, I need to do the same and give over my selfish ways to Him so that I could be useful for the Kingdom work He had called me to do. The song is a call to have the same mind of Christ so that the focus can be on serving others above ourselves.
Southlands Community Church
Canada and Bermuda Territory
I was born in Northern Ireland and moved to Canada with my family when I was 14. Growing up in the church, I was the classic introvert and in some ways I still am. During worship, I would sing very quietly and would be nervous if someone heard me sing. Who would have thought that the quiet British kid who would feel anxious if someone heard him sing would be leading worship for the last eight years! Since starting to lead worship in 2013, each Sunday I would feel nauseous and anxious to lead, but I would continue to give everything I have to God to honour His name.
This is how I know I lead only by God’s strength and not my own. In 2018, I had a calling placed on my heart to start a music ministry on top of my existing ministry at my corps. That calling was to use the gifts God has given me to spread the message “to worship in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) This ministry is about demonstrating a heart of worship by example, whether it be posting scripture, covering songs that have depth and meaning, or creating original songs that reflect the grace and holiness of God. If this calling required perfection, I would not be where I am today.
When I’m writing songs, I do a deep dive into the Psalms. This is where I get so much of my inspiration. Who Can Dwell was inspired by Psalm 15. I love the imagery of a back-and-forth conversation between asking and answering the question of who can dwell with God that the psalm speaks about. The verses ask the questions, and the chorus is the answer. The bridge is what glues the verses and chorus together. It reminds us that the one who is blameless and righteous before God is not because of who they are or what they’ve done, but rather it is because of those who call on the name of the Lord. Those who are washed by the blood of the Lamb can be called children of God, therefore making us worthy to stand before God.
John and Natalie Hanchett
Hedge End Corps
United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Territory
We have shared in music ministry since meeting in 1998. In over 21 years of marriage, God has been so good to us and has given us many opportunities to lead worship in a variety of settings. It is always a joy to find ways to provide engaging and meaningful worship experiences. This ministry is part of why God has placed us in each other’s life journey.
We attend Hedge End Salvation Army with our two daughters, Alana (15) and Bethany (12). It is a vibrant and family-orientated expression of church. We are involved in many ministries, including music. Natalie works for the UK & Republic of Ireland Territory as a Territorial Community Engagement Lead. John works as a music teacher. Our passion is to see people find their true self and reach their God-given potential through the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
To be in communion with the Holy Spirit is personal and utterly intentional. We come into every activity in life looking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Within moments of worship, our connection with the Holy Spirit can lift our souls to extreme connection, allowing a freedom in our response. As we read in Acts 2, we pray this song helps to bring worshippers into the roaring presence of the Holy Spirit. Moments of encounter that are truly powerful and life changing. We pray the Holy Spirit will enable big dreams to be dreamt, raising an Army of Holy Spirit fuelled believers.
Canada and Bermuda Territory
My music ministry began when I was just a kid and my officer parents started having me sing in church. At the time, my home church helped to develop that passion and skill in me. It developed even more as I spent summers working on camp staff and studied at Booth College in Winnipeg after graduating high school. I have worked for The Salvation Army for almost 10 years now, first as a Youth Director and now as a full-time Worship Director at Glenmore Temple in Calgary, Alberta. I am so thankful for the passion God has given me for leading His people in worship; I’m not sure who I would be if this seed hadn’t been planted in my life at a young age. I’m so thankful for people who have mentored me and continue to mentor me along the way. My husband Steve and I have been married for 14 years and have lived in Calgary for the last five years. We love to hike in the mountains and are always up for an adventure!
