Fellowship Creative released Always Been About You back in February of 2013. I was lucky enough to get to listen and review the album before it was released. I bring it up to you because I really think this is a unique and special album for worship in the local church. It has popped back up in my mind again and again in the months since I first listened to it. I hope you stay with it and read on… You don’t wanna miss out on this one.
In a world where every church on the planet is churning out worship song after worship song, it is really easy to get lost in the tidal wave as a worship leader. It seems like there is a basic formula: usually a live recording, some fairly energetic tracks, some softer ones, a few led by a killer female vocalist, some U2-inspired guitar licks, rinse and repeat. Please don’t get me wrong: this is not a bad thing! It is just very refreshing when you see a church that steps outside that box, and does it very well!
Fellowship Creative, the creative worship team from Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX, have made something really special with their newest release. Instead of following the mold, they seem to have approached each track from an individual, unique perspective. Always Been About You is something special. If you know anything about Fellowship Church, you know they are not afraid to step outside the box. I want to share my experience with this album, and share why I think there is something fresh and exciting here.
The first track I heard from these guys was Rooftops, which I thought was an absolute standout, that is, until I heard the completed album. It has a sound that is unlike anything out there in modern worship: very high energy, very exclamatory. I saw the Fellowship team lead this song to a group of church leaders, not a group of middle schoolers, and it caught on like wildfire! One thing that hooked me was the lyrical depth and truth dripping from each word. The song is all about life change, love has broken these chains. It is hard to speak these lines without getting pumped, because it is the story of anyone who has witnessed the transformation brought about by a relationship with Jesus. The more I think about it, the more I am realizing the big difference here is that celebratory songs like Rooftops sound happy! I sing a LOT of upbeat songs. Most of them sound “adult” happy, tempered and stylish, but not overtly exuberant. The upbeat tracks on this album have a level of almost “childlike” happiness that is so rare nowadays, but so appropriate! Christ embraced the children’s enthusiasm, declaring the Kingdom of heaven belongs to hearts like theirs.
Every song here is unique. The title track, Always Been About You, is an energetic reminder that our journey, God’s word, His creation, is always, and has always been about Him. Future Back is a more hip hop-influenced track, while still keeping a fresh, fun feel. The song proclaims God’s promise that the best is yet to come, and declares our right to reclaim our bright future from our life of sin and bondage. Carrying on this theme of looking ahead, Finish What You Started revels in the promise that God, who began an awesome work, will be faithful to complete it.
Some softer tracks like Just One Touch and Shine Your Light feature some phenomenal female vocals. All the vocals on the album are excellent, these just stick out because they offer a nice contrast. I saw Just One Touch performed live in early 2012, and it instantly became one of my favorites of the past year. Lyrically, it tells us how it just takes that one moment of faith for your life to be transformed forever.
I could go on and on. What I really appreciate about this album is its diversity. Each song is unique from the others and stands alone. There are no clones here. Instruments, effects, tones, and other elements that typically carry over to several tracks on an album are very rarely shared between tracks.
Now I know what you are all thinking: “Great. It’s a good album. I get it! Are any of these songs congregation friendly?” As a worship pastor, I am constantly asking that question. I have not done any of these songs with my congregation yet, but I definitely plan on giving Rooftops a shot first. All of these could make a great special song, but I truly believe many of them can work with a congregation. Fellowship has helped us all out in this area, posting lyric sheets, chord charts, and even full multi-tracks of every single song on their website. With resources so readily available, why not give a few of them a try?
In conclusion, I really recommend this album. After just hearing two strong tunes a year ago, I was hopeful, but not convinced until I heard it for myself. I guess my biggest hope is that Always Been About You would bless you the same way it has blessed me. The “childlike” energy conveyed here is contagious and fitting for the message of hope being conveyed. The freshness of this release has given me a new jolt of hope and encouragement. It reinforces my belief that artistic expression, creativity, and excellence through the local church is just beginning to see its potential. The future is looking very bright. I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
||| Since I wrote this review for my campus pastor, Greg Atkinson’s blog back in February, we have performed Just One Touch and Rooftops. Rooftops was really fun for us to open up with for several weeks and we incorporated it into an elaborate video track opener for our 2013 Easter experience. We used Just One Touch as a strategic special which played after the sermon during our “Gospel” series. We featured Finish What You Started in our pre/post-service mix for several weeks. I am still in love with a lot of these tunes and their uniqueness/authenticity. Please check them out and I hope you enjoy like I have.