"Onething Live: Shout Your Name" is available today from Forerunner Music. Jon Thurlow, the singer/songwriter on the title track and Jaye Thomas who contributed to the project, visited with Charisma's contributing writer to talk about the project at the International House of Prayer's Higher Grounds Coffee House in Kansas City.
Other worship leaders featured on the project include Misty Edwards, Laura Hackett Park, Jonas Park, Justin Rizzo and Ryan Kondo.
The project was recorded last December at Onething, an annual conference that attracted over 20,000 teenagers and young adults from all over the world to Kansas City. The songs' focus reflects the 2014 conference theme of "Until the fame of Jesus fills the earth."
LH: Tell me about your first experience at Onething. What was it like?
Thurlow: Mine was very awkward because I had never been to Onething. I was on the main stage with Misty Edwards at my first Onething and it was awkward and special at the same time in front of people from all over the world. There were 10,000 people in the (Kansas City Municipal) auditorium. There are young adults tracking with this "prayer" thing. There is something to this. The Lord is doing something.
Thomas: My first Onething was in 2008. Same exact scenario. I had moved here in August and just finished my internship. I was on the main stage with Cory Asbury team. There were probably 15,000 people there. I'm up there singing, and thinking "What am I doing here? How did this happen?" The thing that gripped me that I looked at room of 15,000 people and to see that many young people genuinely worshipping the Lord, fully given to what's being said and sung. It gripped my heart. Ironically enough I never experienced Onething not on the platform.
LH: All these researchers are saying that their is a mass exodus of millenials and young adults out of the church. I've been to Onething that last 3 years and I'm surrounded by over 20,000 young adults who come from all over the country to be in this. Why do you think they're coming here when researchers say they are leaving the church?
Thomas: Inside the church and outside the church we're seeing a genuine hunger for something authentic that goes beyond a conference setting or a movement that's lasting and eternal in the heart. People are not drawn to Onething because of us. Twenty years from now, people aren't going to remember my name. What they are after is a genuine encounter with the Lord. Even outside of the church, millennials are attracted to mysticism. magic and all of the other things that are counterfeit to the truth of the
gospel because they are looking for a genuine authentic encounter with God.
Thurlow: They are looking for something authentic and real. What are we emphasizing in the church these days? Are we emphasizing the Word of God and the Holy Spirit that are tangible and can change our lives? Or, are we emphasizing programs? They (young adults and millennials) will not get into fake. Even in Christian music we're seeing a shift. The emphasis was on a positive message and talking about life from a Christian perspective and I went to all of the Michael W. Smith concerts. When Hillsong, and Delirious starting coming out with worship music something shifted in worship and Christian music. Suddenly all this worship starts to emerge. If you're looking at the Christian music charts, what you're seeing at the top is Bethel, Jesus Culture, Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman. It's worship. It doesn't replace "singing to Jesus." When they are singing to the Lord and singing the word of God, something is happening.
LH: I like the song "Famous" which is very electronic/synth driven and timely with its message. Did you have a moment in Onething that inspired the song?
Thomas: Kyl Means brought me the music for the song a month before the conference. When I heard the music, the words came to me, "Until the fame of Jesus fills the earth." I wanted this to be an anthem for this generation. Until the whole earth is singing the same song, we'll continue to do what we're doing. It's Kyle and I both wrote it and it's an anthem song.
LH: I noticed a gospel flair in "For Your Glory."
Thomas: I heard it on the radio and I was gripped by it and loved it. I sang it and spontaneously added "send the winds of refreshing" as a response to God.
LH: I love the title track, "Shout Your Name." I kept hearing the line, "shout your name over us." What does that mean?
Thurlow: There are passages in the New Testament like John 17, like when the Lord declares His name. It's talking about the names of God. He is Jehovah Rapha, healer, restorer and redeemer. For the Lord to shout His name over us is God expressing who He is by singing it over us. It's a line calling for God to touch us. What brought about this song was my wife who has some physical challenges with chronic pain. I was thinking about the "healing" aspect. No one wants to make things right more than you." He made our bodies and no one cares more about our bodies then us. He wants to make it right. You take things that are wrong and make it right. I remember burying my face in prayer for my wife at the time to get healed and the lyrics coming to me.
LH: Do you remember any moments when one of the songs were recorded at the last Onething?
Thomas: I do remember during "Hymn" with the Cry. It as a special song that we did during the offering. It was one of my most challenging moments as worship leader at IHOP because we didn't get to do a sound check and we were having major technical issues. My microphone stopped working and I had to bolt across the stage to get to run to another mike. I wrote it as a meditation to John 1 and I was on Jon Thurlow's team when I wrote the song. I began to sing John 1 as a hymn because I love hymns. I remember during the performance of the song during the bridge where it says "Jesus made manifest, the song of righteousness, despising the shame, you paid for me you made a way," we felt the wind of the Spirit, the breath of the Lord. I remember feeling a tangible presence of the Lord that was really sweet and I had no idea that it would end up on the album.
Other standout tracks include the acoustic-driven "So Come" sung by Misty Edwards, one of IHOPKC's most well-known worship leaders, the very reflective "I Will Wait" from Ryan Kondo and about hearing God's voice "in the midst of this noise," and "Hymn (John 1)" from Jaye Thomas, featuring the gospel vocal ensemble, The Cry, made up of current or past prayer room singers and worship leaders at IHOPKC.
Also featured is Laura Hackett Park's "In The Presence of Angels" and "Lift Up Your Head," the inspiring song that gave her most recent album (Love Will Have Its Day) its title.
Leilani Haywood is a contributing editor for Charismamag.com.
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