Eleven22 Worship, a musician community dedicated to creating worship songs that reflect the culture surrounding The Church of Eleven22, is releasing their third full-length album Before All Things, September 4. The new project reflects the growth of a movement of authentic faith as well as the creative outpouring of a community seeking to experience corporate worship in a new way.
Led by Worship Pastor Ben Williams, Eleven22 Worship is a collective of professional musicians, talented vocalists and lay-leaders who are driven to create songs of worship that are theologically sound, while being accessible to their audiences various musical leanings. As on their acclaimed previous releases, Fall On Your Altar and The Reason, Before All Things is full of songs and sounds that are innovative and fresh, unable to be locked into just one genre or category. With Before All Things, the Eleven22 Worship community took recording a step further, creating a unique collection of ten original songs penned by their internal church worship community.
Hallels: Thanks for doing this interview with us. What does Eleven22 refer to?
Eleven22 is the name of our church movement, inspired by a verse in Scripture, "And Jesus answered them "Have faith in God..." - Mark 11:22. We believe that people put their faith in all sorts of things, but here at our church we believe that the best decision you could make is to put your hope and faith in God. 11:22 AM was our original service time, plus it's really easy to remember!
Hallels: In such a saturated market of worship bands, what gives the music of Eleven22 Worship its edge and uniqueness?
For us authenticity is a high value among our teams. We believe that our songs are a representation of that authenticity, showing through in the confessions of failure and pain but delivered through the grace freely given to us through Jesus. Sonically, I believe we have stepped into a new writing style that I haven't heard in today's worship music. I feel that in our songs you hear the writer's cry for God to move in us and through us. The music supports the emotions you feel as you agree with each of these prayers in song.
Hallels: Who does Eleven22 Worship comprise of? Do the songs on your new album come from the team?
Eleven22 Worship is actually a collective group of worship leaders and musicians all working together to make our worship experience at Eleven22 authentic and inspiring for our people to connect with the mission of the Gospel. This collection of songs was written over the course of the past year by our worship leaders, working together on each of the songs. I am extremely proud of the growth in our writing and our approach to this album as a team.
Hallels: Let's talk about your new album "Before All Things," how is this album different from your previous albums? What are some of the themes you are trying to bring out in this new project?
So on this album we decided on a few different approaches, different from our previous albums. For one, we had our own Jonathan Berlin produce the album. He has a real talent for seeing the big picture, and because he knows all the worship leaders and musicians, he was able to uniquely work to get the best out of all of the writers and musicians. We also took a collective approach in our formation of the songs. Once we had a general demo, our musicians would be in the studio together working on parts, and creatively expressing together. Picture five guitar players collaborating or 4 drummers working together to capture the best sound, all led by Jonathan Berlin as the coach and decision maker.
Hallels: For our readers who have not heard your new song "I'm Not Alone," what is the song about?
This song was written by Madaline Hill and she was writing with a few things in mind. As a mom of twins plus one on the way, she recognized in her prayer life that during the times of feeling overwhelmed and emotionally spent, the Lord continually reminded her that she is most definitely 'not alone.' The Lord inspired the chorus of the song, the truth that He will never leave her or forsake her. She also had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in mind, found in the book of Daniel, where God was present in the worst of circumstances. He never left them and He promises to the same for us. "I'm Not Alone" is an anthem for our people to not give up on our faithful God. He has promised to be by our side even when we fail Him or ignore His commands. He is faithful even when we are not.
Hallels: Speaking of worship, how would you define worship? And what do you think is good worship?
I believe worship is corporate prayer and our response to God's goodness and faithfulness. Worship is a realignment of our minds and behaviors to His word and promises therein. Worship is the currency of Heaven and when we participate in worship it might be the closest thing to our ultimate destination. In the end of days there will be no need for preaching, only worship.I can only answer to 'good worship' with my opinion -- good worship is an authentic approach to a sovereign God with excellence, cultivating surrender and realigning our mission towards Heaven.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to get to know your music and ministry more, where can they go?