By Steve Reed
Releasing a record in the middle of global pandemic isn’t ideal but it’s also a great opportunity to put faith into the hearts and mouths of people who are encountering uncertainty. Over the phone we talked with Passion worship leader Melodie Malone to talk about how the record came together and how Passion City Church is adapting to this season.
WLM: Passion has been around for a long time but I think if you don’t know the story or mission you might look at this record and be a bit confused as there are so many different voices on the same album. Can you talk to us about how this project came together and the heart of the event?
Melodie: Basically this album was from Passion 2020, which was a gathering of over 65,000 college students at Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta.
WLM: That’s a lot of people.
Melodie: Yeah it was pretty incredible. This year we had more volunteers helping at the event than even attended the first passion gathering.
WLM: Passion has certainly been an event that has stood the test of time.
Melodie: Yeah, Passion has been around for 20 plus years. What I think is cool is that the heartbeat has always been the same. Gathering around Isaiah 26:8 “For your name and your fame is the desires of our souls.”
As a worship leader, it’s been cool because there hasn’t been a different theme each year. It’s always been about helping college students learn to live for what matters most. We know that’s such a pivotal age for all of us. I think we can all go back to that point in our lives and realize that we made some big and important decisions. What to do career-wise and understanding our faith apart for our parents. So a lot of what Passions’ goal is, is to help us see that our lives revolve way more than just around ourselves and that Jesus is the center. That the whole point and purpose of our lives is to make Him famous and live for him.
“It’s always been about helping college students learn to live for what matters most.”
So coming into passion 2020 we had a few new songs that we wanted to record but we weren’t really sure if there was going to be a record. It was one of those things where we wanted to be in the moment and we wanted to lead and stand in the gap for these people who are just so desperate for Jesus. What was cool was that a record came out of it.
Because there were so many people that are on the record, It was much more of a reminder of the first albums. Hillsong United, Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe, David Crowder, and of course our team. So many people that had a hand in it. From all the amazing moments we then have an incredible team that picks the moments that we felt captured the sound of the moment and the sound of a generation. This generation does love Jesus. They do seek after him. The church isn’t dead but there are 65,000 college students that are going after Jesus in such a beautiful way.
“This generation does love Jesus.
They do seek after him.
The church isn’t dead…”
WLM: It’s a crazy time in the world right now with all the coronavirus stuff. How is Passion City Church adapting?
Melodie: We are not meeting on Sundays right now. Like most churches we are doing online gatherings. We’ve been recording something for our kids and for our preschoolers as well. Pretty much trying to take everyone online, even our community groups. They are meeting on Zoom, whose stock is probably skyrocketing.
But as we do find ourselves in the middle of something, I think we have found that we have this choice to make to turn towards God and trust Him. To believe that He’s working things out and inviting us to His mercy. So I think at the end of the day we want to be found worshiping through of all this. In the middle of the uncertainty be confident that He is sure and He is a firm foundation and that He love us. For that, He is worthy of my praise. I want to be that person, like Paul and Silas in prison, who is found worshiping in the middle of problems and heartache. Worship helps our mind be fixed on his faithfulness. To know that fear and the doubt go away as we get into His presence, because the word says that perfect love casts out fear.
“…At the end of the day we want to be found worshiping through of all this.”
That’s what we are trying to do at Passion City Church, to realize that we have an opportunity right now to worship Jesus to praise him in the middle of the unknown and to realize that we have the answer to what everything is looking for right now. His name is Jesus.
WLM: What does worship look like right now for your church?
Melodie: Right now we are stripping it down. Every week we keep getting less and less. Last week we had a full band with everyone standing their 6 feet apart. We did our normal thing but with fewer cameras. This week we are pairing down even more. We had a full front line of singers last week with 6 people leading and this week we will have 2. We are just trying to be wise and come under the authority of our government leadership as well as take advantage of the opportunity to share the good news.
WLM: Before we go, talk to me about what songs from the album have been working the best at your church.
Melodie: I feel like most of these songs have really worked in our church. King of Glory, has been great, partly because tempo is such a necessity in the church today. It’s fun and lyrically it has meaning, which I really love. We play that in all gatherings. It’s great for students and kids, main service as well. I would say the same thing for There’s Nothing That Our God Can’t Do, it’s just a song of faith which is really needed at this moment.
It is Finished is a big one for us. It’s a gospel song. A cross song. We always try to remember in planning our setlist that we are taking people up a mountain that really ends at the cross. Always trying to have a song that strictly says, “Hey this is the gospel.”
As far as my favorite moment, it’s got to be No One But You. It’s a Hillsong song but we got to lead it at the conference and it was just one of those moments that you’ll never forget it. It was right before Hillsong went into their set and we were out in the middle of the crowd. There was just one spotlight with everything dark. Every student had on a wrist band and as the song progressed they started to light up and glow. So all of a sudden every light on the wristbands were on and each light represented a heartbeat. The heart of each person that God was drawing to himself. You could just hear the students singing so loudly and making this declaration, “No one but You”. It was a moment I will never forget.
“As far as my favorite moment, it’s got to be No One But You.”
WLM: So check it out on video for the best experience?