Measuring up to the worship—deep and wide—provided over the years through the Passion conferences and releases is a daunting affair; the Passion community of artists raise a lofty standard for themselves and others. Let the Future Begin continues the tradition of worship’s leading artists and songwriters (Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redman, Brett Younker, Christy Nockels, Crowder, Jason Ingram, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, Matt Maher, Martin Smith, among many others) passionately connecting to the message of their music, stirring others to join in and live out the song.
This time around, the release launches a future of solidarity with those who suffer as victims of human trafficking, standing in the gap, taking on the character of Jesus in a movement dedicated to freeing modern slaves. “Shout,” a pounding dance anthem, and the album’s final song, addresses the theme of justice most directly, “Strong friend of the ones forgotten / You fight the cause of the weak and broken / Let justice roll like a river….” 60,000 worshipers embrace the “new song” of the Lord with passionate power on Let the Future Begin; the sheer energy infuses the album with a heavenly excitement and lifts the anthems of praise even higher.
The way of the future is through the past, and though “Jesus, Only Jesus” featuring Matt Redman, and “Once and for All” featuring Chris Tomlin are new songs, they are both connected to the past through Scripture and history. The latter is a remediation of the Nicene Creed, and each song beautifully proclaims the attributes, character, and mission of Christ. A gift to congregational worship, they are immediate adds to your setlists—across generations and traditions. In fact, there is not a song on Passion: Let the Future Begin that doesn’t have a future in the Church, in one context or another.
“Burning in My Soul” seems to have a little of IHOP and The Call (prayer movements) DNA, calling for a modern Pentecost, affirming the “we” and unity of the body. “We’re all here together, waiting here as one.” It features a fiery performance by Brent Younker who also wrote “Come to the Water” with Kristian Stanfill (who sings it on this release). Christy Nockels soars on the exquisite “My Delight Is in You” as it modulates heavenward, then ebbs to quiet adoration pouring into a relatively whispered bridge of Doerksen’s “Refiner’s Fire,” a perfect return to the original song.
Additionally, Recent classics (“Revelation Song” featuring Kari Jobe and “In Christ Alone”) plus songs from Tomlin’s recent Burning Lights album (including the already embraced “Whom Shall I Fear [God of Angel Armies]” and “God’s Great Dance Floor”) are also included. And like a well-planned service, give us something familiar to stand on.
More: Crowder’s rendering of “Here’s My Heart” illustrates the passion the movement proclaims. This quiet prayer of intimacy and freedom connects heaven and earth in profound simplicity. WOW.
Less: The tenor takeover. Christy’s awe-inspiring interpretive depth and Kari’s emotional in-Spirited (alternately airy and anthemic) singing need more exposure.