I am not a worship leader, but I have been playing drums for over 15 years in church, and in Youth Ministry we had one kicking worship band.
I love music.
I love worship music.
If it wasn't for my home church (Evangel AG in Philly, Stand Up!) and Pastor Mike Poppa giving me a chance to rock the skins (and I do mean rock, I was hitting those things pretty hard) I don't think I would be involved in ministry today.
Pastor Mike really changed my life...worship music changed my life.
So here are the Top 10 Worship Albums that influenced my life greatly.
10. The Rock Cries Out: Petra This was worship music in the 80s turned up to eleven. Before Hillsong had soaring guitars or David Crowder had computer loops, this was worship unlike anything in its day. I grew up buying Petra albums and this one still stands up today, or as much as a hair band can stand the test of time.
9. GLO: Delirious? We didn't know what their name meant and we didn't care. They were British and were the closest thing to sounded like U2 in the Christian Bookstore. Although this was not their most influential work as Cutting Edge to the worship industry, Glo was on heavy rotation in CD player. My Glorious was as epic (for this song it applies) as it was powerful. Seriously guys, what's up with the ? at the end of the name...?
8. Let The River Flow: Darrel Evans His most famous work effort is Trading My Sorrows, and although that song has one sick bass line, this album was a real jewel. I love his voice because unlike many contemporaries of his day who sound like boys who have not hit puberty, Evans voice had grace and conviction.
7. Offerings: Third Day When these southern boys came out in the 90s I thought they were a Christian version of Hootie and the Blow Fish and didn't want to hold their hand. A friend of mine gave me a copy of this album and I feel in love with this album, maybe more than the band. It was more than just a collection of live tracks, it was a brilliant blend of worship, hymns, and some Bob Dylan thrown in too. Thief is one of the best written worship songs I ever heard.
6. Nu Nation Project: Kirk Franklin Its hard to find a gospel album quite like this one. Only Kirk Franklin could get R. Kelly and Bono in the same room, let alone, on the same track. It was worship for both sides of the radio dial FM and AM; Secular and Christian. There is no Israel Houghton, and The Power of One, if you do not have Kirk Franklin and the NU Nation.
5. Hymns Ancient & Modern: Passion I found this album by accident in the Christian bookstore, or should I say, this album found me. A great concept of taking hymns and making them modern, fresh, and relevant. Hymns... gave me a new love for this classic musical art-form, that sometimes is left in the pew and not in our hearts.
4. Illuminate: David Crowder Band There is something about that skinny Texan with think frames and a fat goatee and even bigger hair, because hey, everything is bigger in Texas. This album is no exception. Its technical, it's passionate, and funky-fresh. Honestly I do not think DCB has been able to match it's brilliance since.
3. The Medicine: John Mark McMillan The timing of this album is essential. Today worship is getting bigger and bigger and more produced than maybe what it is good for. I love doing things with excellence and I love big songs, but this album is raw, introspective, and takes you to a secret place rather singing about it 10x and never doing it. John Mark may have been made famous for How He Loves, but this album couldn't be farther from that style, and maybe that's the point. Check out this live version of 10 Thousand, this song stirs me.
2. Shout To the Lord: Hillsong Live This album, this title track never gets old, period. That is probably why it was on American Idol in 08. What makes Hillsong great is not only are their arrangements always current and brilliant, their lyrics are some of the finest written songs in the industry. I grew up on this album. Pastor Mike really gave me a love for worship music. He would get so excited every time a new Hillsong album came out and we always were learning new songs. Which is probably why I was the same way with my youth group.
1. Look To You: Hillsong United In the mid 2000s worship music was becoming more popular than CCM and it started to become as generic. Until this album came on the scene. I remember being at a youth retreat and the band did their set pretty much all from this album. I was inspired. I never heard worship music like this before. It was ultra current, well written, and it got me excited about worship music again. We immediately started to learn the songs and take them back to our youth group. It was if the light switch was turned on. I think there is something to Psalm 40; to singing a new song.
Although, the following album United We Stand, put Hillsong United on the map, it was Look To You that changed my life and helped me inspire a whole new generation of worshipers.
What worship albums have inspired you?