The Worship Initiative
Release Date: July 1st 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- To The Water (feat. John Marc Kohl)
- Only One
- Nothing Left To Say
- Take All The World
- Be Near To Me
- I Was Loved
- The Place Where I Belong
- The Kind Of God You Are
- Undivided Heart
- Oh But God
- Never Stop
Every single declaration of Truth on this record I have truly FOUGHT to believe for many of the years that I have walked with Christ. I have struggled to believe that the Father is never going to stop loving me, regardless of the rise and fall of my own weak attempt to love and serve Him. Yet, He has set His affection on us and determined before the foundation of the world that we belong to Him! Our position in the family of God has been purchased and sealed by the sacrifice of Christ, who alone is worthy of our wholehearted worship and abandoned obedience.
One of the most earnest, authentic, vulnerable, honest, and inspiring worship artists to originate within the past few years, is Davy Flowers from Shane & Shane’s band The Worship Initiative. I know, I know; we all might be at worship saturation at the moment. Bands like Hillsong (all formats), Elevation Worship, Passion, Bethel Music, Jesus Culture, Vertical Worship, North Point Worship and Planetshakers; have all garnered varying degrees of success. And that’s not including the solo worship artists that have been topping the charts and wowing the hearts of many- artists like Kari Jobe, Phil Wickham, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Maher, Matt Redman, Martin Smith (formerly from Delirious?), Mack Brock, Tasha Layton, London Gatch, David Leonard, Meredith Andrews, Laura Story, Rebecca St. James, Jeremy Camp, Darlene Zschech, Paul Baloche and Lincoln Brewster. Yes, it probably is accurate that we all are suffering from worship saturation and fatigue. Yet, when I first heard of Davy Flowers (leading numerous songs from many albums from The Worship Initiative); I was intrigued. And this was simply because of the fact that Davy is a compelling, powerful, honest, inspiring, and impacting worship leader. It’s as simple as that; and this year when I knew Davy was releasing her debut album I Was Loved, I knew I needed to check out her music and I knew I needed to give my ‘two cents’ worth’ and review the album. And so… is Davy’s music worshipful and inspiring and comforting in a year where COVID-19 is still around and in a year where we still obviously need encouragement and inspiration?
‘I Was Loved’ [the title track] is so special to me because it is my testimony put to lyrics and melody. It is the simplest articulation of who Jesus has been for me in the years I have walked with Him. One truth that cannot be denied, when I look back through the seasons of God’s faithfulness in my life, is that His extravagant love has been persistent and sufficient in and through all things. That’s the banner I want to wave for all my days! During the first few months of the pandemic lockdown, I was fighting to cling to all the things that remain true about who God is in the face of trials and life’s unknowns. As I took stock of my own heart and history with Jesus, I found significant peace in the reminder that His love is overwhelming, and it holds real power to anchor my heart through whatever is coming.
God’s affection and His commitment to His children doesn’t change with the seasons; it doesn’t rise and fall with the circumstances of our lives; and Christ has been sufficient and will be sufficient to satisfy every fundamental longing of our souls for all of eternity. If you can’t look back on your life and make sense of anything at all, the consistent thread that holds it all together is that YOU HAVE BEEN LOVED.
Opening the track list is the stirring and emotive piano ballad “You”. A powerful, simple yet effective melody where Davy earnestly and fervently relays to us all that she longs to go back to the point in her life and the point in her faith where she was content with all that she had which was Jesus; this melody inspires us all to have a childlike faith and to strip away all of the parts of our faith that need to be removed. Usually when we are older, we complicate our faith by perhaps politicising it and disagreeing with people based on secondary issues that don’t really matter. But in this song, Davy brings the atter of faith back to what does matter- and it is Jesus Christ and the cross and the resurrection. Davy reminds us that all we need is Jesus; and this fact should comfort us immensely.
