Today, I have the privilege of taking a slightly different direction here on the blog! An album review is pretty far out of my normal realm of content, but I think, in this case, it’s a fun leap to make that I hope will both challenge and encourage you!
The three brothers that make up the band WILLET are not just talented, Jesus-loving dudes, they are also my friends. I worked alongside of them in their nonprofit for several years, and my husband served as their drummer as well. During this time, we all spent several months on the road while the band was touring- and, let me tell you, when you cram 6 people (and all of their stuff) into a 15 passenger bus for a few months, you really get to know each other! We witnessed many different displays of character out there on the road, but let me tell you- there aren’t classier guys in the music business than the Willet brothers. We’ve all been through a lot together in the past few years, and their upcoming release, SEARCHLIGHT, is a beautiful tribute to the powerful things that the Lord has done in their lives.
If you want a brief overview of the album, look no further than what I feel is the working “thesis”, found in the bridge of track 4, “Show Us Your Unfailing Love”. The words read:
All my works are done in vain,
If not done in Jesus name
All my words will come undone,
If not sealed by Jesus blood
Though the songs on SEARCHLIGHT vary in theme from adoption and miracles to grace and ministry to the poor, the uniting thought is the overwhelming need for the Lord’s love to work in us and through us, to give our words and deeds life and to bring the Kingdom here on earth. You should know, too, that these guys really live these words out- they make it a great priority to use their platform as musicians and speakers to challenge the church to serve the least of these, and frequently travel overseas to share their music and love of Christ with the nations. In addition, any purchase of WILLET music and merchandise will also fund hunger relief meals for their 1 Million Meal School Feeding Program Initiative.
Unlike most contemporary worship albums, there are some deep theological questions that are raised within the songs of SEARCHLIGHT. For example, “Come Quickly” questions the modern church’s silencing of the Holy Spirit and ignorance of modern prophecy. A few songs later, “I Won’t Withhold Anything” looks at how greed affects our faith and, in turn, our ministries- encouraging us to cast away our riches and seek simplicity instead. Finally, the haunting album finale “Did You Mean What You Said?” boldly questions assurance of salvation in a vulnerable and passionate song for an old friend. If you’re looking for another album of emotion-driven fluff, look elsewhere. But, if you are craving honest worship that questions, that seeks, that challenges your faith, and calls you to act, the songs of SEARCHLIGHT will not disappoint.
My quick breakdown:
Songs fit for community worship:
Blessings Flow From Grace
I Won’t Withhold Anything
Holy (Strengthen My Weary Arms)
Songs for personal reflection and challenge:
Show Us Your Unfailing Love
Did You Mean What You Said?
I really feel like all of these songs could go in either category, but those in the first list would likely be the easiest and most fitting to place in a contemporary worship setting. That doesn’t mean they don’t provide ample thoughts for personal reflection, though! That said, I don’t feel that any of these songs are going to blend seamlessly into a contemporary worship setting, either, as they are much more specialized- and I think that’s a good thing. These are songs that have been written to stand out in their content and boldly challenge the church with their lyrics. I look forward to seeing them used in contemporary worship settings, and I applaud the congregations that choose to do so.