The Importance of Songwriting w/ Pat Barrett

Pat Barrett joins Loop Community Founder Matt McCoy to talk about songwriting, churches writing their own music, and his latest album Shelter.

Daily songwriting

Matt: “Do you write songs everyday?”

Pat: “I try to do at least something every day. Go through notes from previous days, sit down and play a melody and sing to God what’s been happening. Songwriting really started to change for me when I realized that songwriting isn’t just time at the piano or guitar with a pen and paper out. I started paying attention to my day and my life. So all throughout the day if something catches my ear or I have a thought, I’m writing constantly down in the notes in my phone. Even if it’s not in my studio, it’s become a practice of mine to write it down and think about it. When I started including that in my songwriting, it took the pressure off when I’d sit down at a piano for an hour.”


Matt: “Do you write alone or mostly with other people?”

Pat: “I do love writing with other people. But I do think it’s important to sit down and try to flesh out an idea that I’m wrestling with. There’s no replacing the magic being with people that you love and respect and writing. You don’t just get your best idea you get “our” best idea. Regardless of whether that song gets used for a project or anything, there’s a communal experience that feels really important. It forces vulnerability in front of other people as well. Which I think is a great thing for a leader to experience.”

The importance of songwriting as a worship leader

Matt: “Where do you think worship music is at right now?”

Pat: “I think some of the best songs I’ve heard in years are all out right now. I’m always amazed about the quantity and quality of writing right now. More churches than I’ve ever seen are writing their own songs for their own communities. I love that. I was a worship pastor for 10 years, and it was a value for our community to make sure we were singing songs that were written for our church. It makes you lean into what God is saying in your community for that time. It also stirs creativity. Whether you think you’re a writer or not, I think it’s important to write.

As a worship leader, what better way to sharpen and participate in the formation of what God has called you to than learning to express and say what you really feel in ways that connect with other people. Sometimes the matters of the heart are really hard to talk about. Words don’t ever do experience justice. It’s a really amazing practice and skill to engage with, whether you’re putting albums out or not. It can be really powerful for people.”

Click the video below to watch the full interview. Be sure to listen to Pat Barrett’s album Shelter wherever you stream music. Download the Master Tracks for the album to lead the songs at your church on Loop Community.