What a Savior [Storytellers]

“What a Savior” was written for “The Word” project to cover the Passion of the Christ.

“The Word” is a project by North Side Worship telling the grand narrative of the Bible.  It is available at North Side (May 3, 2015) and iTunes (May 5, 2015).

We discussed early concerning the pivotal nature of this song in the whole project.  In our “Knowing Jesus” event, we spent a few songs on this section, but for the scope of this project we had to do a summary of sorts.  We wanted the song to start with Jesus on the way to the cross and end with his ascension and his followers longing for his return.

I have been asked many times: “What is your favorite song you have ever written?”

I’ve never really been able to answer that until “What a Savior.”  This song has been a very special song with which to worship Jesus.

Song Info

  1. We wanted the song to have a hymn-like feel to it.  Many older hymns tell a story from verse to verse with a refrain uniting them together.
  2. Since the song focused on pivotal moments, the refrain (or chorus) couldn’t include words that had not happened in the timeline yet.  That’s why the chorus focuses on who Christ is versus what Christ did.
  3. The verses focused on what Christ did.  Before writing a single line of text, we had determined that the song would focus on Christ’s coming to earth (verse 1), death upon the cross (v2), resurrection from the grave (v3), ascension and commission (v4).
  4. The melody line of the verse came playing it on the piano.  Music was first, words came later.
  5. The second verse was composed first.  For whatever reasons, those lyrics came easiest.  The chorus came after that.
  6. The ease at which the song came about was a testimony to Scripture.  It really came together in a matter of a couple of hours.  A group tweaked all the lyrics later so we got every syllable where we wanted it.
  7. Upon completion of the song, I felt like there was something very special about it.  When we sang it the first time on a Sunday, the church picked it up and got behind it first time.  We actually had people think it was a hymn and ask why they hadn’t heard it before.
  8. We desired that the fourth verse take a key change up since we were talking about the ascension of Jesus.
  9. We chose to write it in a 3/4 time signature which felt more like a hymn and allowed for some driving accents on pivotal moments of singing (“rose up from the grave” had a nice power bounce to it that 3/4 provides that another time signature could not pull off as effectively).
  10. Ted Collins and Tracey Sutley did a great job providing the framework for the song.  Their voices delivered with passion and accuracy.  They provided just the write ad-libs at just the right time.  Not too much.
  11. The band did a great job of presenting the 3/4 and letting the song speak for itself.
  12. The tech team did a fantastic job of teaching this song through visual means as we sang it.

Chord Chart: What A Savior – D-E


Behold the Lamb of God who came down, sent to take our sin away
For the world you loved so dearly, what a sacrifice you made
You took on flesh, you humbled yourself and departed heaven’s throne
You came to us for we could never make it to you on our own

Our sins were great, your grace was greater, though we never knew the cost
That you would pay, o sinless Savior as you hung upon the cross
You bore the wrath, you suffered our shame, faithful to your final breath
How can it be that we would gain life from your undeserving death

What a Savior, great redeemer
Mighty God and truest friend
King of kings and Lord of lords
Son of God and Son of Man

Crucified, Your body broken, all our hope buried away
But dawn would break upon the third day, when you rose up from the grave
Death was conquered, sin defeated, all of hell could not deny
The empty tomb, the risen Savior, our God is still a – live!
Yes, our God is still a – live!

We are longing for that hour when you make your presence known
And you return with heaven’s power and will fin’ly take us home
Until that day you come in glory, we will tell the story of
Your saving grace, Your wondrous mercy, and Your everlasting love


Track Listing

  1. Let There Be (Creation)
  2. How We’ve Fallen (The Fall)
  3. No One Like Our God (Exodus)
  4. The Ten Commandments (Law)
  5. Our God Is With Us (Covenant)
  6. Enter His Gates (Psalms)
  7. Return to Me (Prophets)
  8. How Long O LORD (Exile)
  9. Fear Not (Incarnation)
  10. Amazed (Jesus’ Ministry)
  11. What a Savior (Passion Week)
  12. Come Holy Spirit (Pentecost)
  13. Day By Day (Church)
  14. You Alone Are God (Trinity)
  15. Your Word (Epistles)
  16. Faithful and True (Revelation)

“The Word” is a project by North Side Worship telling the grand narrative of the Bible.  It is available at North Side (May 3, 2015) and iTunes (May 5, 2015).