Robbie Seay talks about the first original record from The Worship Initiative: a truly communal record in every sense of the word.
Originally posted on LeadWorshipWell.com
The Worship Initiative has released their first original album, Psalms from The Well! Before we dive into this record, tell us about the initial vision and purpose of The Worship Initiative and how it has evolved into what it is today.
From the very beginning, Shane and Shane had a vision for The Worship Initiative: to equip and encourage worship leaders serving local churches across the country. Their vision encompassed practical aspects, such as learning to play songs, studying corresponding devotionals, and improving instrumental competency. It also included training for leaders and musicians longing to grow as ministers serving on a ministry team and needing help in areas of theological understanding and pastoral care. Today, we see the immediate need to not only serve leaders in the areas of musicianship and pastoral ministry but also in the area of team leadership and developing other leaders. We are committed to helping leaders grow in all three areas - musician, minister and leader/developer of others.
Tell us about the community of writers and worship leaders you all have cultivated over the years that were involved in this project.
For the first time, we hosted six young songwriters from across the country here in Dallas for a six week Residency intensive. Together, we studied the Psalms every morning, spent daily time in worship and prayer, and then wrote new songs from the Psalms every day (for weeks on end). Our staff of experienced songwriters, producers and leaders invested in the Residents each day and were a part of the co-writing sessions in our studios (including Davy Flowers, John Marc Kohl, Aaron Williams, Robbie Seay, Shane Barnard, Dinah Wright, Bryan Fowler and others). The Residency culminated in the recording of the album together with our team, Psalms From The Well, produced by Shane Barnard and Bryan Fowler. Nearly forty songs were written during that time and twelve were chosen for the album.
All of these songs are rooted in the book of Psalms. Why was Psalms the book that was chosen and how did that decision come about?
The Psalms are the hymnbook of the Bible. They are the template for corporate worship in so many ways and there is a never ending well of truth to be sung from them. Joy, Doubt, Fear, Trust, Sin, Redemption — all of it is found in the Psalms and informs how we should be writing for the local church. Our passion for the church to return to a more robust singing of God's word begins with the Psalms, so this record is a culmination of that vision.
What did the writing process look like? Did it involve a combination of having the writers be in solitude with God and his word and then have them collaborate with each other?
For The Residency, we chose to write primarily in group settings but only after in-depth study and prayer together in community. So many of the Residents had expressed the desire to write with others and that was such a special part of the album. Rarely do you have so many writers under one roof for six weeks straight, so we varied the groups every day. That kept it fresh and exciting, not knowing who you would be paired with for the afternoon writing sessions. It was truly a communal record in every sense!
Tell us about Psalms From The Well’s place in Writers Well: a new space at The Worship Initiative for songwriters.
Writers Well takes our vision to equip and encourage and aims it directly at those longing to grow in songwriting for the local church. "Psalms From The Well" embodies that vision because most of the writers who came for The Residency were not experienced writers. Helping them grow in their craft so that they would leave our studios ready to go write for their own local churches is the biggest win, even beyond an incredible album from the Psalms. We say often around here — BY THE CHURCH, FOR THE CHURCH. We are so excited about all of the resources offered now at the Writers Well corner of our site that will do just that — empower local churches to write for their own congregations.
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