Expression58, a church in Glendale, California, thrive on community. And one way they come together is through music, through its worship band, E58 Worship. The group recently dropped their debut album, Make Way.
E58 Worship's first project started when the church's music community submitted original songs to perform live. Twenty community members attended a retreat and came back with 20 original songs. Eight of which were featured on the 12-song project.
Make Way features eight of the community's worship leaders, performing the songs live at E58 Church in Los Angeles. Sharon Piedt, Jez Fowler, Morgan Dahlgren, Reeco Butcher, Dan and Michelle Lutz, Matt Sallee, and Wendy Vides make up E58 Worship. According to a press release, "The band is as diverse as the music, with vocalists from the U.S., Australia, Barbados, and South Africa." All eight are a mixture of ministry leaders, and music and entertainment pros.
We had the opportunity to connect with Dan, Sharon and Recco to talk about the church, the community and the worship team's new album.
What makes E58 Worship different?
DAN: E58 feels less like a church and more like a gathering of believers, artists, entertainers, and families who want to put God on display in their lives. It's a small church filled with big people; people who pursue a genuine relationship with Jesus. And who want to make a difference--especially in the areas of social justice and missions.
SHARON: We're all about hosting the presence of God and really walking like Jesus walked. Most churches I have been to are about pleasing the people. We're about pleasing the Holy Ghost.
Can you tell us a bit about the community?
RECCO: The Experience58 Church as a whole, and the E58 Worship community specifically, is family. If someone is in need of something, someone steps in to meet the need in a tangible way along with prayer. People are quick to pray for each other. People and their houses are open and available to host. People listen and make you feel heard and loved. Make you feel like you belong.
Why did E58 want to create a worship album?
DAN: We didn't really set out to create an album. We set out to build family. We tried our best to create a space for people to come together and worship and be known. Out of that community came these songs. A lot of them really resonated with the church once we started singing the songs on Sundays. At that point, we knew we had to capture this chapter at E58.
SHARON: Songs were coming so fast in such a short period of time and they were so powerful to us that we knew that God wanted to use them. No time to waste.
How were the songs written?
RECCO: Some of the songs were written in people's quiet times and intimate moments at home. Some were birthed from spontaneous moments in corporate worship. But the bulk were written when we got together as a worship family for a vision and writers retreat in October 2018. We wrote over 18 songs at our retreat. The spirit fell in that place. It was so amazing to live in the same place with all our family.
Is there a song that is special to you?
DAN: Each song carries something special for me. But I find myself listening to "Jericho" the most. There's something about the way the band plays that tune and the different sections that the song takes you through. It's just a fun journey. And I find something different to like about that song after each listen.
The album was recorded live. What was that experience like?
SHARON: It was good and challenging. We got the closest to what it would be like in a regular service, but, obviously, had to stop and start because of the recordings of each song. Being there with all our church family was so fun. We were all in it together.
RECCO: The experience of recording the live album was electric. It honestly felt just like the moments we have every Sunday morning and night, with just the addition of more lights and cameras. It felt authentic. It felt passionate and the audience just grabbed every moment to pour their hearts out like they do every weekend. It was so pure and special.
Why choose to do a live performance, as opposed to an in-studio project for your first album?
DAN: We had been doing encounter nights at E58 once a month. It's basically worship nights where we as a church come together and worship for about two hours. These nights started to become pretty special for our church. And we started to think about ways to document what was happening. So we set out to capture who we worship. We wanted to capture how our church worships. We knew that our church family was integral making this night as special as it was. And something we just couldn't recreate in the studio. After a few conversations, we decided to record an encounter night and now we have the proof.
Did you have a favorite part of the process of creating Make Way so far?
SHARON: Getting encountered by God every time any of the original songs are led. They never get old for us, because Holy Spirit is all over them.
RECCO: My favorite part has been those moments of excitement when we finished writing a song, recording it, listening back and knowing that we captured what God was saying the best way we could. But equally as good is when we get to sing these originals and have people worship along with us. They get it. They love it. We can all worship with the lyrics and melodies created.
What's Next for You? For E58?
DAN: I'm not really sure what's next. Our priority remains building the house, creating family, and being faithful with what's in our hands. We have more songs and we'd love to go into the studio and try some different things with new material, as well as revisiting some of the songs on this album. But time will tell. I know we are excited about where our church is going and it's such an honor to help manage what God is doing with our worship at E58. We're along for the ride.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
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