Life.Church released a new live worship album hoping to spread the awareness of God’s goodness.
Life.Church, led by senior pastor Craig Groeschel and responsible for the YouVersion Bible app, is the largest church in the U.S., with over 30 multi-campuses and 85,000 attendees. Its new live 11 song worship album, God So Good, came out on Sep. 20 via DREAM Worship.
God So Good was recorded at the Life.Church Edmond, Oklahoma location and was produced by Pastor JT Murrell, and co-produced by Dameon Aranda and David Wellman. The album includes songs like "God So Good," "I Won't Move," and radio single, "Where the Spirit of the Lord Is."
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post's interview with Worship Pastors JT Murrell and Chris Kuti, where they share about the inspiration behind their content and the message they hope everyone gathers from listening to the melodic tunes which they call “prayers.”
Christian Post: People often hear the phrase, “God so Good,” what do you say to those that might be battling to believe those words because of life’s circumstances?
Kuti: The cover art, if you look at it as the sun and the moon on it, and one of those things that we take for granted is the rising sun and the setting of the same. It's just the part of the rhythm that we've known our entire existence, right? And even more constant is His goodness. Yet, I think we could be so blinded to all the stuff around us that we forget that in every season, that even more constant than the rising sun and the setting of the same is His goodness and His goodness doesn't just walk beside us, and behind us in tough seasons, but it also goes before us. So really the through-line, I think, through all these songs on the record is the awareness, is waking us up to the awareness of His goodness. Even in seasons like we read in Psalms where David is just crying out to God and it seems as if he doesn't know the answers, or as if he's forgotten who his God is amidst the struggle of just life.
Our hope through the whole project is that people would be awoken to the awareness that His goodness is still here. He's never left you, even when it's hard to think about Him being good because He feels everything other than good. That's just the truth of this journey that we walked through in faith.
Murrell: My heart for this song, “God So Good,” there's a lyric in the bridge that says, "When you make a promise, Jesus, you keep it and I'll praise your name as long as I'm singing." So, far from cliche, really the title of the song and the message of the song is to call ourselves into faith and call ourselves into reminding, no matter what the situation is. Chris can tell you as well. We stand on stage as worship leaders and are tasked with leading many, many people in worship and sometimes the things that we say, sometimes the things that we sing in that moment when ... it's not necessarily said or sung in full belief, we have to call ourself into that. The song is that, just put it on and call yourself into faith and trust that through all of your situations and the things that God is really trying show you about Himself, through all of it, just call yourself into reminder that God is good and when He makes a promise, He keeps it!
CP: What comes along with leading one of the largest churches in America?
Kuti: I think it's in our title and what I want to highlight is not the worship of worship pastor, but the pastor. We cannot get consumed so much by the method of which we're called to lead. Sure we're on a stage and we're singing and for some reason in our day and age we've kind of glorified that talent. But let's not be mistaken, we're constantly reminding our teams and ourselves ... that we are called to pastor people to Jesus, to have a closer relationship, a closer walk with Jesus. That we would put Jesus at the center of our auditoriums and it just so happens that we do that through song.
Pastoring for us, we do some of that on the stage but the thing that fuels our leadership is what we know of people's stories. So we're pastors throughout the week, we're in the middle of people's lives and we're having conversations with people who are trying to get pregnant for the fifth time, and or who have just lost people that they love, or who are battling seasons of anxiety and depression. We know their stories and our leadership on stage matures in a way because it actually has a story attached to the faces that we see. So we're able to point people to Jesus, in light of those stories. So that's a really important part of what we're called to do. We're constantly leading our worship pastors to understand that they have the giftings to do what they do or they wouldn't be doing what they're doing but that we would spend more time pastoring people, understanding where God has them in that season of life, and leading them accordingly.
CP: How would you describe your expression of worship?
Murrell: In just a few words, I think it is unapologetic. I think it's bold. It's definitely authentic. We don't really know anything else, most of us didn't come up in a world where we're trying to just produce music for people to consume it. What we're really doing is taking real stories and writing songs from them.
