Forerunner Music, the official record label of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOPKC), releases its much anticipated music offering, Onething Live: Love Makes Us Strong, April 15 through digital and physical retail outlets everywhere with New Day Distribution. Recorded live at IHOPKC's annual Onething young adult conference last December (Dec. 28 - 31) and marking the eighth live Onething album to date, Love Makes Us Strong is an authentic worship collection of some of the most powerful and memorable songs from the event led by members of the IHOPKC worship team.
We are so honored to chat with worship leader and songwriter Jon Thurlow for this exclusive interview.
Q: Thank you for doing this interview with us. Your latest worship album Love Makes Us Strong was recorded IHOPKC's annual Onething young adult conference last December. What were the goals of this conference?
One of the goals was to come together, as the Body of Christ, and lift up the Name of Jesus. Many streams in the Body of Christ were represented at this conference- from Charismatic to Evangelical. There is something powerful when we come together, under the Word of God, and under the leadership of Jesus, to declare who He is!
Q: What were some of the memorable moments over the conference when the album was recorded?
There was a very special interactive moment between Francis Chan, one of the main Evangelical leaders in America, and Audrey Assad, a known Christian artist and professing Catholic. Their conversation on stage really demonstrated the heart of the Lord, a spirit of humility, forgiveness, and the spirit of unity through Jesus in a powerful way.
Q: In what ways does this album challenge us in our walk with Jesus?
I think the songs on this album are songs that help heal and restore our hearts, because they turn our gaze to the Healer and Restorer of our hearts. I also feel like these songs invite us into the heart of Jesus, because they're Word-based songs that describe the beauty of Jesus.
Q: Let's talk about the two songs you contributed to the album "The Answer" and "Jesus You Are Beautiful." What are the stories behind the inspirations of the two songs?
With "The Answer", my wife and I have had probably the hardest year of our lives, due to the death of a family member. One day I was reading I Corinthians 15, which is an amazing passage about the resurrection, and the implications of the resurrection. I was struck with the fact that the simple message of the Gospel in the person of Christ- the fact that Jesus came to us, that He died, that He rose, that He ascended, that He is seated, that He will come back to destroy death forever- this, is what a heart that is hurting really needs.
"Jesus, You're Beautiful" is a song I wrote a few years ago. I was leading a worship set in the prayer room one day, and was feeling dry, and disconnected from the Lord. So I began to sing Revelation 1- which contains some amazing descriptions and truths about Jesus-over my own heart. It was on a mic, and obviously people in the room heard it, but I was not mostly singing to them in that moment. I was singing to my own heart. I was reminding my own heart of who Jesus is!!
Q: I believe this is the first time Audrey Assad gets to sing on the record as well as at the conference. What was she like?
Audrey is an incredibly gifted, very genuine person. She carries herself in a real spirit of humility-and treats others with a lot of respect, honor, and compassion. It was special for us to be able to host her this year, and then to have sing on this record!
Q: What are the most important qualities you think a worship leader needs to have?
I think it's important for a worship leader to have both a natural gifting in music, and a desire and vision for musical and vocal excellence. Our giftings come from God, and are being offered back to God, and therefore there needs to be an element of sacredness in the way that we steward those gifts. Do we have a vision to be an excellent keyboardist, or an excellent guitarist? Do we have a vision to be an excellent singer?
I think it's also important for a worship leader to have a vibrant secret life in the Lord. In other words, are we spending time with the Lord off-stage? Are we in His Word consistently? Are we talking to Him throughout our days?
I think it's important for a worship leader to have a vision to know the Bible. People are much more likely to remember what a worship leader sings, than what a preacher speaks, because of the engaging power of music. Because this is true-I want what I sing to be coming out of a place in my heart that has read His Word, prayed His Word, meditated on His Word, and been impacted/changed by His Word.
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