Some ten years ago a friend of mine handed me a burned copy of David Crowder Band's Can You Hear Us? I admit I wasn't too fond of it initially. I assumed they were just another band coming out of the UK and could have sworn Crowder's accent originated across the pond. An accent, yes, but a Texan one.
With this week's artist -- or rather, group of artists -- the worship sound starts to get much younger. Seasoned veterans of worship are displaced by up and comers like Chris Tomlin and David Crowder, among others who at one time or another participated in the Passion Worship Band.
In the fall of 2000, Cindy and I packed up for a weekend and flew to Toledo for an interview with a church regarding their worship position. There were various interviews and interactions with church members -- a well put-together weekend by their executive pastor. Some of these Cindy were involved in, though because we had Jacque (at nine months) with us, she was quite busy herself.
When I laid out my ideas for my Worship Influences series, I must have had a reason for listing myself as one of my inspirations. Something other than blatant arrogance. It must have had something to do with my 35th birthday today -- and my twin sister's.
The first three posts in this Worship Influences series involved keyboard-driven worship. Today's look involves a guitarist, though Tommy Walker plays far beyond the ubiquitous open G songs that would dominate the worship landscape in the first part of this century. I first saw Tommy Walker sometime in the mid-'90s when he led with the multi-ethnic Promise Keepers band, as he sported a headset mic not unlike Michael Jackson's and Madonna's.
Prior to the '90s, worship leaders, even recorded ones, were rather anonymous. There were some celebrity Southern Gospel recording artists, like the Gaithers and their friends, but contemporary worship leaders were mostly unknown. ... But with the '90s came the rise of the worship leader as a recording artist.
I occasionally have people at church ask about singing some of their older favorite songs. I used to get this more at a former church where we didn't offer a traditional service. My reply usually involved something about the kind of music our leadership wanted. Sometimes if they pressed me, I would tell them that there are hundreds of songs I've used in worship over the years, and quite a few of them I'd still like to use.
My first exposure to worship music was a vinyl record led by a cartoon hymnal named Psalty. Psalty the Psalter, I think it was. I remember my twin sister and me as kindergartners dancing in the living room to the songs of the first Kids Praise album while my mom made cookies in the kitchen.
Every worship leader has stood before his or her congregation and wondered what it would be like if we all worshiped more throughout the week. What if our gathering on Sunday morning (or whatever day and time) comprised believers who loved and worshiped Jesus every day -- not just for an hour once a week?