11 January 2014, 11.30pm.
WARNING: Major sarcasm alert. This is definitely not for the easily offended.
How to make a 'good' 'worship' song (note the liberal use of sarcastic quotes):
Things you need:
A mega-church, preferably in Texas somewhere.
A YouTube account.
The services of a professional video recording/production company.
A 'band name,' usually consisting of the name of your church with the word 'worship' tacked on the end.
Several thousand people to fill your auditorium during the set (mostly in the early-twenties demographic).
Step 1: Load up the stage.
Atmospheric purple lighting (yes, it must be purple), super troupers, an otherwise dim auditorium, three to seven guitarists, a drum set in a shadowed corner, one electric piano, a lone vocalist in the centre of the stage with a microphone and an iPad very prominently displayed on a music stand/pulpit.
If the vocalist is male, he must have an acoustic guitar and a mic stand. He should also be wearing a white or light-coloured button-up shirt which should not be tucked into his black skinny jeans. For maximum 'relevance' (how I loathe that word!), he should also be wearing Crocs. The successful worship pastor will also have a beard and at least one large, very visible, ambiguous tattoo.
If the vocalist is female, her hair should be shoulder-length, straightened, and preferably dark-coloured. Make-up is acceptable and in fact encouraged (for relevance, of course -- after all, God doesn't make mistakes, right?). She should wear a dark-coloured top, skinny jeans and shoes that are fashionable and expensive-looking (though not necessarily actually expensive). Jewelry is restricted to a couple of metallic-coloured bangles and maybe some dangle earrings. She is also forbidden to have her eyes open for more than a total of six seconds of the entire song.
Note that everybody on the stage must be white, with the possible exception of a female vocalist (who may be of Asian or possibly Hispanic descent in order to demonstrate that God loves people from all races).
Step 2: The intro.
If the vocalist is female: Put a female blonde with straightened hair in front of the keyboard. Have her play an extremely slow phrase in 4/4 time, preferably using only whole notes, but half and quarter notes are permitted in extreme circumstances. She must repeat this exact phrase, over and over and over again, in excess of six or seven minutes. She must also close her eyes, slowly shake her head from side to side at appropriate moments, and gently sway her upper body forward and backward as if hypnotised (this sends the very clear message to the audience -- sorry, 'congregation' -- that they too should be hypnotised by the revolutionary F-C-G chord progression).
If the vocalist is male: It is acceptable, in extraordinary cases, to use the classic drumstick-time-signature intro, but nothing too exuberant. Temper the enthusiasm. The all-powerful God might go deaf, you know. However, for 'slower' songs, follow the piano intro as described under the 'female vocalist' heading.
*Please note that throughout the remainder of this guide we will be assuming you're going for the more common and more boring -- sorry, powerful -- slower worship song.
Step 3: The first verse.
The first verse (actually, the only verse) should deal primarily with the subject of oneself and one's warm fuzzy feelings -- 'how You loved me,' 'how You save me,' 'oh, what You've done for me,' et cetera. Actually focusing on God and worshipping Him due to His beauty and goodness and might would be absurd and might 'turn off' your ultra-hip, 'seeking' crowd. The vocalist's eyes, as previously noted, should be closed. If female, she should also shake her head side to side, slowly, at appropriate moments (usually on the words 'how' and 'You'). Halfway through the first verse, the drummer should do a soft roll on the cymbals (author's note: I'm pretty sure that's not what they're actually called, but I don't know what the correct name is). Also note that the use of complete and/or logical sentences in the song structure is optional and in fact discouraged.
Step 4: The chorus.
The volume of the keyboard may change here, to signify that we are now entering the chorus part and that the audience/congregation should raise their hands and close their eyes accordingly. (If you want to get really radical, the keyboardist can change keys. But be careful! You should not attempt this unless you have at least a Bachelor's in music and even then this should not be attempted more than once per concert -- sorry, service.) The vocals become more earnest. The lyrics should consist of the same phrase repeated over and over again. Again, proper grammar and syntax should be avoided at all costs.
Step 5: The remainder of the song.
The rest of the song consists of the chorus being repeated at least a half a dozen times. The instruments then fade out, and the chorus is repeated a cappella about two dozen times (audience participation is heavily encouraged, if not politely demanded). Then the instruments come back in and the audience and musicians repeat the chorus in a slow, gentle sort of way, while the vocalist raises one hand (if female), or both hands (if male) and tilts their face upwards with a rapturous look on their face. Be careful that the eyes stay closed. They may speak or sing a random assortment of the following very handy stock phrases:
'Cry out to Him.'
'We love you, Lord.'
...and so on. They may also repeat lines from the chorus one phrase before everyone else sings them. Be very careful here. You could make or break the song at this point. Don't you dare open your eyes -- it'll kill the atmosphere of spontaneity. Be very reluctant to let the song go. You should at this point be pushing the seven-or-eight-minute mark. Eventually, long after everyone's bored out of their minds (but won't admit it because they had been trained to feel ashamed of boredom in a 'worship service'), let the song fade to oblivion... very... very... slowly. For best results, let the song fade so it sounds like it's ending, then after murmuring the chorus a cappella once or twice, bring it back again and continue for a while, then let it fade. Repeat. Ad nauseum.
Step 6: Fame and fortune.
Put the professionally-recorded full-length live video of the song on YouTube. Send the link to your local Christian radio station. Get a CD put into the Christian bookstores (be certain the album cover has a picture of the crowd -- I mean congregation -- on both the front and the back to show how serious you are about your worship concerts -- sorry, services). Make thousands of dollars as the Christian-consumer-culture drones buy everything with your name on it. Be fangirled over by every female Christian ever.
Tip: The slower and more reluctant the song is to end, the more people will call your song 'powerful' and 'moving.' This translates directly into sales. Just be careful to keep that script of humility at the forefront of your memory. As soon as you stray from the 'we never expected this, wow, God is moving in this generation' script, you will be blacklisted by the loving Christian community.