Music is a calling and worship is a lifestyle. At that intersection of talent and passion, you’ll find Victory World Music. Taking a multi-cultural, multi-generational approach to serving one of the fastest growing churches in the nation, the worship team at Victory World Church is a vibrant group of talented musicians with a common goal---creating original music that glorifies God.
Victory World Church was founded in 1990 by Dennis and Colleen Rouse to whom God had given a vision for a multi-cultural, Acts-2-model church where all nations and cultures come together to worship, fellowship, and grow as disciples of Christ. Over the past 21 years, the church has grown from six people meeting in a daycare in Doraville, GA to 9,500 from more than 105 nations meeting together weekly across three campuses.
The official launch of Victory World Music was spearheaded by Montell & Kristin Jordan. Most of the world knows Jordan as the smooth-voiced singer responsible for such mainstream R&B hits as “This is How We Do It” and “Let’s Ride,” but to fellow believers at Victory World Church in Norcross, GA, Jordan is a man who uses music as a vehicle to transport people into the presence of God.
As Victory World Church introduces their powerful worship team to the world with the debut album with Victory World Music, Jordan is at the forefront of the church’s ministry efforts. The lead single, “Shake Heaven,” is an ear-grabbing wall of sound punctuated by Jordan’s soulful vocals that captures the latest chapter in his musical and spiritual evolution. The song also features guest vocals by the incredibly gifted Beckah Shae. She also joins Jordan on the opening track “Yes You Are (Yeshua).”
A truly collaborative effort, the album captures the depth and diversity of talent at Victory World. “You have a lot of different genres represented on this album,” says Jordan. “I didn’t know how God was going to use all of this to create an album where it can all exist in the same place, but somehow He gave us the songs, the tempos, transitions and topics to be able to piece all these different styles of music together.”
In addition to Jordan’s signature R&B sound, “These Hands” establishes another side of this seasoned lyricist with the sound of fervent worship. “’These Hands’ was one of the first songs that was written in this album recording process,” says Jordan. “Around Easter, we took a week of fasting, praying and reading scriptures, asking God to give us the songs for this album, and ‘These Hands’ was one of those songs. It was an idea about the hands of God talking and saying the different things that they’ve done, from hanging a planet in the sky to catching one single teardrop. It’s pretty amazing that God can do that, so ‘These Hands’ came about. There were 2,000 people that came to Christ that Easter weekend during that altar call song. We feel it’s one of the strongest songs on the album. Our church has a great attachment to it and they’ve been waiting for it to be recorded.”
The album also features a compelling spoken-word piece titled, “When I See You,” written and performed by David Stephens. “We have a 20s and 30s ministry at Victory called Fusion, and David is both the assistant Fusion pastor and a spoken word artist,” says Jordan. “That spoken word offering went into this worship song called ‘Usable,’ a song by a worship artist named Sara Femme. It’s like the perfect type of marriage of songs--- a worship song that’s completely connected to a spoken word song and I couldn’t have planned it better. I believe God anointed it to work that way.”
Christian Lewis sings lead on “You Are,” a song Jordan had written several years ago as a love song to his wife. “My daughter and I sat and rewrote the words to the song so it would be a spiritual love song being sung to God,” Jordan says of the new worshipful version of “You Are,” which was written with his 15-year-old daughter Sydney. “Christian Lewis works with the youth at church. With his vocal styling, inflections, and tone, it just seemed like it would be a great song for him to deliver on this project. The moment he started singing it and I started recording I thought, ‘Man, this is going to be one of people’s favorite songs on the album!’”
“The One” is among the album’s many standout tracks and features guest vocals by Martha Munizzi. “Martha is a jewel! I call her my vanilla soul sister because she is a soulful, soulful woman,” Jordan says. “We had a great time, and in addition to blessing us with her vocals on the album, she’s also part of the DVD taping we did at the church. She rips this song and I love hearing her on it.”
Jordan thoroughly enjoyed working with Victory World Music’s talented singers and worship leaders to make the album a reflection of the worship experience that is unique to their church. “I’m blessed that God allows me to make music that touches a lot of different people, but I’m a 42-year-old black man and there’s just certain audiences that I may not be able to reach,” he says, “but I know how to put the right folks around me with the right message to reach the people that God wants to reach. He has blessed us with these young songwriters who have a heart for God and know how to say the right things. He just allowed me the ability to know how to put it all together to reach people.”
