I started blogging in 2006 and hit the ground running for equipping and training worship people and then leaders in general. I have to say it is not easy keeping up steam and after a long 6 month hiatus I wanted to bring back the blog with an interview with a worship leader friend of mine who seems to have an overabundance of “steam”.
David Santistevan blogs at http://www.davidsantistevan.com and is Worship Pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburg, PA. He is also the only friend I have that I am pretty sure I have pronounced his last name 14 different ways.
His Church has a new album that released today and so I wanted to have a chat with him on his heart behind all of this.–
JOEL: I read how this CD was created on your site: http://www.davidsantistevan.com/allison-park-worship/. What I found amazing was you did a retreat, practiced and then made this amazing CD. Were these songs tested out in your church before you made sure they made the cut? What has your congregations reaction been to this new music?
DAVID: 8 out of the 10 songs are songs we sing regularly at APC. “God of the Impossible” and “Closer” are newer and a bit less congregational so they weren’t as familiar. We knew they were important songs so we decided to include them. Our church loves these songs. Many of them have been sung for years so it feels good to finally put them out there for people to take home.
JOEL: I love that they are originals and therefore represent the vision of the house. How did you guys approach the music sonically? Did any current music influence you guys how you wrote or did you just let it all flow to see what would come out?
DAVID: We’re definitely influenced by a lot of great artists. We love the creativity and prolific quality of Hillsong. We love the passion and energy of Elevation. We love the production quality of Jesus Culture and the musical creativity of Rend Collective Experiment. So, yes. Lots of influences. Early in the creative process we made a list of creative musical ideas we liked. We referenced that throughout the production process.
JOEL: Was there an overall “theme” for this CD?
DAVID: We didn’t set out to create a certain “theme”. We just wanted to capture the people of God worshiping and experiencing His presence. But as you listen to the record, there is this cool theme that runs throughout about the life-changing, “undying” love of God. No matter what, His love doesn’t let us go. That frees us to sacrifice, to dream, and live a big life for His glory.
JOEL: One of the things I love about your blog is it is dedicated to equipping worship leaders. I know as a worship pastor myself that two of my main roles are to glorify God and also equip others to do the same. What kind of thought did you give to this album lyrically to make sure it was corporate enough to be used but at the same time challenging in a way that would teach truth and doctrine in a non watered down way?
DAVID: This is a tension I’m constantly managing. My songwriting downfall is that I over-explain – I use too many lyrics. The collaborative process was great with these songs. Some team members were more lyrically driven. Others were great with melody. It really made the songs as stronger as we worked together. We also revised these songs a ton. We didn’t just settle on our first ideas. We prayed, we re-wrote, re-wrote some more, explored Scripture and worked hard to make the songs the best they could be.
JOEL: When I received your album I was really excited to see that you included all the chord charts for each song. So many worship teams these days will only include the chart for their “hit single”. While I know these songs were for “the house” it seems to me, just by those charts alone, that you guys have a real vision for “the church”. What would be your ultimate hope in getting this album into the hands of people?
DAVID: As a worship leader, you know you love a great song – a song that engages your people, teaches them truth, and serves your church. That’s my prayer for this record – that these songs would serve the church. They don’t need to be highly arranged and produced to work. They were all written on either an acoustic guitar or piano. They are prayers from the heart. I hope it resonates with people all over the world.
JOEL: Thanks so much for answering these simple questions for me. Is there anything else you want to add?
DAVID: Joel, thanks for the opportunity man. I’m blessed by what you do in serving the worship leader community. Though I’ll never have a beard as cool as yours, I’m still honored to know you 🙂
Nothing excites me more in worship when people actually sounds like they believe what they are singing.
I for one am excited for this release and to see what God does through the worship songs you have created as a team. It is not only a well written album, but it has been produced amazingly. This is a professional release from a group of worshipers who truly are seeking the heart of God and want to minister to Him and the church.
GO GET THIS THING…Here is the itunes link!!!