by Mary Sirois
Something is happening in worship right now. Maybe it’s always been happening. But over the last few years, I’ve sensed something is changing. I have noticed an increased appreciation for the real and raw. This authentic worship experience is being expressed as believers gather in churches, arenas, bars, and living rooms to worship. It’s the sound of eternity experienced in a moment. New songs are being birthed from connection with each other and with our King.
Now, I am not new to worship. I’ve had a front-row seat as worship has evolved through the ages. That might be a little overstated. But growing up in a mom-for-a-pastor home, I grew up with worship music (and some oldies). I can look back and recall singing “He is Exalted” alongside a cassette tape of Twila Paris in my acid-washed jeans at youth group. I remember belting out “Awesome God” from my college sorority room. And then crying out, “Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?” as l listened on my walkman during the ‘90s. As I step back and take notice, I see the shifts that the worship movement was experiencing in each of those seasons.
I started to observe another shift over the last few years. During our worship times at church, in the midst of a polished setlist, spontaneous moments were beginning to occur between songs or choruses, drifting away from structure and script. Sometimes in worship, we would play notes and rhythms that were unplanned, but in sync; singing new words and songs that were raw and fresh. These songs were authentic and real, unrehearsed, simple and pure. They carried a fragrance of heaven. God was active and alive, revealing Himself in these moments as only He can. I found during these times of worship that my heart was open and vulnerable for an encounter. I was listening to the sound of eternity. The Creator of the universe, the One holding the stars, speaking words of life directly to me. There was so much beauty in these moments.
As my awareness of them developed, I was hungry for more. Inside our times of worship at church, we began to make space for these moments and allow eternity to speak. Our community and worship team was experiencing this every Sunday, but I found a void in the marketplace as I set out to discover more of them.
I began recording these fresh songs and live moments on voice memos as they happened, trying to share them through Dropbox. I texted YouTube moments and songs to friends who I thought would appreciate or even need to hear them. Each morning as I worked from my office, I searched for more, streaming live and recorded worship services with my ears attuned for the new. And just like the desire to share an amazing picture of a breathtaking sunset on Instagram, I wanted to capture and share what I found with others. I was so taken by the beauty of these moments.
While this was unfolding inside my personal worship experience and the expression of worship through my church, I met Tony Brown, the co-writer of the song “Good, Good Father” and a part of the band Housefires. Through his travels, Tony was joining communities all over the world, from college campuses to churches to living rooms, leading people into worship through unscripted, live songs. As Tony heard different tribes and communities singing songs in unison as evidence of their encounter with God, he knew the world needed to hear those songs too.
My path intersected with Tony’s at a worship gathering, and as we connected, our visions aligned. God was orchestrating the beginnings of something new. As an entrepreneur, I love the new. New ideas. New opportunities. New risk. As a worshipper, I also find value in the new. New revelation. New songs. New encounters. When you experience something new or define something unseen, you are awakened to a broader reality. As these two parts of me, the entrepreneur and the worshipper, converged, I found myself wanting to champion the newness of these worship moments and build infrastructure that furthered their reach.
As Tony and I continued to talk, we found ourselves at a crossroads. It was time to either lay down the idea, staying safely on the sidelines or move forward and create an entity and a plan. We saw the value of connection and the beauty of these moments. With that in focus, the moment for this new business had arrived. TRIBL was born.
The TRIBL journey began by asking questions… What if there was a place where these spontaneous, life-changing moments could be discovered and shared with the world? Could our hearts catch fire together as we found others capturing their authentic, worship-filled moments? Like gathering wood for a bonfire by the seaside, could we collect these scattered pieces? Could they provide fuel for the fire that burns within our human frames to worship in the fullest sense? Could we put a megaphone to other tribes’ lips and create a space for their voices to be heard? What if we not only united our voices in live worship but carried those moments with us into our digital future?
We knew there were other streaming music apps and sites out there that offer worship, but none of the alternatives focused on these questions. No one was aggregating or highlighting live, moment-driven content. So with a God-stirred passion in our heart for these moments, we began exploring a new option. Through TRIBL, we set out to unite the tribes in encounter with God and championing moment-driven, live worship. We will use technology to highlight and share worship experiences… “moments.”
What is a Moment
Moments are real and raw, authentic and beautiful. They are full of potential for fresh revelation. They are new songs. Moments don’t fit the criteria we sometimes need to define a complete song. A moment happens when something spontaneous and Spirit-led is sung out during worship. Hearts are awakened in a real connection to God, and we get to behold Him.
These spontaneous, God-led moments and songs are full of His beauty. They are different than produced and planned songs, as they tend to fill the space in and around scripted lines. They sometimes springboard off known and familiar songs. These moments carry a specific word and melody from heaven, facilitating encounter in that instant. Throughout Scripture, we are exhorted to sing a new song. God loves it when we step out in a moment and sing back to Him what He is singing over us. Moments are birthed from this place of revelation, and they change us.
Moments happen on arena stages, in living rooms, churches, and even prayer closets. They originate from hearing His heart and being willing to wrap melodies and words around a glimpse of Him, drawing others to this place of encounter. Unless you are in the room, though, access to these moments and songs can be limited. A moment happens live only once. We all have experienced moments where we are aware the Holy Spirit is moving and can’t help but break out our phone to capture it. What if there was a way to harness technology and provide access to that moment again and again? What if we could hold on to these moments with God and share them with others who are hungry for a fresh encounter with the King?
With this understanding, our first step at TRIBL was to build a streaming music app as the home for these “live” moments of revelation and encounter. Stepping out in this venture, we must do something new. Not copy a model that exists, but create something different. A new marketplace or exchange so the world can hear these songs.
Instead of copying a streaming, on-demand music model, we desire to focus on connection and revelation through spontaneous songs and the live, moment-driven worship niche. As such, we emphasize moments, songs and curated playlists that lay the groundwork for meaningful interactions with God. We share stories and videos, building personal connections, which open our minds to what is possible and remind us of the truth. We open the door for encounters with God.
Every story and tribe is unique. As an artist steps out and joins with heaven, singing out fresh revelation, a story is unfolding. These stories and songs need to be heard. Encounter happens when we worship and connect personally with the lines of a song, but knowing the story and backdrop of the song deepens our connection to the words. Sometimes these songs are birthed in a moment over one unique individual but become an anthem for the Church at large. Understanding and knowing the context can only draw us further into seeing His heart and the beauty of worship.
We are in a new connection economy. We long to connect. And isn’t this the opportunity that technology has provided? We swipe right to meet our next date; we Yelp to discover our new favorite place to eat; and we Zappo to buy the “much needed” pair of shoes. We share our news on Twitter, our lives on Facebook, and our stories on Instagram. We long to connect and be known. And we are making that connection online. Our hope at TRIBL is to provide a curated place to find a new song and revelation. Worship is connection. At TRIBL, we long to share the beauty of a moment.
Moment-driven worship draws us into an intimacy and connection with our King and one another. These moments are real, raw, authentic and beautiful. They overflow with revelation and meaning. It is in these moments that we walk away changed–and as we share these moments with others, they, too, are changed. As we behold Him, even in just a moment, we become like Him. That is the beauty of a moment.
I’ve caught just glimpses of the depths in which these moments have shaped and changed my life. These moment-driven songs and melodies stay burned into my heart, convincing me of truth. As we leave a digital footprint for the next generation, we can leave something that impacts and lasts. We are all on our own miraculous journey, each unique heart responsive to the calling of the King. Won’t you join us on our journey and encounter God with us?