By Keith Getty
Kristyn and I are very excited to release our first-ever live album, “Live at The Gospel Coalition,” which was recorded at The Gospel Coalition’s 2013 National Conference (TGC). As well as including some of our better-known hymns, we did a number of traditional hymns and encouraged the congregation to sing unaccompanied on them with really rich harmonies. These are great moments, reminding us of the power that lies in having a canon of songs we can carry through life, as individuals and as congregations.
The album features some of our newer hymns, too. “Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed,” which is the opening track on the album, began over conversations about faith and doubt and, in particular, the current discussions around belief in God and atheism. Talking with Kristyn’s uncle, John Lennox, who is an internationally renowned speaker on the interface of philosophy, science, and religion, as well as an Oxford University professor, we considered the story of Thomas — where doubt turns into faith. It inspired a song to relive that story inside the context of one of the oldest and most universal greetings in Christendom — “Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed!” We co-wrote the song with our new friend, Ed Cash, and premiered it at our own church on an Easter Sunday. We often use it to begin both concerts and services as we meet together to celebrate the historical fact that our Lord is risen. On this we build our faith for life. Here’s a video of the song from the conference.
We also included a brand new hymn on the album, “Lift High the Name of Jesus,” written especially for the conference. Musically we wanted to write something that felt a little like an old gospel hymn — more like the rallying ones than the nostalgic ones — and something that would hopefully put a smile on your face and in your voice! Thematically speaking we were inspired mainly by TGC’s focus on missions at the 2013 conference. As we thought about evangelism specifically, three key thoughts emerged: Sharing our story of faith with others, living a Christ-centered life in His strength for all to see, but in all this knowing it is God who saves and is the Lord of the harvest. The line “Lift High the Name of Jesus’” seemed to anchor each of these thoughts and be the overarching goal of living a missional, kingdom-seeking life.
Here’s more video from the conference:
With these two songs and the album as a whole, we are hopeful people will use the songs to fill their thoughts and their mouths with music that points them to the Lord. We also hope the songs, particularly in these live settings, will help more and more congregations pick them up for use in their own services as they look to deepen the catalog from which they sing. And, for those of us who were fortunate to attend the conference, knowing these songs were chosen specifically to fit around the messages of the speakers, we hope the album is an opportunity to reaffirm what we heard and what we learned there.