As we were praying and planning months ago over the Now Campaign, we knew that our church was going to address aggressively a few issues, but one of those issues has a special burden on our staff’s heart right now: the family.
As we began to look at what our staff addresses most weeks – the counseling sessions, the ministry endeavors, the teaching topics – we have realized that the reason we address most of the things we address in the church is because families are falling apart. Why do we struggle with certain kids at Project Love? Why do we have to teach our high school students the Bible at church? Why is over half of our counseling sessions centered on problems in family relationships? Why are college students missing from churches? Quite honestly, they all deal with the breakdown of the role of the family.
Here is a central statement to North Side’s future ministry endeavors: the most critical spiritual environment is the one in which you live. No matter how good we are at programming church activities, if a family does not have God at the center, those family members will be at a disadvantage when it comes to spiritual growth.
So as I was praying through which songs to put on the CD, there was one song that was missing on it: a family worship song.
I have never really heard a song that was written in order that a family could sing together as a prayer indicating their dedication to God. After a message that Jeff gave on the family, we sang Charlie Hall’s “Center” as a family dedication time, and I thought that we needed a family song that said that message.
My one concern: that the song wouldn’t be cheesy.
My one prayer: that one day I would see families worshiping together to this song.
Around the time that Obadiah was born, I set out to write this song. I had the chorus melody come to me as I was singing in the car one day. The chorus came from Joshua 24 when Joshua looked at his nation and declared that, regardless of what other people do, as for me and my house, we are going to serve the LORD. So I wrote the chorus imagining me leading my family in a worship time. I prayed that husbands and wives could worship together with hands held. I prayed that fathers and mothers could huddle their children up and sing this together.
The words came pretty easy. The musicality was a struggle. I wrote the chorus in 6/8 time, but I wrote a melody for the verse that worked better in 4/4 time. As we were doing pre-production in the studio, I played the song for Anthony and Jamie, and we threw out a bunch of ideas on how to resolve the song. I then began to sing a melody for the verse that Anthony perked up and really loved. He asked me, “Did you steal that melody from something?”
“Yes, but I stole it from one of my songs.”
“Are we using it on this project?”
And that’s how we put the song together. The first verse and chorus is based on Joshua 24. The other phrases come from other scriptural passages, and I just tried to incorporate all the major themes that I pray for concerning my own family.
As I wrote it, I sang this song as a prayer for Amanda and Obadiah. One of my greatest desires is that one day I hear Obadiah say that his father ensured that his home was one where Jesus was the center. I want to get to the end of my life and hear Amanda say that I loved Jesus and I then loved her, and no one came between those two relationships. In the midst of a time when so many families around me were falling apart, I wrote this song praying that it could rally some families together to serve the LORD and stay faithful to Him.
Before I recorded this song, Amanda and I would sing it over Obadiah when we would put him down to sleep. As we prayed for him, we prayed that our family’s home would truly be God’s home.
And that’s my prayer for you.
Here’s some freebies on the song:
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.