Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Road iTunes

This is a blog I intended to post over a week ago, but due to the hassles of moving, and not having access to internet for a few days, its taken longer than I planned to get it up. I'm writing this because I wanted to talk a bit about my new record and explain a little bit about why I did it, etc.

Ministry naturally demands sacrifice. In my case, God has called our family to start up a new church in Fort Collins, Colorado. Because of the nature of our ministry, we are giving up a piece of our financial stability. Over the last year-and-a-half, this has led to many conversations about how we might earn a living while also reserving the flexibility to serve the community freely.

One idea Randi and I tossed around was for me to make another record and put it up for sale on iTunes. This was an idea that I was not opposed to, but I couldn’t fully embrace it either. The reason for this stemmed from the fact that I have never wanted to turn my worship music into some sort of commercial venture. In other words, I do not write worship songs with the sole intent to make money. However, I also realize that God has gifted me in the area of music and who am I to question God on a matter like this if He chooses to use my gifts to provide for me and my family.

Eventually I decided that I was not going to go out of my way to write new music for a new record. But if God started giving me new music and giving me inspiration for new songs, then I would take it as it came. And if it reached a point where there was enough material, then I would look at the possibility of compiling it into something I might be able to sell.

Honestly, I didn’t think anything would come of it because for about two years I have had one of the worst creative blocks I’ve ever had in my life. But not long after we decided to move, God began working on me in a different way -- He began to show me what worship might look like in our new church.

There’s a pretty good chance that many of the people attending one of our worship services will have spent very little time in a church. I began asking myself what was possible in the creative realm if I was leading worship for people who didn’t have a preexisting idea of what modern worship music might sound like. What was possible when my own creative process was not bound by the rules of current church culture? Questions like this began to open up tons of creative doors to walk through and explore.

And explore I did. God began to throw things at me left and right, not only in terms of creativity, but spiritually as well, as the last year-and-a-half has been a huge growing process for me. I have wrestled with life’s circumstances more recently than I ever have. As my family and I have been tested in so many ways, I have been forced to re-examine what it means to allow Christ to live in and through me. To re-examine my own identity in Christ, to be reminded of God’s provision and his never ceasing grace.

And the result is the EP that I just released. It represents a year-and-a-half of song writing, formed out of the change in my own life and all the things God has reminded me. It also represents my first effort at creatively stretching myself to the limits. It is not mainstream, nor is it what you would expect to hear in most churches on a Sunday morning, and I am OK with that. It is in every way different from anything I’ve ever done. I wanted to write in a way that the words were simple but represented big truths about God’s grace and our identity that are often overlooked in worship music.

So is this a worship record? That’s a great question. It is my worship, I can say that much. And maybe, at least it is my prayer, that it is your worship as well.

I think Randi already stated this in one of her blogs, but I don’t write music so that I can make tons of money or become a rock star. Let’s just face it, I don't think I'm that good, nor am I skinny enough to wear rocker clothes. But I do believe that music is meant to be shared. What kind of a person would I be to keep what God gives me to myself? So if in the process people enjoy it enough to maybe buy some of it, then that’s great. If you like the record, tell everyone about it. If you know someone else who might like it, point them in the right direction. There is a link at the bottom of this post that will take you to the iTunes store if you want to purchase it. Just know that your money is not going to pay for my new pair of skinny jeans or rock star highlights in my hair. It’s going to support me and my family as we live and minister in Colorado, doing what God has called us to do.

And for anyone who is interested, I will post an additional blog with the liner notes from the album as well as a few pictures from the studio since iTunes does not include the liner notes when you buy the record.


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