Last year (2009) at Creation NE Fest, I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite worship bands, Relevant Worship. Unfortunately, there was a lot of background noise on the recording so it never made it onto ChristianMusicReview.org. So here it is in print form...
How did Relevant Worship come together and what is the purpose of Relevant Worship?
Jeremy: Youth groups, a lot of youth groups. I’ve known some of these guys since I was like 14 years old so we’re all from churches in the area [Buffalo, NY]. We’re not all from the same church; we’re all spread out from different bands, music family. That’s how we met.
Anthony: [The purpose of Relevant Worship] is to show unity in churches and instill within our community the local church and how that fits into our daily lives.
Why did you choose the name Relevant Worship?
Jeremy: I think it was a term that was getting flung around a lot, a couple of years ago. It just kind of caught on, like “Are we really relevant?” The term relevant, relevant, relevant was just flying around. When we were trying to come up with a name, it was as simple as this is what has been on our hearts. We were doing college ministry and worship at the time so we needed a name, so we’re like let’s call it Relevant Worship. It’s been cool because it’s really challenged us to live up to it.
Relevant Worship pretty involved in outreach in its community. What are some of your recent outreach experiences?
Chris: Playing with kids, hanging out with kids; we do a lot of different types of stuff. During Thanksgiving, we went out and did this thing called Operation Thankful People. We put a scripture verse in a little bag with like 5 pennies and went out into the heart of Buffalo to bouncers and people that were hanging around and said the night before Thanksgiving, “Do you have five things that you’re thankful for, besides beer?” You get a lot of cool responses. We met someone that night whose wife just dropped him off on the corner at the city mission, which is a place for homeless people. I felt like God was speaking to me to talk to him right away. So I went over and he said, “Be praying for me right now because me and my wife just had dinner about getting back together. I really want to get my life back together.” You could tell the guy didn’t used to be homeless, at least he hadn’t been for a long time, he used to work for a record label. We just want to show people that God’s love exists in a place that you would least expect it. I think sometimes the church gets over-fed, we’re not actually doing anything about it. To actually go out on the streets and live the life, not just saying it, it really challenges your faith, it challenges your prayer life, it challenges all those things, to take it to a deeper level. Last week at our outreach some kid, part of our group, who saw a kid who had a bunch of tubes that were taped to his head and he said he just felt compelled from God to go pray for him and say only Jesus can heal you. There’s that term that say’s you have to fail to succeed, sometimes you have to challenge your faith in order for it to succeed. You don’t always succeed the first, second, third try, but I think God honors it. So we do various outreaches and things, we could go on for days about it. We’ve done prayer walks, concert events bringing kids together. We’re doing this thing on Thursday nights right now where we get three or four of the kids that are off the streets and we give them a salvation message, we have pizza, we have games for them, just give them hope. We have a canvas where kids come in and there’s a prayer time when kids can come in and write their prayer request on the canvas and actually get prayer. So when we come back the next week we get to see how these things are progressing. The word said faith is alive and active and we really want to see it be alive and active. Sometimes we don’t see it so much in the church because of our culture, because of our skepticism. We’re trying to get back to the roots of that.
You released “Anthem of the Redeemed” in 2008. Is this your first full-length album?
Anthony: Yeah, we have one other one that wasn’t really released. It was more for just friends.
What’s the meaning of the song “Ocean’s Wide?”
Anthony: I was on vacation in the Outer Banks and I was up early one morning and we were staying at a beach house that was really nice. This isn’t gonna be like a dramatic I wrote this when I was strung-out. *laughs* I was just on vacation and woke up early one morning, had my guitar sitting out on this deck that overlooked the beach and the water and it was really pretty. The sun came up and as I was doing my devotions the sun was reflecting off of the water, it sparked some ideas in my mind how God is bigger than the ocean. The second line is “let Your light reflect off my life.” The Bible says the sun was reflecting off the water and we want that as a prayer in our life. We want to reflect the best that we can, this big God that we serve.
Are you planning on going on tour this fall (2009)?
Anthony: No, we’re really committed to our local churches. Actually, all of us play or work or lead in a church at home. We will do some traveling but not really that much. Our commitment is to be home in the local church. Quite honestly, we’re not making a whole lot of money when we’re gone. We like to be in our backyards. We like to play and take the vision we have back home out on the road and do what we can. We play Saturday night on the main stage and then as soon as we’re done hopping in our cars because we gotta be home to lead at our churches Sunday morning. Touring is cool, but it’s a lot of work and it’s not for everybody.
Jeremy: We’re very about our community and our area. God’s placed us there. It’s like what can seven guys do? When we go out on the road it’s like a two-fold ministry. We want to encourage people to get out of the church and do stuff. That a lot happens in our area, we go out and it’s like it’s about giving back in our community and spreading those ideas around.
Anthony: That’s where most of the songs come from too. It’s kind of like our well. Although we don’t mind playing; we’ll go.
Jeremy: To make it work, it’s not the typical format. We’ll go out for weekends and be home on Sundays.