Jordan is the first to admit the transition from mainstream music star to music minister wasn’t necessarily an easy one. He and his wife had been attending Victory World and Jordan was working on a new R&B album. His wife was the first to know change was coming. “God revealed to her that I was going to retire from the music business,” recalls Jordan. “In her infinite wisdom, she decided not to tell me that because if she would have told me, I probably would not have received that type of message. I had been working on a new R&B album and was preparing to rejuvenate my career; even though I was serving in church and we were doing children’s ministry, I was an R&B recording artist.”
Within a few months, God’s will became evident to Jordan during a time of fasting and prayer. “During that 21 day fast, God spoke to me and confirmed that I was going to retire from the music business. That was an extremely traumatic and very difficult time for me,” Jordan admits candidly. “There was a lot of uncertainty because the only thing I’d known had been music production, writing, recording. That defined Montell Jordan. Who was Montell outside of the music world?”
As Jordan wrestled with that question and the uncertainty, God honored his obedience by opening a new door for him to use his gifts. “When I retired, I didn’t even have a job,” he says. “I literally left the business not knowing what I was going to do nor where this was going to lead, and then the opportunity arose for a position at Victory World Church. So, literally, the transition of me moving from R&B recording artist into full-time licensed minister came because of God requiring me to lay down my life to move forward.”
As he moved forward into his calling, it became obvious that God had been ordering his steps all along, preparing him for the new role he was assuming. “God was very patient with me,” Jordan says. “He just kept revealing himself to me over and over again saying, ‘I’ve got you. I’ve got you,’ and that’s how we were able to make that move completely. There was no looking back.”
For Jordan, the journey began at Carver Missionary Baptist Church in California. “I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, in the hood,” Jordan says. “Gang violence was very high in South Central LA and I wasn’t expected to live. Young black men in South Central weren’t expected to live past 16-years-old, but this little church is where I was groomed. That was my schooling and my foundation for music with an old Mississippi preacher named Richard Stubbs. He took a bunch of us kids and locked us in the church and started training us. We had to learn how to accompany him on piano, on the organ, on the drums, and on the guitars. We learned how to play music by ear. I served as a musician in the church from the time I was about nine-years-old until I was about 21. I’ve been in the church all my life. I’ve known God all my life.”
That relationship with the Father provided a strong foundation as Jordan moved forward. He graduated from Pepperdine University and, though he considered law school, his love of music prevailed. He signed a deal with Def Jam Records and soon became one of the industry’s hottest young R&B singers. His vast experience in the mainstream music world now enables him to serve God more effectively in his music ministry at Victory.
“Part of my testimony of being from the secular world of music is I feel like I’ve been behind enemy lines,” he says with a sly smile. “I’ve been a spy, going to survey the land and see what it’s like out there. I know what people are listening to, what draws crowds, what makes the different sounds. There are just certain rhythms and chords that strike within people.”
Jordan’s music experience fused with the passion of the congregation makes worship at Victory an exciting experience. “There are 105 different nations of people represented,” Jordan says of Victory, one of the fastest growing churches in the country. “We do world worship music that crosses all different lines. That’s part of the DNA in Victory World Church. We reconcile the races, reconcile the cultures, and reconcile ourselves to God. I think we’re going to change the way people hear, praise and worship. This isn’t church as usual. There is no template for what is happening here at Victory right now. There’s no book right now that’s written to say this is how you do multi-cultural worship in the 2000’s. I think we are definitely at the forefront of something new.”
Jordan appreciates the talent he’s surrounded by on Victory’s Worship team. “I get to work with some really talented musicians who are also growing and learning like I am, and that have a heart for God,” Jordan says. “We are trying to sing what we think God would like to hear, to worship him the way that we think he would like to be worshipped, not just to create a new sound and different ways to say, ‘We love you God,’ but to also be catalysts to inspire the congregation and the people here to press forward and get into the presence of God.”
Jordan is excited about the worship at Victory World Church reaching beyond the walls of the church, and he couldn’t be more passionate about the new music he’s creating with his team. “It’s a gift to God. I’m giving him back the gift of music that he gave me that I used in the world. I’m giving it to him now,” he says. “Victory World Music is something that belongs to Him and doesn’t edify me as an artist. I want to take the light off of me and focus that light onto Him.”
And he enjoys joining forces with his creative brothers and sisters in Christ at Victory World Music. “We feel that our music is going reach the world,” he says. “All of the things that we’ve done have not been traditional, church type songs. You wouldn’t normally expect to walk into a church and hear a song like ‘Let’s Go,’ but we worship to songs like ‘Let’s Go’ just like we worship to ‘Shake Heaven’ in our church. What we do here on this album is an extension of what we’re trying to give to the world. We want Christians and non-Christians to be able to have good music to listen to that is Christ-centered.”