TBC Worship Arts Alumnus Shares Experience in Songwriting and Leading Worship

Worship Arts graduate Ashley Pulliam (’15) returned to campus this spring as a guest speaker in two courses of TBC’s Worship Arts program.    

This program prepares students for worship leadership in the local church.

Students take courses in music, theology, worship, and practical ministry, thereby being equipped for service in a variety of ministry contexts. Through this program, students not only develop their musical and artistic competence, but also deepen their understanding of biblical theology and practical application of worship leadership.

Students in Dr. Jacob Leporacci’s classes (Worship Forum and Worship and the Creative Arts) enjoyed learning from Pulliam’s personal experience in leadership and song writing during an on-campus songwriting workshop and interactive interview.

Pulliam performed two of her original songs, shared what her creative process is, her perspective on the role of a worship leader, and the inspiration behind a selection of her songs. She also addressed some of the common challenges that face song writers as they seek to hone their craft and answered questions from the class. 

Pulliam says that she begins song-writing sessions with prayer and she challenges Worship Arts students to do the same.

Sharing her creative process, she says that most of her lyrics come from her journaling, a practice she has maintained for many years. She describes her entries as a mixture of “conversations with God” and “snippets of ideas here and there that don’t come together until later”.

She says that it often takes time and maturity to develop thoughts into lyrics.

Alumnus Ashley Pulliam and Dr. Jacob Leporacci

Reflecting the theological training she received in her own Worship Arts student days, Pulliam advised jotting down scripture references and contexts for lyrics as a safeguard against doctrinally unsound lyrics.  

“If we are writing based off scripture, it practically removes that problem.  That is one of the cool things about God’s Word!  It is so deep and true!  When you ask God to wash over everything, it really does take you deeper… it is a spiritual process.”

As a worship leader, Pulliam believes in writing songs that are intended for corporate worship.

For this reason, she is a strong proponent of sharing the heart behind a new song when it is first introduced, which requires having an honest and mutually trusting relationship with the pastor.

Using her song “For Your Glory” as an example, she says she wrote it for her congregation to sing, “not to convict, but because I was convicted!”  Even though the lyrics are heavy and convicting, her open communication with her pastor made it easier to introduce the song to the church.

From a professional musician perspective, Pulliam says there is a very real conflict within herself (and for many believers) when promoting her own work.

Seeking to hone her talent in a God-honoring fashion, she has seen God work in unique ways to get her to where she is today, including opportunities to compete and record.  She has gone to nationals in Nashville multiple times and has also enjoyed valuable feedback and workshop sessions with recording artists who believe in her work. 

Find Ashley Pulliam’s recorded songs on Spotify under her artist name: Ashley Pulliam

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