Behind the cult music scene

By | October 5, 2022

NICK EICHER, HOST: As we speak is Wednesday, October fifth. Thanks for turning to WORLD Radio to assist begin your day.

Hiya. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I am Myrna Brown. Coming subsequent The world and all in it: Worship music.

Church leaders have a heavy duty in selecting songs for Sunday companies. Are the phrases Biblically legitimate? Is the music written in a spread that most individuals can sing? Is it one thing worthy of congregational worship?

EICHER: WORLD Senior Author Kim Henderson just lately visited Nashville the place she attended an annual Christian occasion known as Sing! As we speak, she brings us the primary of two stories on what’s taking place behind the scenes on this planet of worship music.

KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR: Behind the scenes on the Opryland Resort in Nashville, issues are preparing.

Microphone checks. Mirror checks. It is a huge gathering of worship music.

KATIE: So we’re about to create a brand new Getty anthem, “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies,” which was simply signed a number of weeks in the past. And sure, that is the primary time Getty audiences will hear it.

It is Katie Picture. She and her sister, Gaylyn, type the Foto Sisters. They’re each of their twenties. They’ve been singing and enjoying devices since they have been preschoolers.


Two years in the past, the sisters got here throughout an outdated hymn known as “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies.” They have been struck by it. They wrote new music for it. I barely modified the lyrics.

And final spring, their New the anthem caught the eye of the Getty Music workers.


It is a huge deal to signal a contract with Getty Music. Keith and Kristyn Getty’s songs are sung by Christians all around the world. You do not know who we’re speaking about?


Yeah, Keith Getty is without doubt one of the authors of that one.

Or how in regards to the tune “He Will Maintain Me Quick?”


Matt Merker composed this worship tune. He now works for Getty Music, and he helped purchase the Fotos’ anthem, “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies.” He says it represents the form of tune the Gettys need to promote.

MERKER: We do not simply launch our personal songs. We need to get better, get better and relocate the perfect hymns in historical past, as a result of a lot of them have been forgotten over time.

The Fotos hymn is predicated on the one written in 1777 by the Englishman John Ryland. Merker says it was one in every of a form.

MERKER: So a hymn like this: “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies, ever gracious, ever sage. All my instances are in your palms, all occasions at your disposal. The richness of poetry and the richness of theology that Ryland wrote about. It is simply, it is simply unprecedented.

That is the alternative of a development Merker seen in trendy worship music. A bent in direction of a language that isn’t essentially false. He speaks solely of generalities and clichés.

MERKER: We love you, Lord. You’re in every single place. You breathe amongst us. . . These are all actual emotions. They’re good, however will they construct deep believers over time?

Merker says there’s a nice distinction between these songs and the lyrics to “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies”.

MERKER: “His decree which shaped the Earth, fastened my first and my second start. Now it’s to him that I owe my life. The place he leads me, I’ll go. There may be a lot fact in these 4 strains I simply learn.


It is the form of God-centered musical weight loss program that Merker believes we have to feed on.

MERKER: Oh, it is God. It’s He who shaped the earth, who fastened my first start. Nicely, so my life, but additionally my second start, my conversion, my rebirth. That does not imply that I believe we must always by no means sing easy songs, devotional songs. . .

However he seen that fewer and fewer songs use the language of our sin or of God’s wrath, condemnation, justice and righteousness.

MERKER: And there are only a few songs that assist us mourn the brokenness of this world.

The Foto Sisters are songwriters, however “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies” was their first venture that had potential as a congregational anthem. Earlier than the Gettys got here on the scene, the Fotos bought the sheet music on their web site. It started to flow into among the many church buildings. Gaylyn remembers one thing particular occurred after they have been touring in Oklahoma.

GAYLYN: We have been truly in church after they sang it, like we have been within the congregation and rapidly they began singing “Sovereign Ruler”. It was laborious to maintain it collectively. . .

And now they’re right here at Sing! in entrance of a crowd of seven,000 folks. . .


They share an anthem based mostly on phrases which have already stood the check of time.

However what in regards to the folks on the benches? The right way to faithfully strategy the tendencies of worship music? Merker has a number of strategies.

MERKER: You’ll be able to pray for great songs to be written. You’ll be able to pray in your pastors and for the tune leaders and those that choose songs for knowledge. You’ll be able to positively advocate songs that you simply assume assist convey full fact from God and all the most important themes of Scripture. . .

MUSIC: [Sovereign Ruler of the Skies]

Reporting for WORLD, I am Kim Henderson in Nashville, Tennessee.

BROWN: You’ll be able to learn extra in regards to the Foto Sisters within the Oct. 8 problem of WORLD journal.

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