Jesus Culture members Bryan & Katie Torwalt released their new album Champion over the weekend and the popular worship leaders opened up about the rewards and challenges they face being married and working in ministry together.
Champion is the first new album since the Torwalts' last studio release Kingdom Come in 2013. The young couple have been working together in ministry for years. Their debut album Here On Earth produced this year's Grammy-winning song "Holy Spirit" recorded by Francesca Battistelli, which hit No. 1 on the National Audience Chart and is currently a Top 5 CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) song.
"When we wrote that song, it was one of the first worship songs we wrote many many years ago and we had no idea how God would use that song. We had no clue that it would go outside of our little world or even that other people would record it. We had no clue or could even have anticipated it, or replicated it or anything," Katie told The Christian Post. "I don't think that there is a formula. I think that God used it and that's what we needed to declare and sing right now."
Battistelli, Kim Walker Smith, Kari Jobe and many others have now covered the popular song and the Torwalts are thankful.
"Every time that we hear someone singing that song, embodying the Holy Spirit, it's just such an honor and such a privilege to be a part of that. I don't think there is just one thing that you say, 'This is what you do to make this be successful.' It's just totally the Lord," Katie continued.
Bryan shared that the bridge is the part of the song "Holy Spirit" that he connects to the most because of the hunger to be more aware of God.
The talented worship artists were married in 2009 and served as worship pastors together in Fresno, California for 3 1/2 years. Since then they have moved to Sacramento, California and are artists on the Jesus Culture Music label. Although the husband-and-wife team display a beautiful example for others of co-working for the Kingdom of God, Bryan admits the road has not always been easy.
"It's definitely been a journey for us. We both led worship separately while we were dating. We dated long before we got married, so then when we got married we immediately started out as worship pastors at a small local church in Central California. We had to learn – not only were we just newly married, but newly leading together and learning about co-leading and trusting each other and trusting the Holy Spirit in each other," Bryan confessed.
He went on to say, "In the beginning I will say we definitely had some car rides home with some conversations but it has been an incredible growing experience for us. We've learned from a lot of people who have gone before us."
Having to co-lead came with its challenges for the two who can easily each lead by themselves. Marriage served as an opportunity to help them experience communal worship and leadership in whole new way.
"One of the main things is we trust that the other hears [from] God, so why wouldn't we trust that in that moment of worship. We're learning to back each other up. You know, Katie hearing something and singing something out spontaneously or prophetically. My job and privilege as her husband is to back her up and to support her in that moment and to come into that together," Bryan maintained. "For us we've learned so much about God and unity because we have this amazing privilege to work and lead worship together."
Bryan and Katie have been touring the country with Jesus Culture. They also moved to Sacramento three years ago and are a part of a church plant and are now an active part of Jesus Culture Church.
"It's been so incredible being a part of Jesus Culture. We've been with Jesus Culture since 2011.
"It's just been fabulous, the community aspect, the church family has been so good for us. We do travel quite a bit, and coming off the road having something to come home to, that we're known by people here, we get to serve in our local church, it's just been so healthy for us. I hope that everybody gets an opportunity to have that in their lives," Katie gushed.
Although the Torwalts are internationally renowned worship leaders, their heart is the local church and their new album Champion was written for the church to sing along to.
Katie added, "As much as we're excited about going around the world and seeing what God is doing, we love coming home and seeing God move in our city in our home."
The Torwalts revealed that the heart behind Champion is about overcoming, and God being the champion who is fighting for His people.
"When we write songs we definitely try to be intentional and we have a strong heart for the local church and to hopefully write songs that connect with worship leaders and congregations around the country and world, so that really is our hope for this album. That it would be songs that people can connect to individually but then also corporately and hopefully bring hope," Bryan stated.
Katie interjected, "And inspiration, there's so many other leaders and artists that we look up to that have brought inspiration to us to write our own songs and connect with the Lord. So we hope that these songs do the same for other people. That it doesn't just end with listening to this in your car and feeling the Holy Spirit but that it even pushes you to write your own songs, tell your own story and have your own desperation. We hope God uses it that way."
Champion is loaded with songs of declaration and hope. The body of work really showcases the heartbeat of God for the times we live in. Bryan and Katie have admitted being intentional about wanting the songs they write to reach the church because it is loaded with truth found in the word of God but the music might also have the opportunity to reach the unchurched.
Champion is now available, and for more information on the album and tour dates, visit Jesusculture.com