Release Date: September 10th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Find A Reason (Joyful Joyful) [feat. Brett Stanfill]
- Praise Your Name (feat. Desi Raines)
- Hallelujah (Why We Sing) [feat. Clay Finnesand]
- O What A Miracle (feat. Seth Condrey)
- Light Breaking Through (feat. Lauren Lee)
- Sons And Daughters (feat. Brett Stanfill & Lauren Lee)
- Nothing Else Matters (feat. Heath Balltzglier & Desi Raines)
- Just Getting Started (feat. Lauren Lee)
There’s an inescapable fact that I have found that has occurred throughout the years. And it is this. That over time, music worship movements come and go. It’s a fact that always stays constant- the notion that new bands come in and old ones leave. Or in a very rare case (or perhaps common depending on which new band you look at!)- new bands come in, and then the same new band leaves again. And in any given year though, the number of worship albums is plenty, and an example is already this year of 2020 alone. Cody Carnes, Matt Maher, Planetshakers, Tauren Wells, Jordan and Jessa, Rend Collective, Matt Redman, Avalon, JJ Weeks, NewSong, David & Nicole Binion, Paul Baloche, Elle Limebear, Shane & Shane, The Worship Initiative, CAIN, Passion, Bethel Music, Martin Smith, Seth & Nirva, We The Kingdom, Elevation Worship, Vertical Worship, Charles Billingsley, Citizens, Corey Voss, Kierra Sheard… this list goes on! Though some of these worship albums are possibly a tad cliché, others are unique and brilliantly recorded and produced.
Enter in North Point Worship (previously known as North Point Inside Out), the youth worship team from NorthPoint Community Church, based in Georgia. Having signed to Centricity Music a few years ago, and unveiling their debut studio project Nothing Ordinary in 2017, as well as their first couple of live projects on Centricity Music (Nothing Ordinary Pt 1 (Live) EP and Nothing Ordinary Pt 2 (Live) EP); the team led by Seth Condrey capitalised on their already unprecedented success by dropping their new EP Abundantly More recently. Fast forward til now in the midst of the most unprecedented pandemic the world has ever seen, and North Point Worship have dropped their second EP since the name change. Find A Reason is particular fitting for such a time as this, and thus as we listen to this EP and remember that God is good despite the storms of life around us; let us remember that we can find a reason in this madness and chaos, and we can also find a reason to sing to God as well. Though even though I’ve found this EP to be ministering to my soul, this emphatic and vibrant worship experience could be seen as another conglomerate of songs thrown on the ‘worship fire’…but don’t dismiss this album too quickly- some songs may indeed surprise and grow on you (especially the title track and “O What A Miracle”)! In fact, this project is probably one of my favourite worship EP’s of 2020!
Kristian Stanfill’s brother Brett opens up proceedings with the heartfelt titled track. As the band add in stanzas of the well known hymn “Joyful, Joyful” and then write their own chorus and bridge, this track could sound pasted on and just cobbled together for numbers sake, yet a deeper listen reveals to us a well thought out track, and one that declares that ‘…in every blessing, in every storm, I have a reason to praise You, Lord, when favor finds me, when hope escapes, I’ll find a reason to praise Your name…’. As North Point Worship emphatically relay to us that in every situation, the good and the bad- we can find God’s fingerprints and ultimately a reason for everything; this song comforts and inspires, and sets the tone for the rest of the EP.
“Praise Your Name” features Desi Raines, and is an up tempo energetic Passion-like worship anthem, whereby we are met with an unbridled worship anthem declaring that we worship Jesus because of who He is. It’s a simple yet profound concept that ‘…in every moment I will choose to sing, with all I am, with every breath I take, I praise Your name…’; while the somewhat lyrically repetitive “Hallelujah (Why We Sing)” is still poignant and heartfelt. As Clay Finnesand powerfully relays that we can and should sing out ‘hallelujah’ simply because of who God is, we are encouraged to turn our eyes to God especially in the hard times, as God’s love never changes, and His mercies are new every morning. “Light Breaking Through”, a Hillsong-esque slow tempo ballad, features Lauren Lee Anderson on vocals, and essentially highlights the ever true notion that even in the darkest places, light still breaks through which is in fact Jesus and His presence; while the acoustic guitar driven duet with Brett and Lauren is “Sons And Daughters”, whereby we are reminded that we are sons and we are daughters of God- a fact that we often forget but is a fact that nonetheless needs to be remembered again and again.
The heartfelt piano led ballad “Nothing Else Matters” is a prayer that recounts the sentiment of exactly that- that ‘…nothing else matters but being with You, and even the best things can’t substitute, Jesus, Your presence is all that we need, we don’t want for anything here at Your feet…’, an eloquent and exquisite duet with Heath Balltzglier and Desi Raines; while the 3 minute pop tune “Just Getting Started” with Lauren is a poppy melody, whereby the band relay to uss that even when we think God isn’t working, He still is- and even when we think He’s finished, He’s just getting started. Yet one of my personal highlights on Find A Reason is “O What A Miracle”. Led by Seth Condrey, this track is my absolute favourite on the project, and is lyrically as poignant and powerful as “Living Hope” from Phil Wickham. Essentially outlining the gospel message here in no uncertain terms, “O What A Miracle” needs to be heard to be believed- so what are you waiting for? This work of art deserves any and every accolade coming its way!
At first glance, Find A Reason, though noble in its efforts, seems to be hammering home the concept of ‘good things in the bad things’ maybe a bit too much, seeing that we’re all experiencing a harrowing thing right now with COVID-19, and the last thing people need right now is a blanketed ‘don’t worry, God does everything for a reason’ flippant answer that 9 times out of 10 won’t satisfy anyone hurting and going through pain. However, in my opinion Find A Reason is nonetheless littered with treasures and gems and eternal truths, full of God-inspired moments, led by many worshippers that will be prominent and in the spotlight in the many years to come. And if you can’t ‘get into’ this EP right now, well don’t’ worry. Because one day you’ll find this album ministering to your soul without even knowing it! Hopefully as time progresses, North Point Worship receives the recognition that the church and its ministry deserve, but even if they don’t let’s remember that this EP is what makes them stand out from other worship bands like Jesus Culture and Bethel Music! Well done guys for a thoroughly enjoyable EP; and God bless your ministry in the future.
3 songs to listen to: O What A Miracle, Sons And Daughters, Nothing Else Matters
RIYL: Eddie Kirkland, Casey Darnell, Kari Jobe, Meredith Andrews, Michael W. Smith