Lead singer Sean Curran answers for his band Bellarive, who will be leading worship at our National Worship Leader Conference in Pennsylvania this year.
What’s the band’s worship-leading/ministry background?
Worship-leading/ministry is really at the core of our existence as a band. We all met while serving at the student ministry of our home church. So much of the musical, lyrical and spiritual foundation of the band comes from how God has moved in the hearts of our church community. At the start of this journey, we were just responding to what the Lord was teaching us as a body of believers. For the six of us, that revelation took the form of worship songs. We never had any idea that these songs would have further reach than our home church, but it has been such a blessing to serve the Lord in this way. We will go wherever the He continues to take us.
You guys are a self-proclaimed worship band. What does it mean to write music for the purpose of worship rather than for the purpose of just “art”?
I believe worship music has a distinct and divinely engaging quality that separates it from all other music. While most music is constructed to direct attention toward the people on stage, worship music is designed to point all hearts and souls toward their Maker. It is intended to create a space. It’s a call for creation to participate in what they were created to do; a space for the creation to give is proper response to the Creator. I believe the idea of “art” can help create that space in a very beautiful way when the goal is to point people to their King. Art is sacred when it compels people to realize the Glory of their Designer.
Bellarive has been described as an atmospheric worship band. Can you describe how you can communicate worship instrumentally, and with minimal lyrics?
I think this is a two-part answer for us:
1) As a band we believe that music itself can create a specific environment or convey a particular mood or feeling. As we are writing, we do our best to be sensitive to that idea as we pair the sonic portion of a song with its lyrical counterpart. We believe that God’s movement isn’t limited to just words, so we are equally intentional with both sides of a song. It’s important that they convey the same thing.
2) We are also sensitive to the idea of breath or Selah. Although worship music is most definitely corporate and collective, it can be equally personal and individual. It is important to allow space for the children of God to commune with Him in an individual way. When you strip the lyrics back, it allows people to sing their own song to God. It also helps create some room for God to speak back…
You lead worship at a myriad of places, including church, conferences, concerts, etc. Is there a change in mindset you must make when transitioning between each of these venues?
I think it is always important to be sensitive and discerning of the spiritual climate you enter. Each environment has its unique qualities and we do our best to respond to them appropriately. With that being said, the posture of reverence and heart of worship is always a constant and should never be compromised. I just think it’s important to allow the Lord to navigate those waters for you. When Jesus was ministering to people on earth, he told many different parables to convey the same beautiful message. I think we should respond to our different musical worship opportunities in the same way. Never to hide Jesus, but always to help reveal Him. One of the beautiful things about Jesus is that he can be revealed in so many different ways.
The song “Taste of Eternity” was on Worship Leader’s list of top 15 congregational song of 2012. Can you share a little of what that song means and the story behind it?
Taste of Eternity is a song that was birthed out of a time of worship. A time of just simply worshiping the Father for all the He is and all He has done for us. The song focuses in on the truth that we have been designed to worship God forever. It’s about the idea that worship, the act of God being glorified, has an eternal scope. It has been and will always be. So, when we worship the Father, it’s like we step into an eternal space. It’s like we tap into a world that our hearts connect with because our souls have known it for a very long time. So, it’s like we catch a glimpse of eternity.
In the artistic process of creating and recording music, what are some practical ways in which you actively pursue keeping Christ the focal point of the process as well as the end result?
One of the first things that comes to mind is accountability. A really cool thing about having a six person band is that God can always move through five other people to keep you centered.
It is also important to have the right posture. That can be a great gut-check as to where your heart is at in the process. Worship songs should always be for, and in response to, Jesus. That should be the measure of success, the goal, the end result, the purpose. Jesus. With your satisfaction in Him, your perspective is a spiritual one. 10 person crowds, 100,000 person crowds, band practice in my garage in the middle of summer, radio play; it all become the same thing…. an opportunity to worship the King.
You will be at our National Worship Leader conference in Pennsylvania this year, which is one of the largest gatherings of worship leaders in the world. If you could say/commission one thing to every worship leader, what would it be?
We are so excited to be a part of the conference this year! Our hope is that we can come together as the children of God to worship in spirit and truth. Not just to sing with our lungs, but to sing with our souls. Not just to worship with our words, but to be commissioned to worship with our entire lives. Lets sing like we know He is listening!