Prime Cuts: The Love of God, The Lost Are Found, Forever Reign
Worship leaders who cannot afford to purchase the smoke making machine found on the stage of Hillsong Worship's last live recording or cannot perfect the hip hop riffs at the latest Passion Conference may feel like they do not measure up. In fact, it is tough enough for some worship pastors to find a guitarist or a drummer from week to week than to worry about auxiliary stage props or trending sounds. Thus, the worship as presented by many of these mega churches and conferences, is quite disparaging for the average worship leader. Further, there are very few worship albums out there that can function as examples for the struggling worship leader of a smaller sized church. This is where Layton McGuire's "Trust" fills the lacuna. With just a guitar and vocals, McGuire shows that you can still worship God in Spirit and in truth with an understated verve at a fraction of the hoopla created by some of these mega-churches.
"Trust" is the debut worship record of Layton McGuire. Currently, he serves as the worship pastor of Christ Community Church in Plainfield, IL. Quipped with years of experience, McGuire brings his expertise in leading worship into this disc. Other than two of his originals, "The Love of God" and "Trust," McGuire shows us how we can utilize some of the more popular contemporary worship songs to worship God with simplicity and with passion. After a quick glance at the album's track list, it takes no genius to be able to guess who McGuire's favorite worship team is. Here he includes three Hillsong staples including 'The Lost Are Found," "Cornerstone," and "Forever Reign." As for the other covers, he has included Phil Wickham's "This is Amazing Grace," Mark McMillan's "How He Loves," Jesus Culture's "Fill Me Up" and "One Thing Remains," and the hymn "Nothing But the Blood."
So, what does Layton McGuire's release have to teach us about worship? First, passion in worship does not come from the layers of sounds you can pile up with the abundance of instruments or voices. Rather, passion comes when the worship leader means every word he sings. Take Hillsong's "Forever Reign" as a prime example. Even without the thundering guitar riffs and deafening drumming of the original, McGuire is just as effective with his guitar because he takes the time to articulate each nuance of this God-besotted song in a way that shows he truly cares about the song's message. Second, instead of creating hype, McGuire has gone for songs that faithfully expound on the truths of Scripture. Lifted from Hillsongs' "God is Able," "The Lost Are Found," in a Biblically responsible fashion, carefully expounds on the ministry of Jesus from the New Testament times to today.
Third, in contributing two of his own originals, McGuire encourages worship leaders to be bold enough to express their hearts through their own songs. Thus, it's refreshing to hear McGuire sing about how the love of God finds its apex in the Cross in the stately ballad "The Love of God." Interweaving threads of Scripture, "Trust" showcases McGuire's booming vocals on what is our Savior's heart's cry to us to cast our burdens at his feet. If you want a recess from those slick and polished worship records, give McGuire's "Trust" a listen. It's meditative, heartfelt and simply a textbook example of how to worship Christ with simplicity and verve.