CP: Your church, led by Pastor Craig Groeschel is behind the popular bible app, YouVersion, tell us about being a part of such an important ministry tool?
Kuti: We're excited just to see how God used that and just breathed life on that spark. His Word will never return void. As we know, we've just seen the growth of what was kind of just an idea with the launch of the iPhone, and here we see it downloaded over 390 million times, and it has more than 1,900 versions in 1,300 languages for free. It's just crazy. We're really thankful to be a part, you mentioned our pastor that's really birthed out of his heart of generosity and that fuels everything we do as a worship ministry from our YouVersion offices.
We've got a reading plan that goes along with this record, God So Good it's a five-day reading plan that highlights five of the songs off the project goes into a devotional about those songs. So we're excited to be able to partner with that team to be able to bring resources like that.
CP: What are you hoping people walk away with when listening to your worship record?
Kuti: I'll get to your question in this way. I think another thing that fuels our team, as we write songs, we are putting prayers into the mouth of believers to pray in faith to God, that is no small fate. We're telling the stories of our church, and the struggles, and the faith of our church, but we gather together and we sing these songs to God, we're giving people's prayers, words. That's not something that we take lightly so we're very intentional with what it is that we're trying to get people to walk away with. So I can answer that as clear as — the awareness of God's presence — I think that's the thing that I want people to understand. His presence has been here from the beginning and He breathed creation into existence and His presence is with you in the darkest of hours. Like His goodness, it's a truth that we know cognitively but how often are we in the habit of reminding our self of that every day.
Where the spirit of the Lord is, there's freedom. So walk in it, not easy to do, and I don't say it like it's something that we can do easily because we're distracted. There is darkness, there is sin in our world but we have a hope, His name is Jesus and He left us the Holy Spirit. So His presence is here with us. Don't go a second, don't go a day without being aware of His presence, because the impossible is possible when He's with us. I hope every song, like the artist talks about just His hand being everywhere, painting the beautiful things that we see in creation, He's also painting the details your life too and you can trust His hand.
CP: While living in a very distracted world today, what are some of the practical things that you do to stay aware of God's presence?
Murrell: I'll speak directly to one of the things we do to help our teams stay engaged. Every single one of the folks that you hear on this record are worship pastors at our church that have sometime in the last two weeks to a month, have been in a hospital where somebody's dying, or they have preached at a funeral. They've also done weddings. We do everything that we can to really help our teams understand that our role is to not stand on stage and perform music, it's far from that. Our role is to teach people in every season of their life, how to laugh, how to love, how to die, how to grieve, how to mourn and our role is all of that. So through the course of a year that we might have with somebody or through the course of the 35 minutes we have with somebody through this record. We hope that those things become evident. Licks and the hooks and drums and sound great vocals and all those things, we hope that you walk away with a sense of, and I'm not getting more worried about God's presence because of this. And that happens every single week with every single one of our worship pastors and worship leaders.
Kuti: I think for me, personally, I can share it through a song on the record, when I say “Jesus, I've learned, I've learned to say His name.” I'm good at saying His name in a prayer when I have to stand on a stage and call people to attention of His presence. But I haven't been so good at understanding what that name means. His name means hope. His name means forgiveness, means peace, "at the mention of his name," the Bible says "every knee on heaven and earth will bow and confess that He is Lord," and that's a name that has power. So I've tried to get really good at just speaking His name over every circumstance. Before I walk into a meeting that I know it's going to be a difficult conversation, "Jesus I call on you because I know that your power is with me" and just when I say His name, it means more than religion to me. That's what I love about that song is, it just brings to light the thing we've all known this whole time is that there's something different when you mentioned His name. Can't describe it, it is a very spiritual thing. His name is power. I'm just I'm trying to get really good at speaking His name over every circumstance of my life and I'm beginning to see my perspective on things shift because His name is the first thing out of my lips.