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So, at the end of 2011 I set the challenge of writing congregational songs.

Here’s a new tune to an old song… hope you like it!

The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away
Stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross
Where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

So I’ll cherish the cross
The old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the cross
The old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
For a crown

Oh that old rugged cross
So despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God
Left his glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary


In the old rugged cross
Stained with love so divine
A wondrous beauty I see
For twas on that old cross
Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me


To the old rugged cross
I will ever be true
It’s shame and reproach gladly bear
Then he’ll call me some day
To my home far away
Where his glory forever I’ll share


“Ministers are to cultivate gifts of preaching and prayer through study and diligence; they ought also to cultivate the capacity of composing spiritual songs and exercise it along with the other parts of the worship, preaching and prayer”.

So says the great hymn writer Isaac Watts.

I don’t really want to say much more than that, except that I’m going to try and write a lot more congregational songs in 2012 (keep up to date with them here). Will other gospel ministers join me?

It’s not complicated. If you’re daunted by the idea, find a familiar hymn tune, and a bible passage you’re going to be preaching on and start writing… Perhaps use your sermon points as themes for each verse, with a chorus that has the overall point as its content. If you want any help/input please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Here’s a song I wrote about the very difficult issue of abortion. It will hopefully go on the new album I’m recording next year (to support click here).

And here’s the blurb I’ve put on youtube.

As a songwriter you always want to tell a story, give a message. But sometimes its tempting to run away from the messages closest to your heart because of the controversy it might cause. 

I’ve tried not to run away in this song. 

This is about a very difficult, complicated and painful issue – abortion. No one song can tell the whole story, and I do not attempt to. I’m only telling one side, one story – but I think it’s an important one to tell, because the story is of those who have literally no voice.

This song is not meant to condemn anyone – condemnation is inappropriate and unhelpful in this whole area.

But I do hope this song provokes discussion – discussion that is so desperately needed in this country, but is so often avoided.

So – only 10 days left to pledge, and we only need to raise £400… so if my maths are correct if 5 people each day pledge £8 (for which you will receive the album once its completed) then we will have enough money to record!

Please click here and help us over this last hurdle.

If this is the first you’re reading about the album you can find out more here.

The album will feature BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Nominee Katriona Gilmore on fiddle and mandolin, hammond-organ and piano extraordinaire John Ellis, the Incredible Washboard Pete II and Geth Griffiths who has played alongside the likes of James Morrison and Kathryn Jenkins. Also involved will be legendary producer Bill Leader who has worked with the Dubliners, Mike Harding, Ewan MacColl and many more.

Prepare for an e-mail, Facebook, twitter and everything else I can access onslaught!

I have now launched by campaign to raise money to record a new album in early 2012.
It’s simple really – you pledge money (£8 min) and you get the download of the album when it’s done, plus a bonus track. There are other goodies on offer too. Click here to find out more.

The album will feature BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Nominee Katriona Gilmore, the fabulous John Ellis on piano/hammond organ, Geth Griffiths on double bass and, of course, the Incredible Washboard Pete on percussion. The legendary Bill Leader will be producing and the whole thing will be recorded at Lime Field Studios in Manchester.

I’m really excited about this project, and have been waiting a while to lay down some particular tracks, so I’d love it if you could help make this possible.

Thanks for checking it out.


Michael Tinker is a professional musician and part of the Crowded House which is a church planting initiative in Sheffield and around the world. He's a follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, member of a Gospel Community, Musician and avid follower of fashion...

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