Elevation Worship released their new album LION this month, and frontman Chris Brown detailed the process of creating a record that’s outside of the normal Church music they’ve released in the past.
The worship band, which grew out of the multi-campus Elevation Church worship team based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was instrumental in transforming modern worship music into she is today. Some of his hits include “Graves Into Gardens”, “The Blessing” with Kari Jobe and “O Come to The Altar”.
The team’s songs are written and composed by ministry pastor Steven Furtick and Brown, the church’s worship leader.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Brown said he was raised in the Church, as his father is a pastor. He and Furtick have known each other since they were teenagers, playing together in “little punk rock” bands.
“It’s like a dream to keep doing this with him all these years later. I’ve been here for 15 years. I came to the church planting for about a year, and we write songs, really since the first day I came,” Brown explained.
“That vision was always in his heart for Elevation to be a worshiping church, for Elevation to have songs that we write and give language to our people for what God is doing here through our ministry,” he said. he stated about Furtick.
LIONfeatures songs derived from a place of creative freedom, Brown said, explaining that the band felt called to write and release the album. Elevation Worship’s sound has “evolved” both “stylistically” and “musically” over the years, the singer said, calling it a “wild blessing”.
After 14 albums, Brown said it was “heavy to keep figuring out how to wear what God gave us to wear” as the band produces new music.
Furtick and Elevation Church found themselves at the center of controversy as the mega-church grew in popularity. More recently, Furtick and his wife have come under fire online for praising their son’s rap project in which he raps about sex, money and guns.
Additionally, Elevation Worship’s music has been criticized by critics who argue that Furtick’s doctrine and lyrics do not reflect Orthodox Christianity.
The Elevation website, however, maintains that the church has an orthodox view of the Bible.
Brown told CP he handles criticism like his parents, who have been in the ministry his whole life, molded him.
“I had an incredible example in both my parents because my mother was behind the organ every Sunday morning. We literally lived across the street from the church, so at least five days a week I ran the halls of our church. I just grew up in church,” he noted.
“I even saw my parents show how to minister and how to be in ministry and still love people and still serve those whom God has called them to serve in our little church in our little town,” Brown continued. . “I think it’s had a big impact on how I raise my kids, and it’s taught a lot about how I approach ministry now.”
The father-of-two said he doesn’t always get it right, but his heart seeks to worship Jesus in everything he does.
“I don’t assume in the least that I’m always perfect or always right. I could probably find things that I said five years ago, 10 years ago, whose methodology I don’t even necessarily agree with anymore,” he said. “But it’s part of being human, it’s part of evolution. Now, if it wasn’t biblically rooted or not scripturally rooted, that’s another thing. But I also hope there is grace for someone who is constantly learning.
“My approach is that I try to be as faithful as possible, to God and to his bride, and to the Church,” Brown added.
The singer said he remains humble and grounded by serving day to day in his local church despite the success of the tour and the music.
“I know in my heart that I am still like that 17-year-old who felt called to ministry when all I knew back then was the example my parents gave me my whole childhood” , he commented.
“It was being faithful to what God gives you, be it the work he gave you, the gifts he gave you, the talents, and being faithful to his people. No one is perfect, but keep serving and trusting God who knows your motives, and He will correct the wrong motives.
Elevation Worship worked onLION for 18 months. Following their albums From tombs to gardens and Basement of the old church with Maverick City, Brown said they were inspired to write differently.
“I think because of our two collaborations on those albums, we worked creatively with others, I think we come out of Basement of the old church and how deep we dipped into both the writing process and how to record. We wrote a lot of songs just two weeks before, or even the week of this recording.
On several of their previous albums, Brown said they knew the songs “well in advance” and had “sung the songs in church for most of the albums for months”.
“For us, this context of where we’ve been for the past couple of years, it’s opened up the landscape for us creatively on what a ‘church song’ was, what a ‘worship song’ was,” he added.
“I think for years when we were learning to write worship songs and just learning the technical side, we wrote with a lot of rules. We kind of wrote inside a box. And I think for the last couple of years we’ve pressed around the edges of the box to make it a little bigger.
He described the new album as “a whole assortment of styles” because it’s so different from what Elevation Worship has released in the past.
The album’s first track, titled “Bye Bye Babylon”, is “not a Sunday morning song”, according to the frontman. However, the lyrics had a deep meaning for them.
“I think there is still so much biblical resonance in this song. It’s just very different musically,” Brown explained. “I just think through the album, there’s this assortment. It’s like a box of chocolates. You don’t know what’s next.
Brown told CP that everything was confirmed when they decided on the album name, and Furtick told the band to use a photo of a lamb as the album cover instead of a lion.
“When he conceptualized this for us, I feel like it all made sense, and it all lined up because it’s this album that’s not very singular in its sound,” Brown concluded.