The lead pastor of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas, John Burke says the following of the 1211 Band: “These twelve artists are some of the most gifted I have known, including members who have toured the world with Lifehouse, Seal, and the Black Eyed Peas; performed on Broadway; and toured with world-renowned orchestras...Some coming from prison, some from addictions, others from failed marriages, even from other faiths-all finding healing and restoration as they started following Christ together as a small group.” 1211’s UNPLUGGED-THE BAPTISM was recorded live at a baptism service on July 18, 2012.
The album begins with a male voice inviting those who feel they should be baptized during the service to come and be prayed for by pastors first. Readings from Luke 15 follow, emphasizing God’s heart for lost individuals and the joy in heaven when one person returns to God. It is pointed out that those who are baptized are now a part of us as God’s family. Throughout the service applause is heard when someone is baptized.
The first song ‘Brothers (Lovers in Japan)’ is a great alternative rock song. It borrows from the Coldplay song, but adds a spiritual twist with additional lyrics: “Today we lift our voice in song/Singing of God’s only Son/Oh, oh, dreaming of His kingdom come.../Humbled before You now and we have no doubt/One day the Son will come back.” ‘Beautiful One’, the popular worship chorus written by Tim Hughes, follows. It includes these words: “Beautiful One I love/Beautiful One I adore/Beautiful One my soul must sing/Powerful, so powerful Your glory fills the skies/Your mighty works displayed for all to see/The beauty of Your majesty awakes my heart to sing/How marvelous, how wonderful You are.”
Michael W. Smith’s ‘Agnus Dei’ (latin for Lamb of God) is reverent: “Alleluia, Alleluia, for our Lord God Almighty reigns (2X)/Alleluia, holy, holy/Are You Lord God Almighty/Worthy is the Lamb (2X)/You are holy/Holy.” ‘Surrender’ is a beautiful original worship ballad penned by Ramy Antoun, Lauren Tyler, and Jacob Hildebrand: “We lay down our pride/We lay down our fear/We lay down our lives/God, we lay it down/We lay down our pain/Surrender all of our shame in Your Name/We pray, cause God You laid it down.” This track includes a prayer for people to surrender or rededicate their lives to God, turning from sin and conquering strongholds. Eric Bryant then gives a testimony reminding us of the importance of listening to God and just what He wants to do in and through our lives. A pretty version of Brooke Fraser’s ‘Lead Me to the Cross’ is next. Those who like songs about the atonement will appreciate this one: “Savior I come/Quiet my soul/Remember/Redemption’s hill/Where Your blood was spilled/For my ransom/Everything I once held dear/I count it all as loss/So lead me to the cross/Where Your love poured out.” At this point the congregation takes communion and prayer is said for those who are baptized.
‘Beautiful Things’ is the artistic title track from Gungor’s 2010 album: “Hope is springing up from this old ground/Out of chaos life is being found in You/You make beautiful things/You make beautiful things out of dust/You make beautiful things/You make beautiful things out of us.” The last song is ‘Manifesto’, a praise anthem popularized by The City Harmonic: “We believe in the one true God/We believe in Father, Spirit, Son/We believe that good has won/And all of the people of God sang along/Amen.” At service’s end, God is thanked for what He accomplished and for making all things new.
All in all, UNPLUGGED –THE BAPTISM is a testament to the fact that God is alive and well and still transforming lives. The worship songs presented here are done so in contemporary and exciting ways. God is given all the glory! Fans of Hillsong, Kari Jobe, and Chris Tomlin should acquire this CD. For more info visit www.1211band.com and www.turningpointpr.com.