This Saturday, we're hosting The Gray Havens at our church.
It's free, so click the link to reserve a seat and join us!
Last year in September, Lake Bible Arts hosted its first ever special music concert. We brought Ginny Owens out, and she was fantastic, personally and professionally. It was a really wonderful evening, and everyone who went loved it. My pastor even motioned for me to come sit next to him midway through the concert and asked, “Are they leading worship tomorrow?” At my affirmative response he said “Good” rather emphatically. I knew then that the concert was a success.
A few months went by, and I decided I’d better start looking into setting up a concert for this year. There was no guarantee we would do another one, but I’d never dreamed we would do the first one, so I figured I’d poke around and see what happened. That’s how I found The Gray Havens.
In order to feel comfortable recommending a group to my church leadership, they have to meet the following criteria:
1. They must be, as far as I can tell, theologically sound.*
2. I have to really like their music. Basically, the lyrics, melodies, and arrangements have to be artistically beautiful, intellectually engaging, and unique.**
3. Their music must be in a style I think is a good fit for my church.
4. We have to be able to afford them.^
I tend to go deep rather than wide in my music-listening, so I took to the internet to see if there were any artists meeting those criteria who we might like to have out this year. Naturally, I went to UTR Media’s list of artists to begin my search. I was fairly systematic.^* I started going through the list alphabetically, looking up the website and YouTube channel for each artist in turn, and saving the ones I liked in a bookmarks folder I created.
I got to The Gray Havens and liked what I heard, but I was determined to get through the list and go back later to whittle it down; I moved on to the next artist. And then I went back to The Gray Havens to listen to a few more songs (you can listen to all of them for free on their website). I checked out another artist, then went back to The Gray Havens again. And again. I finally conceded defeat: I just couldn’t get away from The Gray Havens.
I loved them.
I took a few days to pray about it and do a little more research, but soon enough I got my Staff Overseer and Staff Adviser (my titles for them) together and made my pitch. I think I got about 20 seconds into “This My Soul” and my Staff Adviser said, “Yep. I like ‘em. Go ahead.”
And the rest will soon be history.
*That is, within the bounds of orthodoxy.
**It can’t sound like what you hear on mainstream Christian radio.
^Last year, the elders approved spending money to host the concert, and we offset the cost through ticket sales. This year, we earmarked a portion of the worship ministry budget for just such an event, and are offering free admission. Yay!