Known for his work with New Life Church and the Desperation Band, Jared Anderson is the writer of such modern worship favorites as “Rescue” and “Amazed.” He’s also the force behind two critically-acclaimed solo projects, 2006’s Where To Begin and 2008’s Where Faith Comes From, both of which infused Anderson’s worshipful lyrics with pop sensibility. Now, playing to all his best strengths as an artist and songwriter, while keeping the Church clearly in focus, he returns with Jared Anderson Live From My Church.
“Writing outside the New Life context was such a cool opportunity,” he says of his two previous albums, “but all the while, the congregational songs I’d written were taking off, were really gaining acceptance.” Then when the church found itself rocked by controversy, “The self-questioning grew intense for everyone on staff and it just became clearer and clearer to me personally that I was meant to write worship that people in the pews can sing.”
Clarity is a powerful thing. And Live From My Church finds this long-term Coloradoan getting back to his corporate worship roots.
“It’s been a real process of self-discovery, of stumbling in the right direction and finding myself, artistically and as a worshiper.” Ultimately, doing what works for worship is Anderson’s greatest passion, the organic, un-watered down approach to crafting songs, his finest gift.
“The first half of the record really echoes with the idea of receiving from the Lord. Receiving his grace, receiving his mercy, receiving his forgiveness,” Anderson explains. “The second half is about responding by giving back—giving our worship back to God, giving our love away...reaching out and giving what we’ve been given.”
Anderson points to the Psalm 1:3, the ‘tree planted by streams of living water that brings forth fruit in time...’ as a pivotal scripture for the inspiration behind the new record – a reminder that as we received life from God, we give back.
“Of all the images that could’ve been used to describe a person who knows God or who is blessed, God used a tree. Seriously, a tree. It’s interesting that God would use that. For me, the X and Y of how a tree works is this: Every tree grows up. That’s intention. That’s the Y. Singularity of direction. But every tree also grows out. That’s the X, and that’s imagination. If you’re going to grow up, you have roots as tall as your branches, or you’ll topple when the storms come.”
Up and out. Receive and give.
From the joyful, rousing opener “Lift the Name,” to “Never Be Shaken,” an anthem for difficult times, to the unforgettable version of John Mark McMillan’s “How He Loves,” to the project benedictions of “Glorified” and “We Will Be Changed,” Live From My Church is a powerful reminder that God is the Author of every good thing in our lives, and the only response to his grace is uncompromised worship in action.
The ColdPlay-esque single “Inside,” declares “I will be clay in the Potter’s Hand / I will be light in a darkened land / I will be love lit on fire / Holy Spirit burn on the inside…” stands out as a modern anthem for today’s generation.
“God Be In My Head,” Anderson’s twist on an ancient poem/prayer, stands as one of the richest songs on the CD, a daily psalm for passionate, modern believers. “I was praying one morning, and that idea popped into my head,” he explains. “I thought ‘That’s already a song,’ but I Googled it, and there it was. A six-line poem/prayer from the 1500s, with a melody of its own. I knew I had to sing this, so I kept almost all the lyrics and used it as a springboard to add the rest. I think I’ll always sing this one.”
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach good news to the poor
To bind up the brokenhearted, to make you known even more
So people living in darkness will see the great light
I’ll be the carrier of love and compassion...
“Carrier” picks up the theme of ‘giving back,’ a response to take Jesus’ healing to a broken world. It’s a song that, as experience has proven, has already made a powerful connection with worshipers.
“Connecting with people, it’s not just about the song, it’s not just about a strong lyric...” Anderson says. “You make a memory with people through a song, whether it’s musical or lyrical, and every time you hear it, you go back to that place, that emotion, that connection surfaces.”
That’s why, he says, writing songs for live worship and leading it requires a certain letting go, a certain surrendering of your own agenda. “Connecting in a live setting is about relationship, about letting people know that you’re there for them, not for yourself... you have to surrender what you want to do in order to reach them.”
The total result of Live From My Church is a CD packed with 11 songs written with congregational worship in mind, sonically stripped down to what a live church band can accomplish on a given Sunday.
“There’s a little something for every congregation here,” Anderson says. “There are three or four songs that First Baptist would do. There are four or five songs that First Baptist would never do, but First Charismatic Church will... I try to have a filter on what goes into me, not what comes out, so that creatively there are no limits.”
“Worship leaders are in the foot washing business,” he continues. “If you want to lead, you have to serve. And if you want to serve, you have to surrender. And if you surrender, you’re really going to have to die. So to lead is to really die.” Not an easy road for anyone, he says, but Anderson cares more about the process than the parameters. “I’m up for whatever... but the ultimate goal is to serve the church. And I think these songs will serve and hopefully challenge the church.”
:)| Posted October 28, 2009
His music wasn't really what I was used to listening on the Christian music "scene" but I gave him a listen cause-er- it was free and I really liked it. I hope to gather enough money in order to get the cd. I hope to see more from Jared Anderson.
Great Worship| Posted October 13, 2009
I had heard one of Jared Anderson's songs a few years ago, but I really took notice when the church I began attending two years ago began using a lot of songs by him and the Desperation Band. I always find the songs encouraging! Great songwriter.