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A Veteran Presence
Posted January 20, 2016
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer

Jesus Culture's newest project, Let It Echo, is the group's first release containing all new music since 2014's Unstoppable Love. In the in-between there was last year's This Is Jesus Culture, which gave us an anthology of some of their greatest moments in leading this generation in worship, and a move from their home church Bethel to their new church plant home as Jesus Culture Sacramento. This team of vibrant worship leaders has grown up alongside many of us from youth to young adults (and some of us even older). Over their 11 year history of releasing music and 26 year history of annual conferences, Jesus Culture has been the soundtrack of a generation.

In their latest offering, Jesus Culture presents us with new music led by original worship leaders Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala, along with newer members Bryan and Katie Torwalt, Chris McClarney and Derek Johnson. The album opens with Kim Walker-Smith on "Never Stop Singing." From this moment, the listener knows that Jesus Culture has matured. It is no longer music just for youth conferences or young adult led worship nights. This is now "mainstream" worship written for the entire church. "Fierce," which features Chris Quilala, follows. The song speaks to God's fierce love for us. It can lead to a deeply intimate time of worship and a renewal of a proper view of how big and powerful God is.

After Bryan Torwalt delivers the worshipful "God With Us," Chris Quilala gives his testimony around the loss of his son before singing "Miracles." It is at this point that I realized that Jesus Culture is definitely not just for the younger crowd anymore, but for a church that has members that are hurting and needing reaffirmation of God's miracle-working power in our lives. 

Katie Torwalt gives the highlight moment on the album with "Set Me Ablaze." On the first listen of the album, it was this track that stuck out and was repeated several times. It's a true anthem with the prayer "Set me ablaze, set me ablaze / with a single obsession / set me ablaze, set me ablaze / with an endless passion." I honestly cannot think of a greater prayer on a cold winter night, whether literally or figuratively.

With Let It Echo, Jesus Culture has fully completed its transition from its student ministry roots to providing the next generation of songs for the Church as a whole. Worship is more than just singing, and on Let It Echo, Jesus Culture shows us once again that it is the heart of the One we worship that matters more than anything else. They do this with thoughtful, passionate (and singable!) anthems of praise and faith that go beyond hype and emotion.

The Bottom Line: The project showcases the hearts and gifts of Jesus Culture while leading us to the heart and glory of Jesus.
Song to Download Now:
"Set Me Ablaze" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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