Finding a connection between you and SYNC
that is strong enough to trigger an idea for a song
The inner you that writes songs
A good song is an authentic song. It’s not something you create for a contest because somebody else wanted it. It comes from deep inside of you.
That’s why we hope that SYNC will touch you down deep where songs come from. SYNC means “See Yourself iN Christ,” If anything on SYNCx.org connects with the way you see yourself, then you are in position for authentic song-writing, and we would love to see that happen for you.
Connecting authentically with SYNC
So how will it happen? Try reflecting on this simple, radical idea at the heart of SYNC:
God is in the process of SYNCing earth with heaven.
Luke 4:43 tells us that Jesus came to announce that heaven’s transforming power is arriving on earth and taking over.
The Lord’s Prayer says, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt. 6.10)
In other words, God is using a “SYNC game plan” to fix what is wrong with this world, and he is calling us to get on board with him.
SYNC is trying to help people get a clearer picture of God’s “better world strategy” so they get more excited about it and will get on board with it more completely. If your song contributes in some way to that effort, you have an authentic connection with SYNC.
Your song will probably not focus on the big idea of SYNC, but it helps if you as the song-writer get the big idea. Then you can go on to zero in and develop a song around whichever part of SYNC God impresses on you (see “Triggering an idea for your song” below).
So here is the big idea behind everything else:
Jesus Christ is the center of God’s game plan for a better world.
When you SYNC (See Yourself iN Christ), you see yourself wrapped up in his purpose and his strategy every minute.
“In Christ” every minute is a great way to live. It’s not a dream, a goal, or a standard to try to live up to. It’s a gift to be gratefully received. This is the “Christ in you” of Colossians 1.27. It is you plugged into Christ’s strategy by his grace.
As a song-writer, you can plug in by writing a song. The better your song, the more likely it is to move people to SYNC with God’s game plan, and the better the world gets for everybody. And God smiles. That’s what we want your song to do—put a smile on God’s face—and it will if it comes from authentically Seeing Yourself iN Christ.
Triggering an idea for your song
If the SYNC game plan is God’s game plan, it means that God wants this world to get better, and he wants it to begin now. His interest is not only in the next world or in how intense our religious experience is while we are singing worship songs. And he isn’t just sitting there keeping score on how good or bad we are.
God our Father is proactively giving gifts to people like you, intending for those gifts to be used to enrich and bless those around you. With that on your mind, consider the options below, and see what lyrics God gives you to make the difference he wants you to make in his world!
Key Bible stories. SYNC is hoping that many story-based songs will be written for this contest. Don’t assume story-based songs are just for kids. Look at our fantastic Christmas music—all story-based, all marveling at what God did and what it means. Look how that works in songs like, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and use a similar approach to write a song about another key story that SYNC emphasizes, such as creation, the call of Abraham, Pentecost, or Christ’s return (see all seven biblical stories that SYNC calls game-changers). Or if ballads do more for you than Christmas carols, write your story-song in ballad form.
Any of 50 SYNC Jubilee Verses. This set of selected Bible verses has 7 verses on each of SYNC’s 7 themes, plus one summary verse to integrate the 7 themes and make the total of 50 (7 x 7 +1). Your song may be based on a single verse or weave ideas together from several. The “Jubilee Cards” also suggest a particular way to turn each verse into a prayer.
Any of 7 versions of the story of the world. SYNC has seven tellings of the story of the world, each told from a different biblical angle. These are called the “Who Are We?” (W.A.W.) stories. If you want a narrower focus, each of the seven versions contains A) a very short summary of the gospel as Jesus announced it, about 2/3 of the way through the story, and B) a statement about how we “see ourselves in Christ, near the end of the story. Any of those 14 summary statements could be fleshed out as a powerful song, or you might use some combination of them.
Holiday mood music. Christmas may be overworked for holiday music, but Easter is not, and SYNC has a full annual cycle of other holidays just begging for songs to deepen our appreciation of the rest of the biblical story. Get excited about the meaning of one of those other days, and write a song to take people with you in your discovery.
The Lord’s Prayer. We call this the “SYNC Prayer” because it is essentially asking God to SYNC earth with heaven—“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6.10). SYNC provides a paraphrase of the prayer which might trigger some new ideas for you. Or use any translation or paraphrase of the Prayer. Just stay alert for whatever God is moving you to write about.
Daily Bible reading guide. Follow the SYNC daily Bible reading guide, which covers the Bible in a year. Whatever looms large in your life will affect you as you read, and a song idea may pop up that relates your concern to a verse that “just happened” to be the reading of the day.
Other content on SYNCx.org. If you browse the site, you may hit some other part of it that strikes you as good song material. Caution: The SYNC concept as a whole can be more overwhelming than inspiring if you try to get your mind around all of it. Just browse and relax. You are trying to find a point of inspiration, not prepare for a test on all the content. Try browsing these:
Getting feedback as you develop your idea
The Proposal Form will help you start sketching out your idea. When you get that far, post it in our Facebook group, "SYNC 2020 Contests," and get some personal feedback from me (Stan Nussbaum), as the SYNC contest organizer. Others in the group may also have comments that will help you develop your idea.
BTW, if you post your Proposal Form by February 29th and it is one of the first 50 approved, it earns you a small “early bird” cash award. You receive this even if you don’t later submit a song. We want to know you are out there, we want you to exercise and develop your song-writing gift, and we want to pray for you while you are in the process.
How does SYNC’s view of God’s strategy compare to other common views?
Secular view – there is no God, or if there is, whatever strategy he was using has not worked. If we want a better world from here on, we have to decide for ourselves what that means and create our own strategy to get there.
Nationalistic/ideological views – If there is a God, his strategy is to create a better world through our group. Whatever makes our group larger, wealthier, and more powerful is therefore good for the whole world.
Pluralistic view – All claims to know God’s strategy are divisive and dangerous unless people admit that all other views of God’s strategy are just as good as their own. We build a better world on what they all have in common with each other and with people who don’t think there is a God at all.
Most religious views (which many non-religious people also believe) – God’s strategy is to give humans some instructions for a better world and then reward them when they follow instructions or punish them when they don’t.
Common evangelical Christian view – God’s strategy is mostly not designed to help us make this world better but rather to get us to a better world after we die and in the meantime to make our earthly life a little better.
SYNC isn’t saying that this world is more important than the next, but it is saying that the Bible says vastly more about God’s strategy for this world than for getting us to the next world. So if we want to SYNC with the Bible, we should emphasize what the Bible does—our eagerly obedient participation in God’s strategy for this world.