If you were at North Side yesterday, you got a snippet of the big project we are working on this year: The Jesus Album (working title). I was humbled by the response I’ve been receiving since yesterday when we led the new song, “It is Finished.” This was one of the first songs we wrote for this project, and the first one we have done live.
So, let me explain the big picture: 1) Our worship ministry desires to help disciple people, 2) Music has a way to make theology portable, 3) We are attempting 4 recording projects this year to do this, 4) We are currently studying through the Gospel of John on Sunday mornings and it’s been unbelievable, and 5) This project, #3, needs to reflect all of that somehow.
In a way to bring all that together, I felt led to challenge our worship team: What if we wrote an album that looked at the life of Jesus chronologically and worshiped him at every step along the way?
What if we studied the gospels and came up with those pivotal events, phrases, concepts, aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry and wrote a song for each major section? What if we recorded an album that could be a way that someone who had only heard pieces of the account of Jesus could see the entire picture? What if we could saturate it with so much Bible that this album could be a way to teach people the truths of Scripture? Could we write it in a way that a song could stand alone yet even more powerful as an entire piece of art? Could we take this music outside the walls of the church to show others the change and the power that Jesus provides?
Their response was loud and clear: let’s go for it. We identified those major sections we wanted to study, and we have begun the writing process. The only song we have done live so far was “It is Finished,” the song we wrote for the crucifixion. Before that song is a song entitled “Not My Will” from the Garden of Gethsemane, and after that song is “Risen” describing the Resurrection (hint: you might just hear that Easter morning).
Where are we in the process? We spent a day at my house where we spent the most time on “It is Finished” and “Risen.” We also worked on ideas on all the other songs, some got further than others, but we have a great place to work from. I first divided the 2 teams up – each prayed for the other team. Then they studied all 4 gospel accounts of the crucifixion or the resurrection for about an hour highlighting phrases and concepts that needed to be included. Then the songs began to shape. Then, we came back together and let each team present what they had and worshiped together. Powerful time. I then continued to break them into different teams with different Scripture assignments.
I think what was so neat yesterday was to hear people comment on how “much Bible was in that song.” That was the goal! When I got the team together at the beginning of this year, I told them the idea, and then gave them a track list. Someone asked, “So, you’ve already written all these songs?” Nope, but I knew what the titles need to be. I knew how I wanted each song to feel. I could see the big picture, but wanted to include the entire team in the process so I refrained from going too far down any of the writing avenues. These biblical phrases would serve as the title and the focus and the rest has been amazing to watch. John Kennerly said, “What you’re attempting is reverse engineering. You got the big picture, even the ideas along the way, we just need to fill in the details, right?”
Absolutely. And we have been blown away at what God is putting together. I promise to keep you updated on development, but for right now, we would appreciate your prayers and we would appreciate in the weeks to come, that if we introduce a new song with Jesus all over it, sing along with us. It sure would bring a smile to his face.