Simplicity enables excellence.
At Elevation, we place a disproportionate value on cultivating a worship experience that boldly celebrates Jesus and attracts people far from God.
For The Honor is a landmark, live recording that captures the energy, excitement and commitment of a church rising up to change the world. This is the unique, no-holds-barred ministry of Elevation Worship, wherein Wade Joye, London Gatch, Mack Brock and Chris Brown serve and lead worship on a weekly basis. After having been on their own separate journeys, each sensed a specific call to unite as a team and join what God was doing at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.
In the same spirit as Hillsong, Passion and Jesus Culture—modern worship grown from a single seed then catapulted on to a national stage—Elevation Worship is organic to its environment and yet unique to the digital age in which it was born. It is a passionately dedicated team of gifted songwriters, musicians and students of worship boldly leading, as a single worship team, before six separate congregations across the Charlotte Metro area. The worship gathering is simultaneously broadcast via cutting edge technology allowing the church's more than 10,000 worshippers to feel closely connected as one church praising with one voice.
Under the direction of Pastor Steven Furtick, himself a worship leader and songwriter, this Charlotte, NC-based church—one of the fastest growing churches in the U.S.—is the catalyst for a city-wide outreach of epic proportions: in just five short years, Elevation has expanded to six campuses, with more than 10,000 people attending weekly. More than 16,000 people have given their lives to Christ and 2,000 were recently baptized over two weekends.
"As a church, we want to be known for audacious faith—believing God for the impossible—for being a generation of honor; and for generosity, being openhanded with the blessings God has given us," says Wade Joye, worship pastor at Elevation. "That is the heartbeat of our church and the values you'll hear through all of the songs on this record."
Written and produced by Elevation Worship (in partnership with Essential Worship/Provident Label Group) For The Honor features 14 original songs that reflect its collective life experience. The songs were written in conjunction with Pastor Steven's sermon series over the past five years, and inspired by the church's incredible journey. The result is a rich collection shaped by community, in the context of one powerful move of God.
"We're committed to writing about what's happening in our people's lives, in our church - about what's happening in our city," echoes Chris Brown, "to support the vision of our church and give voice to our people. Our worship is very exciting, alive and loud on purpose. We're excited about what God is doing and about lives being changed. That frames everything we do."
Unapologetically, at its core, Elevation Worship thrives on "simplicity that enables excellence," on creating an atmosphere of worship that draws people in from all walks of life, people who are far from God, people who are seeking a spiritual awakening.
From the celebratory opener, "Exalted One," based on Psalm 121, the project launches into familiar territory, giving honor to the One who makes all things possible. Particularly personal for Wade, "Lord Is My Rock/You Lifted Me Out" follows a driving anthem that reminds Elevation of a specific season of miraculous answers to prayer. Wade's now 3-year-old twin daughters are living proof. "That song, based on Psalm 18, represents our story of when our girls were born 3 months premature and we were told that they might not survive or ever be normal. Today they are healthy girls and are miracles that our church got to witness and be part of. It's one of those faith monuments," he says.
The title track, "For the Honor," originated as a text photo with some lyrics from Pastor Steven's journal, saying he wanted to write a song about honor; one that felt more like a hymn. The band made quick work of his request, with a modern hymn that Elevation worshipers gravitated to.
"Give Me Faith," a song introduced two years ago, underscores an essential spiritual truth that many new Christians need to hear: "So many of our people are new believers," Chris says of the song's origins, "walking into this for the first time. It's a song about believing God in the midst of not knowing what's coming next... You sing a lyric like that, and you want to be there. You're not there yet, but you want to believe. There's an honesty in this song that people really connect with."
"All Things New," a collaborative effort first introduced at the live worship taping, culminated in the most moving, spontaneous moment of the evening. "We had no idea what the response was going to be that night," Mack says, "but the words of that song seemed to resonate perfectly with our community. "You're making all things new,' is such a simple, but powerful truth. The verses remind us that we can't run far enough from Jesus to where He won't come find us and bring us back to Himself."
"The spirit in the room was so overwhelming," Wade adds, "and Pastor Steven just hopped up on stage and presented the Gospel – not worrying about all the logistics of the live recording, just doing what God led him to do – and it's probably the most powerful moment on the record."
Perhaps one of the most unique things about Elevation Worship is the creative, collaborative relationship with Elevation Pastor, and chief worship leader, Steven Furtick. "The dynamic of our relationship with our pastor is huge," says Mack.
"We want to be part of restoring the relationship between pastors and worship leaders, adds Wade. "It is important if the local church is to impact the world. I believe when you have the vision of the house in your heart, you end up receiving trust to really push things creatively, to try new things."
Song after song, For The Honor peels back the thematic layers of Elevation Church and the transformational nature of its outreach. "Pastor Steven has often said, "The church is the change the world is waiting for,'" Wade says. "That idea is such a monumental theme in our history and our culture. If we want to see our city change, it has to start in our church. "The Church" is a powerful reflection of this call to action, and was written specifically from Elevation's response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2009.
With For The Honor, even more than in its previous independent studio releases, Elevation Worship continues to push the creative envelope with bold new melodies that celebrate the freedom found only in Christ – yesterday, today and come what may.
"This record is a milestone for our church, a turning point saying the best is yet ahead." Wade says. It's incredibly moving to stand on that stage and look out over the people singing songs birthed out of this house: "He's alive, and we are free... we've found our peace.' It's really just the beginning."