Some friends of mine just did a thing.
I was pleased to be one of the Kickstarter backers for Songs for Sundays, a new project from Resound Worship, and it arrived in the post today!
Headed up by Joel Payne – who I’ve known since my days as a student in York (he led the worship team at St Michael le Belfrey at that time) – Resound Worship is a collective of writers from across the UK, also comprising my friend Chris Juby. Chris is a worship leader at King’s Church, Durham, a church that is a link of ours here in London (Ichthus). He’s also famous for tweeting the Bible which once got him named one of CNN’s ‘most intriguing people of the day’.
Anyway – introductions aside – this project has had a very deliberate vision from the outset: to produce a set of worship songs written for the local church – with the very ordinary circumstances of Sunday morning parish worship services in mind.
This is a good thing. In the last couple of decades the typical Sunday morning set list has been driven by mega church releases written for often large bands made up of professionals. Hillsong, Bethel, Worship Central, Soul Survivor, the Passion conferences. All of these movements were and are great, but they all specialise in the anthemic, the lights, the guitars. More recently we have seen a return to some of the folksier or more stripped-back styles of worship – Rend Collective, Housefires – but these are still pro bands, and sometimes (I think) still write a little over the heads of some Sunday congregations. Just a little. Not too much.
Anyway, Resound Worship are taking us right back to the local context – to our beautiful rabble of flautists, strum-along guitarists, play-at-home keyboard players and so on. We’ve all struggled along with the big sounds of ‘Your love never fails’ and ‘Our God is greater’. But what about something that is written for us? Resound have aimed to write music that is accessible and natural for the kinds of musicians you might find in Any Church – and have even provided instructional videos along with the songs to teach your musicians.
It has to be said – it’s also very Anglican. The songs have been written deliberately around the typical components of a Sunday service. You can’t escape it: Tracks 1 & 2 are listed under the heading Gathering, which is followed by Confession (Track 3), Word (4 & 5), Creed (6), Prayer (7), Communion (8 & 9), Sending Out (10) and Grace (11). Of course, these will come in useful for any service in many churches, Anglican or not, but will most likely find home in evangelical congregations, given the origins of the writers.
I haven’t given it enough of a listen yet, but I like what I’ve heard so far – the production is certainly top notch. I may come back with some thoughts on the songs. Suffice it to say for now this is a very well thought-through and well-executed project, and well worth checking out if you lead worship on a Sunday morning at a local church.