In 2006, I started this event called "Anthem." My vision was simple: young people gathering for a night of extended worship and prayer. Nothing revolutionary. But my hope was that through this God would draw out the talent in our youth and college ministries, causing students to aspire to write and create music for God's glory. I was a frustrated youth pastor, who often watched the most gifted musicians sit in the back and scoff at our worship team, who basically just covered the Big 3 (Crowder, Tomlin, United...). The mockers in the back were so eager to throw their instruments and voices in the mud of idolatry.
There's obviously nothing wrong with using mainstream songs for corporate worship, but I wanted to create our own worship culture. I thought we might get more buy in from students. What would it be like for kids, teenagers and college students to grow up dreaming of writing Anthem songs? Not for fame or career, but as an overflow of their passion for Jesus Christ and personal time spent with Him.
Anthem has recently multiplied- the movement in Ames is still strong (April 29th, 8pm at Cornerstone auditorium), but we've also started an Anthem team in Iowa City. Some amazing young talent has quickly emerged here- so much that we're recording an album this May! But one of the highlights from the last Anthem for me was during our prayer time before practice...
Here's where the Psalm Project ties into this Anthem rant
One of our new female vocalists and songwriters, Brianna Goodman, shared about being at the very first Anthem back in the Fall of 2006. She recalled being more into athletics at the time, with no thought of ever being a musician. Well, God has lit her heart on fire for Christ, and has given her the gift to express it. People like me (who don't have the writing gift) are so glad when God inspires gifted people! We get to use their songs to inspire our own worship.
That's why the Psalm Project gets me stoked and a little choked up (though I'm sure not as much as her mom, dad, and aunt :)... many of you know the Goodmans and Erin Burmeister).
Well, here's the link for Bri and Lauren's Psalm Project blog, with some YouTubes embedded. I'm sure you'll hear a song or two on the new Anthem album...
Just a quick P.S.... many of those scoffers in the back row of youth group have since given their lives to Christ. Alex Register plays electric in the Anthem (Ames) band. And others have come to help us plant Veritas in Iowa City (Jamie, Jack). Thanks Travis Pierce- it's never in vain 1 Cor. 15:58. SDG.