If someone asked you if you’ve heard the new Chris Tomlin album, you would be forgiven for saying, “Which one?” While And If Our God is For Us is topping the Christian music charts, six of the twelve songs on Here for You were either written or co-written by Tomlin.
His music defines the sound of modern worship in U.S. churches, so that’s why I’ve begun this review of the new Passion album with a reference to the man who was arguably its weightiest contributor. Additional songs were written by other recognizable names including Rueben Morgan, Martin Smith, Matt Redman, Louis Giglio, Matt Maher and David Crowder.
In terms of performance, five of the twelve songs are performed by Tomlin, with an additional one co-credited to Matt Redman with additional songs featuring David Crowder Band, Kristian Stanfill, Kristy Nockels and LeCrae (this being, after all, a youth-oriented project.)
With the exception of LeCrae — for me anyway, not being a rapper — these are very accessible, ready-to-sing worship songs. The inclusion of Rueben Morgan is a good place to suggest that Here for You is very similar, on several levels, to the youth oriented worship of Hillsong United.
The live album was recorded mere weeks ago, at the Passion 2011 conference with more than 20,000 university-aged students in Atlanta, Georgia on January 1st-4th, 2011.
One of my favorite songs is Symphony, which will probably turn out to become better known as “Stand in Awe.”
The deepest oceans, rising mountains
How they sing your symphony
Let the earth fear the Lord
And all the people of the world
Stand in awe, Stand in awe.
…After listening to the album again yesterday, I considered continuing the usual song-by-song commentary, but I want to talk about the event itself.
In my day, the big youth events were summer festivals, but with the growth, rightly or wrongly, of the conference ‘industry,’ more opportunities are available for youth to connect with youth from other parts of the continent for corporate worship, contemporary concerts and some of the best youth communicators.
If you’re in the target demographic for these things, you need to find a way to get to a couple, at least, before you outgrow the opportunity. If your church doesn’t send a group, start your own group, or latch on to another church’s group that’s going. The events are expensive, but just skip a couple of video games.
If you’re outside the target demographic, but live near an event taking place, find out if they need adult volunteers. Personally, I’d be thrilled just to be standing outside in the hallway when a thing like this is happening.
Finally, if you’re not only outside the target demographic, but are fairly certain you’d find the music far too loud, you can still be involved in something that is huge in the spiritual formation of a young person. Consider sponsoring some teens in your church, or, better yet, setting up a subsidy fund that brings the price further below the advertised group rates. No kid should be denied an opportunity for spiritual growth simply because they can’t afford it, and even in the most affluent churches, there are kids who can’t afford it.
I say all that because with a live conference recording like this, there’s a tendency to end the review with a trite, “You had to be there.” But in truth, “You need to be there.” Don’t miss the next one.
…I tried to find some good YouTube clips from the conference so you could get the general idea, but they just don’t exist, so for now, I’m going to use this unofficial overview, which had only had about 90 views as of last night: