Hope Chapel has just released their new album Whatever May Come on Dream Worship Records. Hope Chapel is a community of believers whose vision is to bring the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. For over three decades, Hope Chapel has been producing original and cutting edge contemporary worship music. This latest release, Whatever May Come, represents a reinvigoration of what has been a dynamic legacy of rich and inspiring worship, written, arranged and produced by gifted members of this body of believers.
Hallels: Thank you for doing this interview with us. Tell us more about Hope Chapel and its worship team(s).
Hope Chapel is a Foursquare church in Hermosa Beach, CA. We are a body of believers who love one another and are serious about our Christian faith. At Hope, we have three tenets, or "pillars", upon which our church's ministry is built: expository preaching, vibrant biblical worship, and minichurch (small groups).
Regarding worship, since the early 80's our church has produced eighteen albums composed of mostly original worship. We are privileged to be part of a church body and to have church leadership that have been fully supportive of locally written and arranged worship music.
We currently have several worship teams that rotate in serving our four weekend services and our one midweek young adults service.
We are located in the greater Los Angeles area. Our congregation is both ethnically and socioeconomically diverse. This diversity gives rise to a unique blend of style and expression in the music that we produce.
Hallels: I have read that you started out to do a 5 song EP, how did it develop into a 10 track album?
A few of us had been steadily writing original songs as we were ministering week after week in our midweek young adults service. Over the course of two or three years we had collected songs that resonated with our congregation and had become like anthems for us, especially The Miracle and Whatever May Come. We had been sitting on them for a long time and earlier this year we thought that we should finally track those songs and release them for everyone.
Providentially, just after we decided to produce an in-house EP, we ran into David Hanley, the founder and president of DREAM Label Group, at a conference and we talked with him about the worship division of their label. He was interested in what we were doing and he eventually came to a Tuesday night service and heard our original worship live, which led to another meeting to play for him some of our original songs. He was very encouraging and he challenged us to considering pushing for a full length album of 10 songs rather than an EP.
Hallels: How would you describe your sound? And what do you think makes your music unique?
Electronic dance music and stadium rock bands like Queen and U2 played a big part in shaping the sound for this record. We wanted each song to be epic and cinematic in order to instill a sense of awe and excitement for worshipping Jesus. We wanted to write present-day anthems for the faith.
One thing that we hope will set us apart from other churches is our ability to present songs that are satisfying to critical music lovers and effective as congregational worship music.
We hope to challenge our congregation's expectation of what worship music should sound like by writing and performing music that covers a broad musical spectrum.
Finally, we consider one necessary quality of worship music to be music that lyrically expresses foundational biblical doctrines (e.g., Jesus as the propitiation for our sins) or that expresses the very words or message of Scripture itself.
Hallels: How and why did you choose to work with Dream Records for the album's release?
Our relationship with Dream Records was something that emerged through them hearing about our planned EP and also wanting to check out what we had in the works. So, we invited them out to one of the services, we played for them a sample of some of the songs from the EP, and they liked what they heard. We arranged further meetings, which led to an agreement to produce a full album and have them distribute it. We love their philosophy of working to promote the music already being made within the church, and working with them has been a great experience for us.
Hallels: I also notice that many of the songs came out of Scripture. What's the role of the Bible in worship music?
Worship music should have the purpose of drawing the believer to give honor, thanksgiving and praise to God. He has revealed himself, not only through the created order, but also through His Word. The Bible then, as God's self-disclosure, ought to inform any music that is intended for worship. The Bible gives us a true picture of who He is, and how He is to be worshiped. The Bible informs us about His character, His deeds, His expectations, His commands, His love, and His grace.
Those of us who are believers in Jesus have this intimate relationship with God the Father. We have the capacity to worship the triune God in the way He is to be worshiped. We however also need to be grounded in His word so that our worship of Him is based on truth. Furthermore, by rooting our worship in Scripture, we can guarantee that the worship that we offer is God-centered and not man-centered.
Hallels: I can discern how Hebrews 1 is the seed thought behind the song "Son of God." Talk to us a little more about this song.
We wanted a "high Christology" song -- a song that would properly express the deity and the supremacy of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture. And, yes, Hebrews 1 is the principle passage that inspired Son of God since it is one of the most powerful statements of the deity of Christ in the New Testament. In an age where Jesus is often tragically reduced to a cosmic buddy, we wanted a song that rightly exalted him as the risen and reigning Son of God and God the Son. So we wanted every word and phrase from Hebrews 1 to fit well in the song. It was the only song that had four different writers involved, so it was a highly collaborative effort. The song went through a number of revisions before we settled with the final rendering, and we are pleased with the results. It is a powerful song, and it has been a joy to see how our church immediately responded to it in worship.
Hallels: I absolutely love "This is Jesus." What's the story behind this song?
This Is Jesus started as a personal worship time on a couch with an acoustic guitar. As the song took shape, it became an intentional effort to direct our congregation toward awe-inspired adoration for Jesus -- a song that would describe our Savior and encourage Christians to offer Him the place of highest honor in our hearts and in our lives.
Hallels: What are some of the lessons you want your listeners to grasp after listening to this new record?
The album presents the Gospel message and gives every listener an opportunity to respond to that message. The album starts by inviting the listener to recognize their need for and reliance on God, and the album finishes by proclaiming that Jesus, the Son of God, reigns forever. All throughout the album, we sing that lift high the name of Jesus and provide opportunities for people to respond to Him in worship. Beyond all these particular calls to worship, there is, ultimately, a call to persevere in the faith. We hope that God will use these songs to edify His church by stirring people's hearts and encouraging them to follow Jesus, and to continue following Jesus, whatever may come.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to know more about you and your music, where can they go?
We want to invite anyone who lives in Southern California who does not have a home church to come visit us and say hi. We are not a perfect church, but we are serious about God, His Word, and we love to worship Him together. For everyone else, they can visit www.hopechapelworship.com.