River Valley Worship is a collection of artists, musicians and songwriters who are an extension of the vibrant creative culture within River Valley Church. With campuses spread across the greater Minneapolis, MN area as well as an international campus in Swaziland, Africa, River Valley Worship is making a global impact.
Their new album Million Lifetimes is available on BEC Worship. River Valley Church began in 1995 in Minnesota and has grown as a multisite church with weekly attendance of more than 9,000 with eight U.S. campuses and one international campus with plans to continue to grow. The church is led by Pastor Rob Ketterling.
Q: Let's start by telling us a little about River Valley Church.
River Valley is a multi site church with nine campuses around the twin cities as well as one international location in Swaziland Africa. Over 20 years ago, our lead pastor Rob Ketterling wanted to plant a church that was for the young and young at heart, thus River Valley was born.
Q. With the various campuses across nations, who comprises River Valley Worship team? How many of you are there in the team?
River Valley Worship is truly a collaboration of the songwriters and musicians that serve week in and week out at church. From the worship leaders on Sunday morning leading a congregation on stage to people that you may never see on a platform. There are countless people we would consider a part of the team.
Q. For your new album, you have chosen to work with BEC Worship. And your album will be the first album from their worship section. What does BEC Worship bring to the table that you appreciate?
Ministry is all about relationship ... and the ladies and gentlemen who make up BEC Worship are some of the most authentic, Christ like people I have met. So it's such a joy to work with people who love God and have a fire and joy to build His church.
Q: Since there are so many church worship bands out there, what makes your music unique? How do you carve you own musical identity?
I don't think we ever really set out to do anything else but write songs for our Church. We're blessed now to be able to contribute to the conversation beyond our four walls but we have and will continue to write songs that resonate with our people. Musically we definitely look up to the Hillsong crew. They've carried themselves so well with humility over the years and continue to push boundaries.
I guess we hope to contribute to that in some way. We don't want to settle musically. If you look back on our past albums we've definitely evolved musically and want to continue to bring our best. Our God is the God of infinite creativity! We aren't interested bringing the same sound that's been the stable in Church music for years. There's a new song and a new sound we can bring to the alter.
Q: Let's talk about the album. Why did you entitle it Million Lifetimes?
A lifetime is a marker that means a great deal to us as human beings. The weight, the significance and the power held in one lifespan no matter how long is unmistakable and undeniable. That's why the death of any human being can be such a blow to our soul and psyche.
Think of every moment, every breath, every word, every day, every second contained in a lifetime. It's hard to fathom that there is anything more complex, more extensive, more beautiful, or more heart wrenching than one single life played out on this planet. But those of us who have chosen to follow Christ, we must look through different eyes.
Psalms 36 says, "Lord remind me how brief my time on earth will be, Remind me that my days are numbered, how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.my entire lifetime is just a moment to you. At best, each of us are but a breath."
We realize that there is a God who exists outside of and stands High above our feeble understanding of life and time. HE is ALL, the creator... He is the start, HE is actually the "before the start." HE is a masterpiece ...marvelous, magnificent, an awe-inspiring Jesus. And though it would seem logical that because He is so great and so grand and so "not us" that he would be a God who lives and dwells far far away from us.... but the true revelation is that he is a benevolent and kind hearted savior who is, as Acts 17 states, "Closer than our very breath."
So we live with abandon for JESUS and we gather to give him a million lifetimes full of worship. It still won't be enough but we will spend our lives, taking every breath, and exhausting every molecule of who we are to respond to the greatness and Glory of our precious savior Jesus.
Q: This album, I believe, was recorded live. Where was it recorded? What was most memorable about the live recording for you?
It was recorded live! We used our Apple Valley Campus for the venue. We loved being able to record it at home because these songs had been sung in that room for close to a year by the time we hit record. For me the most memorable thing about the night was seeing the people of God gather to lift on the only name that matters, Jesus. It sounds so simple but it really is that simple. That room was the culmination of the people and the stories that these songs represent and being able to come together knowing that this album would be sent out was something pretty special. The unity in the room! That's it, the most memorable thing was the unity it fostered and created.
Q: If you were to pick two songs off the record that has impacted your walk with Christ the most, which would they be? And why?
"No Doubting You"- It's got such an attitude to it and declares God's faithfulness. We wrote it early last year with the seed idea of the scripture in Genesis where God takes Abraham out under the stars. We wrote the song as if Abraham could see glimpses of the future, glimpses of God coming through on every promise.
Later that year my wife, Bethany, got diagnosed with a brain tumor and our world was shaken up. We were 22 at the time and honestly scared to death. It's crazy how God can use a song that you've written to remind yourself of his faithfulness. We had to stand on his word and trust that he was making a way. Bethany got surgery to remove the tumor that ended up being benign and now 6 months later we have her next MRI set.
You better believe we're shouting at the top of our lungs, "There's no doubting you!" God's got another opportunity to come through just like He has always done every time before.
"World Needs Jesus" is the other song that's made an impact on me. That song probably took the longest to finish out of any on the album. The first idea came in the summer of 2016. I was at the dentist watching the news in the waiting room and at the time there were shootings happening across our nation, just tragedy after tragedy. My only response was Jesus we need you.
This world needs hope, peace, love, and grace. All of that is encompassed in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the only answer. My wife and I then went on a month long mission trip through the Middle East right before we started working on songs specifically for this album in early 2017. I carried that song with me everywhere we went. It quite literally was written in 6 different countries on that trip as we got to serve where people have never heard of the Gospel. The song never felt quite right until we brought it to the team and wrote that last alternate chorus at the end. It finally said what it was suppose to say. "I know I need you Jesus. I know this heart needs healing. So from my knees I lift this prayer to you my savior, for my life and for the world you're the answer... Jesus." The world and spreading of the Gospel to people who have never heard is one of the values of our church. We say, "Our heart is global." God has used this song to shape my heart. I want to have His heart for this world.
Q: What are your hopes for this record? How do you wish this album would impact the church and your listeners?
Our number one value as a church is the Presence of God. We pray that these songs would meet people where they're at and that somehow God would use them as an avenue for His Presence. It's not just something we say. We truly believe that one moment in His presence can change everything. If these songs bring Jesus to people and people are met by God's presence in their car, subway, bus, in a dentist office, church, wherever they are then I think we've accomplished what we set out to do.