I’ve never been much of a songwriter. I have always wanted to be, and I have admired the way people are able to put together simple words to create the most beautiful, poetic phrases about faith, hope, love, and life. Over the last few years, I’ve felt God putting melodies and words into my heart. I’ve been trying to work up the courage to turn them into something. The words of the hymn Take My Life, though simple, have always been challenging and beautiful to me. One morning during an online church service, God breathed this new melody for these ancient words into my heart and it was almost completely effortless, as if He was sitting next to me and singing it over me. The words of the chorus, “I am Yours, even when the doubt sets in, even when I’m running in the opposite direction” expressed a feeling I was wrestling with in my own heart at the time. I know that feeling isolated and alone is something many people can resonate with after the last few years in the thick of the pandemic. I was feeling particularly low, and I was too busy being saddened by everything around me to run towards God (even though I should have) and instead, I kept running toward everything that only fed that sadness. This song is a real, raw reminder that we have doubts, that we make bad decisions, that we often get ourselves into dark times that seem hopeless; but God is always waiting there to remind us that we are held, we are known, we are His. We must be intentional every day about running toward Him and choosing to say, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”
Liverpool Walton Corps
United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Territory
Music is just a natural part of who I am and how I express my faith. I grew up in The Salvation Army and had a good musical background in brass playing, singing, and contemporary worship. Presently, I am a member of my corps band and worship team. In my professional life, I am the Outreach Mission Partner for Music and Creative Arts in the UK & Republic of Ireland Territory. My music tastes are varied, as are my playing habits, so I have had experiences being part of jazz bands, rock bands, and choirs. As a singer/songwriter, all these experiences as well as my classical composition training have helped develop my God-given gifts. My prayer is that whatever style of music I write, there will be someone who is brought closer to God when they hear it.
I have always been comforted by the idea that God is far more than I can imagine or understand. It’s a good job because, like any one person, my experience of the world, perspective, and skill set is limited. The Bible tells us that, “with God all things are possible.” I wanted to express my desire for the God who does immeasurably more to use me to do more than I can do on my own. A lot of modern worship music out there is reflective or “epic” but there seems to be a move away from joyful, upbeat music. I am on a mission to write songs that are full of the joy of the Lord. I hope that Immeasurably More captured something of that!
Music and Creative Arts Team
United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Territory
I am currently the Assistant Director for Music and Creative Arts (contemporary music/song) in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Territory. I’ve worked for the Salvation Army for the last 11 years and I’m passionate about engaging everyone in a lifestyle of worship across many genres of music and creative arts. I’m married to Emily, and we had a “lockdown baby” born last year (2020). I enjoy sports of all kinds and sitting down to watch a good film!
I wrote O to Be Like Thee ten years ago. Although its initial outlet was intended for congregational worship, there was no outlet at the time and so I arranged it for SATB and it was published in the mixed voice series of Sing to the Lord. It followed a trend of setting older lyrics to a new tune and spoke to me as a declaration to become more like Jesus, to seek His face and long to reflect Him in my life.
2021 Salvation Worship Writers
North Brisbane Corps, Queensland Division,
I’ve been making music and writing all kinds of things since I was a small child. The creative process never fails to challenge me and bring me joy. Being part of the Salvation Army all my life has led naturally to constant engagement in creative ministry, especially with music. I’ve been involved in Singing Company, Songsters, Vocal Groups, Bands, Musicals, Camps and other teams and ensembles. For the last 14 years, I have also been able to support creative arts as an employee of my Division and Territory. In the last two years, I have become a part of a national Territorial Worship Arts team in Australia, which is an exciting place to work with a phenomenal group of other creatives who love Jesus.
I’ve been married to my husband Shelden for 27 years. We live with our furbaby Jemima in the beautiful north east of Brisbane. I’m a proud Queenslander at State of Origin football time, but you’re more likely to find me reading, stitching, or drinking coffee rather than doing anything very athletic!
This song began life as a completely different song with no chorus and lurked in my journal for many years. After workshopping the song at a writer’s weekend, I got some fresh ideas and I found the rest of the song wrote itself very quickly, changing tempo and style and evolving into something new.
Lyrically, it is based on 1 John 3:1 which is one of my many favourite Bible verses that centers on our identity in God. It was a natural progression from there for each verse to explore our identity as people beloved, redeemed and transformed. Our corps had recently developed a focus statement which was “Hope, Freedom and Transformation through Jesus.” This helped me clarify this message and its implications – because of who (and whose) we are, this is how we live. Attending the Boundless 150 celebrations in London also played a part in inspiring the final title. Musically, I am rather a fan of Rend Collective’s work, so in style it pays tribute to that semi-acoustic feel.
Your Grace Still Welcomes Me
This song was in my journal for a while before finding its true form. Having participated in a performance of Take Over Bid as a teenager, Kneeling in Penitence has long been a special song for me. After coming up with some new melodic ideas while improvising, it was the song that popped into my head as the right match for a songbook makeover. Reflecting on Hebrews 4:16 was the final piece of the puzzle that brought everything together. The original song is a beautiful, simple reflection on the realization of our desperate need for God’s forgiveness and our total surrender to Him. By reworking the hymn and adding the original chorus material, it became a very personal processing of how I continually need to bring myself to that place. Jesus has already accomplished my forgiveness, but every time I cling to Him anew, I take hold of the promise again that I can freely and confidently meet His mercy and grace which allows me to stand and move forward with Him.
Captain Kathleen Johansson
Sofia Corps Plant, Bulgaria,
Eastern Europe Territory
Having not grown up in the Army, I was surprised by how much I loved Salvation Army music when I first heard it. The band at my home corps had so much soul and I fell in love straight away. Even before then, music has always been important to me. I started to play the piano when I was six years old. These days, I sing as much praise to God as I can and take every creative opportunity that comes my way. I hope to be making even more music for God and the Army in the future.
Come, Oh Burning Spirit, Come
This song came about because Major Stephen Court shared some “Holiness Meeting Fodder” on his Facebook page and I became intrigued. One of the good things about the English Song Book (compared to the Swedish for example) is that the text is not attached to a melody. As soon as I read the text on his post, I started to sing a melody, even though I had never heard the original song. I wrote it down and recorded myself and tried to figure out some of the chords. I tend to have self-doubt and sometimes think that my melodies are boring, but with a little help from a friend and some chord tweaking, the song was eventually born. I hope that this new melody can give life to the beautiful story that is found in these lyrics from Charles Fry.
Johnsonville Corps in Wellington (New Zealand)
New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Territory
I am part of a loving Christian family and the eldest of three children. I grew up attending the Salvation Army and my family on both sides have musical backgrounds and giftings. I have always loved music and worship from a young age. Growing up, I took piano lessons for several years and sang in items for both school and my church. I now have the
privilege of regularly leading worship on Sunday morning at my home corps in Johnsonville. I am passionate about leading people into the presence of God and I feel honoured that He has entrusted me with this responsibility. I am committed to encouraging, developing and mentoring the younger generation to help them grow in the gifts God has given to them. I began writing songs in my early teens but I put this on hold until 2016 when I revisited song writing again. Since then, I have continued to write songs with words God has placed on my heart that He wants others to hear.
Show Me Your Glory
I wrote this song when God placed the Scripture on my heart from Isaiah 40 which says, “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged place a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.””
When I saw this Scripture, I sensed the voice of God, the Almighty One, calling us, His people, back into His arms. He wants us to draw nearer into His presence and be reminded that at times it may feel like He is distant, but He is never far from us. Through the valleys and the deserts, through the rugged and broken places that life takes us, He is our strength and He will refresh and renew us by His Spirit. My prayer for this song is that we would know this promise and that together, united as His children, we will all see His glory.
Natalie & John Hanchett
Hedge End Salvation Army
UK & Republic of Ireland Territory
We have shared in music ministry since meeting in 1998. In over 20 years of marriage, God has been so good to us and has given us many opportunities to lead worship in a variety of settings. It is always a joy to find ways to provide engaging and meaningful worship experiences. This ministry is part of why God has placed us in each other’s life journey.
We attend Hedge End Salvation Army with our two daughters Alana (14) and Bethany (11). It is a vibrant and family orientated expression of church. We are involved in many ministries, including music. Natalie works as a Community Services Specialist for the Army and John works as a music teacher. Our passion is to see people find their true self and reach their God-given potential through the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Let the Beauty of Jesus
Inspiration for this song comes from Matthew 28 (The Great Commission) and the old words of a chorus from Albert Orsborn, Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Song and of the Holy Spirit.”
God commands each of us to go and make disciples of all nations. How do we personally respond? Do we let our human frailties and doubts get in the way sometimes? Do we often feel inadequate and feel that we need to be something different or something better before we respond? God loves each and every one of us just as we are. He can use us just as we are. So, in response to God’s command, we just need to respond positively and be bold in our vulnerability. We need to lay aside our doubts and fears in the knowledge that when we offer ourselves sincerely to Him, His beauty will shine through us and we will radiate his eternal love, forgiveness and acceptance to those around us.
Canada Bermuda Territory
Northridge Community Church
Hi everyone! My name is Katie and I’m a singer, songwriter and worship leader. My favourite genres to write and perform are pop, soul, R&B and worship. I remember the first time I led worship at a youth retreat. I felt God whisper to me that this was how I could use my gifts to serve Him; that this was only the beginning. Since that day, I have pursued music and ministry. I attended Hillsong College in Australia and had the privilege of serving at church in their worship and youth ministries. I currently work for the Ontario SA Youth Department as the Youth Creative Coordinator and Camp Registrar. I thank God for allowing me to do what I’m passionate about for a living.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my song and I hope those who listen are blessed. I wrote it while I was living across the world and removed from everything that made me feel comfortable. It was a season of learning to depend on and trust God. The future felt so unknown (isn’t it always?) and I felt the constant tension of learning to walk by faith and not by sight. I found myself singing the words of the chorus as a prayer and reminding myself that He is my solid rock, He is faithful and if I cling to Him, I will get through whatever storm may come.
Since being very young, I have always appreciated and been encouraged by the way the Salvation Army uses music to bring others to faith in brave and new ways. Because of this, I’ve always been excited with the prospect of adding my own small part to the rich musical legacy. I picked up a guitar at nine years old and I never looked back. I have been lucky enough to minister through music across the UK and abroad for several years. I enjoy being a member of Meraki, a five-piece worship group made up of my best friends, but I also enjoy supporting many other fantastic Salvation Army musicians, artists and choirs. One of the most fulfilling parts of my musical faith journey has been to meet with many Spirit-filled young people at various summer schools, youth councils and territorial events. Over lockdown, I have been able to keep praising the Lord at home in my small bedroom studio. As well as writing a few songs and disturbing my neighbours with Sunday recordings, my wife and I have recorded a short album of our favourite songs to raise some money for The Big Collection.
In You Alone
Over lockdown, I have found it difficult to engage in worship, as the social element of sharing in worship with others has always been centrally important to me. However, I have found this time has allowed me to engage with God in a more personal sense. Instead of using worship opportunities to connect with others musically, returning to just playing guitar in my bedroom has allowed me to connect with God on a personal level. I wrote In You Alone a few years ago and never shared it with anyone. It is a personal conversation with God that I often return to when I am struggling for direction and find myself doubting if God is speaking into these difficult situations we are living through. We live in dark and uncertain times but as the song says, “I know that there are prayers that haven’t been answered yet. And I know that there are answers I might not ever get. But I will trust Your promise, and I’ll promise not to forget to put my trust in You and You alone.”
Captain Peter Gott
Shire Salvos (Miranda)
I am a fully devoted disciple of Jesus. I currently live out my calling as an officer in the Australian Territory. I love most styles of music and I am a self-confessed music nerd. Prior to becoming an officer, I studied music at the Sydney Conservatorium and worked as a freelance musician in Sydney. I have extensive experience in working with worship teams and musical groups of all kinds. I love my family and I enjoy watching movies and sports, especially basketball (go Lakers!). I have a heart to see people connect with Jesus and live the best life they can.
Salvation for the World
Salvation for the World is a song about creating a unified rally cry for the Salvation Army. I wanted to write a song that tapped into our key values – having a heart for salvation, partnered with a desire for holiness (full salvation) and building unity, crying out for God to pour out the love of Jesus for the world.
Your Kingdom Reigns
When I was developing my song writing, I had this idea that it would be cool to write my own psalms. I called the first one Psalm 1, which was confusing for people as it didn’t quite go with the first psalm from the book of Psalms in the Bible. Yet, the sentiment was to draw from themes, especially the praise and God-focused nature found in the Psalms. Your Kingdom Reigns became the second psalm I wrote. It is based upon Psalm 145 with a theme centered on the kingdom of God. It is an anthem to unite people in worship of Jesus, our King. I wanted to convey something like a crowd crying out, “Long live the King!” to the King of all kings. I paired this with the words and sentiment from the Lord’s Prayer, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”