Composing Greatness

by Public Relations

Music is in the air at Cedarville University. The department of music and worship sponsored a songwriting competition for current students at the Christian university in Ohio. The department plans to make this an annual event.

Students were encouraged to submit songs composed specifically for congregational singing in churches. A select panel of worship leaders and musicians from around the country judged the submissions based on artistic value, singability, lyricism and theological content. Patrick Anderson, M.M., assistant professor of worship, and Roger O’Neel, Ph.D., associate professor of church music, collected the compositions and sent the finalists to the judging panel that included Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Music; Mike Cosper of Sojourn Community Church; and John Martin of Grace Community Church and contemporary worship band Enfield.

Students gained real-world experience by writing songs and receiving feedback from respected members of the industry. The judges were well-known, so students who submitted their songs to the judges may be encouraged toward a future in songwriting. The Cedarville University Department of Music and Worship encourages students to get real-world experience during their time at college. Students often pursue internships and have the opportunity to participate in events like the songwriting competition.

Anderson, a veteran of several music groups including Enfield and The Demerits, credits original music as an important factor in a group’s success. “I hope excellent Christian musicians are inspired to pour back into Christians in their communities and into the church,” Anderson said. “Musicians have opportunities to touch places in the culture that are unique to music and the arts, and Christian musicians have the opportunity to uniquely impact culture.”

Students in the department of music and worship can influence the culture in a variety of jobs in churches, schools or performing arts companies, among many others. The competition, in addition to providing practical training, allows students to serve churchgoers.

“I entered this competition,” described junior Darris Sneed, “because I believe in bringing the body of Christ together. Singing together in churches is one of the ways that brings everyone in one accord and in unity.”

Senior Caleb Ingram said, “Songwriting is especially important and amazing for the church because, by using that God-given gift, we can write songs that are for the sole purpose of directing glory to God, not only subtly through the nature of music and song but also explicitly through the lyrics to communicate a truth about God or an encouragement to fellow believers.”

Senior Hayden Browning took home the first-place prize with his song, “Less.” Sneed came in second with “Be Exalted,” and freshman Jonathan Holman received third place with “Yahweh.” Ingram and sophomore Kristen Craig received honorable mentions with their songs, “In You I Find Rest” and “Saved a Slave,” respectively.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,300 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Celebrating 125 years of education excellence, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at