In 2006, I was introduced to Sovereign Grace Ministries by my pastor, Mike Lee, who insisted that I accompany him to the WorshipGod ’06 conference held at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. As a pastor, musician, and believer, I can honestly say that week was one of the times in my life that I will always remember (the staff here at 3BC joke that I was ‘saved’ at WorshipGod…I’m not sure I can disagree!).
Since that week in August 2006, I have followed Sovereign Grace Ministries and have incorporated much of their music into the congregational repertoire here at 3BC. Sovereign Grace has developed and nurtured song writing like I’ve not seen before, at least with the theological, gospel-driven quality like they do. The songs they write sing the gospel again and again. They have been a blessing.
My friend, Bob Kauflin, director of Sovereign Grace Music, says this about the album in the liner notes:
How does one define a hymn? It’s hard to say, but most hymns are characterized by theologically rich lyrics, symmetrical rhythmic patterns in the verse lyrics, and a tune that congregations find easy to sing. At the heart of hymn-writing is a desire to create a song that will endure for generations.
He goes on to say:
Inspired by the hymn writers of the past, we’ve written 14 new hymns for this album. Some songs are old hymn lyrics set to new tunes. For others, we used the thematic structure of a hymn as the basis for an entirely new song. And, in some cases, we’ve written completely new hymns that attempt to communicate the inexhaustible riches of God’s word and the Gospel through the simple elements of words and melodies.
The song texts are theologically rich. As I listened through the album from song to song, the themes of God’s sovereignty and glory in the face of Jesus Christ is evident. The Gospel – God’s greatness, man’s rebellion, Christ’s atonement, and the hope of heaven worship – permeates every song. They sing the gospel!
Musically, the songs explore a musical language unlike previous Sovereign Grace projects. In last year’s WorshipGod ’11, we experienced the worship leadership of Enfield and Sojourn, and it sounds as if their musical style has impacted this particular album. That’s good…in that Sovereign Grace continues to explore arrangements and combination of a variety of instruments. That’s also not so great in that…well…it’s a style that I have to work through.
Songs that stand out to me as I continue to listen are “Great Things”, “Our Song from Age to Age”, “Abba Father” and “How Great You Are”. “Glorious Christ” is probably the song that will be readily sung by a congregation, and “Immovable Our Hope Remains” is a musical sermon…stately, hymn-like, and in 5/4. My least favorite song, right now, is “O My Soul, Arise”…yet, as I continue to listen to it and settle in with a text married to a minor key, it may become a favorite.
To finish, I continue to be encouraged by the barrage of new, young song writers that are contributing to the song of the Church. If we consider the new, young writers on this album, who are being encouraged and guided by those more experienced, this album is truly is From Age to Age.