Only God EP: Behind the Music
Willow Creek Music is excited to launch a new six-song EP, Only God, this weekend. We sat down with Matt Lundgren, worship director at Willow Creek, as he shared the heart behind the Only God EP.
The journey of creating Only God was an organic one. The members of the Willow Creek worship team weren’t commissioned to produce an album. They simply saw God moving all around them and felt that He was asking them to mark those moments.
All of the EP’s songs were written and performed by Matt Lundgren, Marshall Hall, Amaris Bullock, James Paek, Tracy Stingley, Fatai Veamatahau, Sharon Irving, and Delwin Eiland. The album was even recorded in the home studio of core Willow Creek volunteers. Zach Kranz, Phil Schawel, and Mike Schawel, three young musicians who have grown up at Willow and serve on the worship team, played pivotal roles in helping develop and produce the sound of Only God.
“We didn’t set out to draw a line in the sand and announce that we are now writing original music. We asked God what He wanted to say through us,” says Matt. “We have been trying to be sensitive to what has been happening to our church and what we feel like God has been doing. We desired to create words that our church wants to say and that speak to our experiences with God.”
Around the time of Willow Creek’s 40th anniversary, the team started looking for worship songs that expressed the church’s values and themes. Although they tried to find songs that mirrored everything that was happening at Willow Creek, they couldn’t find any that linked it all together. Out of that experience came the passion and conviction to connect the words of worship songs to the value and mission of their church.
“We as a worship team are very prayerful about what words we are putting into people’s mouths to sing during worship,” Matt says. “We asked ourselves, “What do we want our church to pray around, and think and speak about through our worship?’ ”
So, a new season of songwriting began, inspiring all six songs on Only God.
Among those was the upbeat and fun “Joy.” It was written to be a way to celebrate the strength that comes through joy and to remind us that even when we don’t feel it, we have something that the world can’t take away. “It’s hard for me to sing something that I don’t feel,” says Worship Leader Amaris Bullock, one of the song’s writers. “Even when I don’t feel like being joyful, I can still proclaim and declare that I do have joy because that is what God has placed in me.”
“Who Is Like the Lord” is a powerful worship anthem that points us to a posture of praise. With the imagery of “creation crying out in praise to God, even if the world is silent” as the backdrop. Its lyrics were written with the hope that the redeemed would resound in the same way that Scripture tells us the rocks, the animals, and all of creation will praise God.
“These are not the songs of the people who wrote it; these are the songs of the church. We are who we are as worship leaders because the church is who the church is and God is who God is,” Matt says.
“These songs have been a rallying cry for us, and we are excited to share that with the entire church,” says Matt. “In a society that moves as fast as our does, we sometimes need tangible things that help us mark the moment. We really hope that these songs can play a part in marking the moment of this season at Willow Creek Community Church and remind us of what God is doing all around us and in our church.”
Songs from the album will be featured live this weekend at the Willow Creek Community Church South Barrington campus.