Jared Anderson has been best known for his work with the Desperation Band and New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Through those ministries, you may know him as the writer of songs like ‘Rescue’ and ‘Amazed’. I became a fan through his 2008 project, ‘Where Faith Comes From’ because, frankly, it made me smile! His writing style is distinctively piano-driven, simple yet profound, and joy-provoking.
‘Live From My Church‘ (releasing Sept 22) is Anderson’s latest solo project. It differs from his previous recordings in that it is, in fact, a live recording of Anderson doing his worship-leading thing. There is no question that this project is for the church; Anderson’s distinct style shines through a set of songs that have been intentionally selected, arranged, and recorded to be accessible to most congregations and worship teams.
1. Lift the Name of Jesus High
An upbeat, high energy, joyful album opener. Easily learned by a congregation accustomed to modern worship music. Strong hook that may play in your head for hours. Lead keyboard line that makes me smile every time I hear it.
2. Never Be Shaken
A fun, upbeat song that would work well in young congregations, youth worship, and even kids ministry settings. Easy to imagine the actions that could be incorporated for kids. While Anderson’s piano is the lead instrument, song could easily be driven by electric guitars.
3. Prepare the Way
A scriptural ballad based in Isaiah 40:3 and Psalm 24. Song begins quite mildly, but builds to a strong cry of worship preparing the way for the King of Glory.
4. Fill Me Up
A beautiful song of surrender and pleading that asks Jesus to fill us up with his strength for our difficult journeys. Honestly, I’m not sure that my church is ready to engage in a song like this congregationally, but I hope we will get there!
5. How He Loves (John Mark McMillan)
One of the few cover tuned on this album. A great live version with a relatively uncomplicated band arrangement. No question that this song fits beautifully into the heart of Anderson’s worship leadership toolbox. I very much like his choice to close the song with simple, subdued keyboards and vocals.
6. God Be In My Head
A fresh, modern setting of familiar text from the 1500’s. Anderson adds just enough of his own lyrics to completely this incredibly rich psalm. Could be a powerful song of prayer and dedication for a congregation.
If you listen to this album in order, it’s clear that this track opens ‘movement 2’ of the project. A corner has been turned: the next few songs focus on our response to who God is. Higher energy instrumentation underlines this declaration of intent to be ‘clay in the potter’s hand… light in a darkened land… love lit on fire…. color to the black and grey…’ Not sure this is congregational for most churches, but is definitely a strong anthem of dedication to be people who follow a revolutionary God. Love the piano work on this one.
8. Glory of God
A plea for the Glory of God to save and set free… recognizing our role in bringing light, compassion, and justice. Chorus is more singable for a congregation than the rest of the song.
My favorite new congregational song on this project. Strong scriptural declaration of intent: “I’ll be the carrier of love and compassion… of light to the world… of hope and salvation… I will go shine your light to the world”. Simple enough to be singable by almost anyone. The lyrics are an incredibly rich statement of commitment. We have already used this song in our church as a response to a specific message.
Previously released on Anderson’s ‘Where Faith Comes From’ studio project. This version was recorded with just piano and vocals, including a worship choir singing harmonies. This is rarely done on modern worship projects, so it’s refreshing to hear! A solid congregational song of worship that we have used many times. Refer to the recording on the previous album for band arrangement, but use this one to teach the song to vocalists!
11. We Will Be Changed
Again, I’m struck by the track order of this project. The final song is a strong celebration of what it will be like when we see God’s face. Thematically and musically it’s a great punctuation mark to close out the album. A great song of hope for the congregation to sing together.
Overall, this is a strong set of songs for the church. Anderson’s songs are expressions of rich theology wrapped in great music. And that’s what makes me smile.