by Rick Pidcock
During our last year in Denver, CO, we were members of Sovereign Grace Church, which is part of a family of churches known as “Sovereign Grace Ministries.” While we were a part of SGM, I was very excited to be able to get an up close experience of some of the planning stages that went into the most recent live worship recording, “The Gathering.” I’d like to share a little bit about what went into this project, as well as a few thoughts on the project as a whole.
Bob Kauflin, who directs the Worship Development for SGM, came up with the idea to record a live worship album based on Bryan Chapell’s book, Christ-centered Worship. In Christ-centered Worship, Bryan Chapell discusses how the gospel can shape and inform our worship, no matter what music style or level of liturgy we use.
So the album was organized by finding songs that would fit into the following progressively developing themes for an order of worship:
- Call To Worship
- Assurance of Pardon
- Lord’s Prayer
Each year, the SGM songwriters get together for a songwriting retreat, in order to work on song ideas for upcoming projects. So a number of the songs began to take shape in preparation for and during this retreat.
Over the next few months, more submissions were made, as well as quite a bit of re-writing.
In the end, a selection team collectively narrowed down the song list in order to choose the songs that made it to the album.
As the time drew nearer for the Worship God ’11 Conference, the songs were arranged, the musicians were prepared, and then the attendees of the conference were given song sheets and demo mp3’s of the songs. And on the final evening of an amazing conference, the body of Christ gathered for worship.
You can listen to the album here for free, as well as purchase it.
The Gathering, in my opinion, is the best album that Sovereign Grace has come out with to date. As usual, the lyrics do a great job of revealing the glory of God in the face of Christ. The order of worship really helped to bring out a lot of unified, yet unique aspects of the gospel, in a way that most one-theme or no-theme albums do not.
I also think that the creativeness of the lyrics and music was really stepped up a notch for this album. It seemed to take a few steps out of the box of what you usually expect out of SGM, while still remaining true to SGM’s primary worship vision.
The musicianship of the band members and singers was also very strong. Bob Kauflin expanded the number of musicians used beyond who you normally hear on SGM albums. And it provided a different feel than usual.
As Bob Kauflin reflected back on the conference, he said,
In the weeks leading up to the conference, I prayed that God would glorify his Son, equip people to serve more effectively, and reveal his gracious presence in our midst. He seemed to do that and more…The recording actually went according to plan, even if the plan wasn’t as good as it might have been. And I encountered God’s glory, truth, and love at different times during the singing and preaching in ways I didn’t expect.
All this to say, while there are ways the conference could have been better, I’m one happy man. I have 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord.
And if you know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, you do, too.
You can listen to the album below for free, or buy it at the link provided.