Grace Chapel Worship is the worship team from Grace Chapel in the small town of Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. Their new album is a live one entitled SO LOVED (2016, Grace House Music). It features lead vocals by seven different artists and was produced by Ian Eskelin, who has worked with the likes of Francesca Battistelli and Stellar Kart. Worship Pastor Jonathan Allen, who sings and plays acoustic guitar on the album, shares: “Steve Berger, our pastor, was doing a series entitled `So Loved’, and that is how the project got its title. Because God loved us first, we just want to tell Him that we love Him, too. Our prayer is that these songs say just that”. Part of the proceeds of the sale of SO LOVED are going to Josiah’s House, a boy’s home Grace Chapel started in the Dominican Republic.
Mia Fieldes, Rick Cua, and Jonathan Allen (who sings lead) wrote the rousing modern worship song ‘Meet Us Here’. It is one of supplication: “Come/Be the first thing, the last thing/All that we’re seeking/The one thing we’re asking/The one thing we’re needing/As every hand is raised/As every heart draws near/Meet us here”. ‘Crown Him (Forever)’ finds Logan Pringle singing lead. It has a majestic, celebratory feel to it and blends traditional lyrics with modern ones: “Crown Him the Lord of life who triumphed o’er the grave/And rose victorious in the strife/For those He came to save/His glories now we sing/Who died and rose on high/Who died eternal life to bring/And lives that death may die/The worthy One, the Lamb of God/We praise You Lord, forever/Most holy One, the Lamb of God/We praise You Lord, forever”.
‘One True Love’ is a melodic modern worship ballad that exalts Christ: “You are hope falling fresh over every generation/You are life, You are joy/You are healing for the nations/There is one true love greater than them all/One true love/One day every knee will fall at the feet of Jesus/The one true love”. ‘Name Above’ anticipates things to come: “Every knee will bow before the King/Every nation, tribe, and tongue will sing/Worthy is the Lamb who once was slain/Glory to the Name above all names”.
Chris Eaton and Allison Allen wrote ‘Christ Be All’. Adie Camp sings lead, while her famous husband Jeremy Camp provides backing vocals. The song is beautiful and reverent: “Christ beneath, Christ above/Christ o’er hate, Christ through love/When waters rise, when mountains fall/Christ be all/Christ be in all things/Christ be all through all things/From now until our journey’s done/Christ be all/And to Your Name I bind myself forever (3X)/To Your Name, oh what a name”. ‘Greater Still’ has a more classic praise and worship feel to it-think old Integrity Hosanna. It offers these words of testimony: “I no longer have to wander like a vagrant drifting soul/Cause You secured my destination on the cross that sealed my hope/Oh, greater still, greater still/God Your love is greater still/The cross declares from Calvary’s hill/God Your love is greater still”.
Next up is ‘My Victory’ penned by Jonathan Allen and Krystal Hawkins. The latter is better known as former CCM star Krystal Meyers. I only wish she had contributed vocals to this testimonial: “I’m redeemed, bought out of slavery/You conquered on the cross (2X)/By Your strength You shattered the enemy/You conquered on the cross (2X)/So I will sing praise to the King/You are my victory Jesus/With hands lifted high/Be glorified, You are my victory Jesus, Jesus/Now I’m free/Jesus I’m free indeed/Thank You God/Thank You”. Veteran CCM artist Amy Morriss Lowry contributes great lead vocals on the upbeat modern worship track ‘Just the Thought of You’. It’s the song of one truly in love with Christ: “Just the thought of You sets my heart ablaze/No one else but You can make me feel this way/In Your presence my soul starts to sing/Just the thought of You/Sets my feet to dancing (2X)/And Jesus, You are mine/You are mine forever/I’ll never find another love so true/A love so true”.
‘Love’ begins with these less than creative words: “For all of the broken/For all of the torn apart/For all of the dying/For every shattered heart/There is love, love, love/There is love for us”. ‘Face to Face’ is an easy listening song about intimacy with Jesus: “Lord You move me/I can feel You everywhere/And in all things I can see Your beauty/But nothing will compare/No nothing will compare/To beholding You as You fully are/To being completely undone in Your presence Lord/Oh, I’ll run to You and fall in Your embrace/Oh, I will see clearly then/When I see You face to face”.
Alisa Childers, daughter of Christian music pioneer Chuck Girard, and member of CCM pop/dance group ZOEgirl, sings lead on ‘The Table’, which focuses on communion: “I remember the death of my King/How Your life poured to restore everything/So I’m holding out these hands/Empty as I am/I come, I come/For the bread that was broken/For the blood that I hope in/I come, I come/Take my seat at the table/At the feast of my Savior”. Last up is a terrific praise and worship anthem, ‘Redeemed’. It was penned by Amy Lowry, Debi Selby, and Jonathan Allen. It speaks of our identity in Christ, with great joy: “Not forsaken anymore, I am sealed and I am Yours/I’ve been born of God and given a new name/Not abandoned anymore/I’m adopted, I’m adored/Redemption has become my greatest praise/My soul will say.../’Redeemed, redeemed/My King has ransomed me/I’m free, I’m free/My King has ransomed me’”.
CCM veteran and now Pastoral Care Pastor at Grace Chapel, Rick Cua, says: “Every track on Grace Chapel Worship’s new worship album, SO LOVED, is a reflection of what God is doing musically from week to week and song to song at our church”. Simply put, if you are a fan of modern praise and worship music, there is a lot for you to like here! The vocals and musicianship are commendable. Two of the musicians used are Gordon Mote and Mike Payne. The lyrics tend to be simple and repetitive, but that means you can catch on to and sing along with these twelve songs fairly easily. This is an album that glorifies God and not the performers. Love is easily the most common topic here-God’s love for us, and our love for Him. Unfortunately, if one is looking at the album as a work of art, there isn’t much to set it apart from the hundreds of other modern worship records already out there though. I’m rating SO LOVED 85%. For more info visit: www.gracechapelworship.net, www.gracechapel.net, and www.josiahshouse.net.