The rest of I Was Loved reminds us of the unending depth, length, height, and width of God’s immeasurable love for each of us; and musically and thematically is incredibly strong. “To the Water”, sung with John Marc Kohl, is an album standout and a near-flawless duet where both vocalists relay that we can call on Jesus whenever we need to, and we can let His love draw us closer to the ‘water’ that is Himself. Similarly, “Only One” is a moving, accessible worship melody fit for singing on Sunday mornings, with Davy passionately declaring that Jesus is the only One that we can and should worship simply because of who He is and what He’s done for us. “Nothing Left To Say”, a potential modern day hymn, is as poignant, heartfelt and emotive as songs like “Death Was Arrested” (North Point Worship), “10,000 Reasons” (Matt Redman), and “In Christ Alone” (Keith & Kristyn Getty), with Davy ardently singing ‘Holy’ to Jesus, and declaring that there is nothing left to say but to sing out ‘Holy’; while “Take All The World” is a modern spin on the timeless hymn “Give Me Jesus”- where Davy eloquently sings out that she would undoubtedly choose Jesus above everything else in this world.
“Be Near To Me”, an emotional and heartfelt prayer and piano ballad, has Davy confidently asking Jesus to be near to her, and thanking Him for constantly staying near to her even when she can’t feel His presence; while the title track is a moving and empowering worship anthem, with Davy passionately declaring that she is loved by Jesus, and that ‘…at the end of my life, when they ask why I was different, I will testify with all my might that I was loved, and Jesus, He has always been enough, and I’ll put my trust in an old rugged cross that tells me I am loved…’. “The Place Where I Belong”, a testament to the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, is a piano led ballad where Davy compellingly cries out that no matter what, Jesus will be by our side and we will be by Jesus’ side- in the place where we belong; while “The Kind Of God You Are” has Davy describing Jesus and his infinite qualities in quite vivid fashion- in visceral yet powerful, inspiring and compelling ways.]
“Undivided Heart”, the longest song on the album at just under 8 minutes, is co-written with Erik Nieder- one of the most prolific songwriters right now in my opinion. With Davy emotionally highlighting that Jesus Christ is worthy of our time, attention and our undivided heart- simply because He is God and we are not; we are presented with probably the highlight of the album in my own opinion. The penultimate track on I Was Loved, is “Oh But God”, isn’t the most memorable song on this project, but Davy skilfully and creatively delivers competently on this radio friendly song; and sings out with passion and fervour, relaying that we were all dead in sin if not for God- she sings out ‘oh, but God’ in a sort of thankfulness and gratitude kind of way. “Never Stop” concludes this stellar and inspiring worship album- Davy has delivered a powerful worship anthem where she outlines that she will never stop needing Jesus in her life.
Davy has been part of The Worship Initiative community for a while, and we’ve gotten to know her very well. She has always been deeply passionate about Jesus and His living Word, and she’s a natural fit with the mission of The Worship Initiative. We couldn’t be more excited to help Davy share her songs and her heart with the world. [Shane Barnard]
Musically, Davy Flowers’ I Was Loved is heavy on the ballad side. But overall, as a worship album and as a debut album, Davy has recorded an exemplary and an exquisite album. It’s an album that probably won’t win awards no gain recognition. Davy isn’t signed and thus I’m sure not that many people will know about this album. However, I’d say listen to this release. You won’t regret it and you’ll find your next favourite worship song on here- guaranteed. Well done Davy, I can’t wait to hear what’s next from you in the future!
A vulnerable moment. Friends I have wept so many tears over this record and I have swung back and forth between every possible emotion there is and I’m truly in awe of this moment right here. It’s finally here. I’m finally doing a record after years of waiting for the right moment.
These songs were born in prayer and they carry the heartbeat of all that I believe to be true about the sufficiency of Jesus and the effective and transformative power of the Fathers love. I pray that whoever needs these songs finds them. I pray that this small window into my own hearts language of worship would stir something deep and real in the heart of everyone who hears them. I pray that it stirs faith. I pray that it stirs affection. I pray that it stirs courage and resolve to stay the course and run the race……because knowing, loving and actually walking with Jesus is a sweet treasure than every other thing that exists on this side of eternity.
3 songs to listen to: To The Water, I Was Loved, Undivided Heart
RIYL: Shane & Shane, Crowder, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe