Maybe in your car, or on your phone - even at your church?
Well, you can. Illumine is about to start releasing music. There will be audio files for general listening as well as resources for churches that want to use these arrangements - lead sheets, instrument parts, and anything else that seems helpful.
Our ability to offer these resources is largely due to the addition of a new staff member at Illumine: Drew Sonnenberg. Drew serves as Illumine's Worship Coordinator, which predominantly means that if it has to do with music, Drew is responsible for it. He's a talented and ambitious musician with a heart for helping people sing, and these resources are perfect examples of that.
The first release will be described more in a future post (by Drew), but before that, it seemed good to give everyone a heads up about what is coming and how it will work. Once released, these resources will be for sale at illuminechurch.com. We'll be adding new ones as often as we can (we already have the next 4 songs planned for release before the year ends!) - so you'll want to stay tuned for new releases through the Illumine Update (sign up here.)
We've chosen to make these available for purchase (and not for free) for two basic reasons. First, making these recording costs money. We didn't use a conventional studio for this recording (we used an old shower...) which did save a great deal, but we did need some technology to make it happen. Undoubtedly, as this recording process continues and becomes more refined, there will be other expenses. Offering these resources for purchase, even at the very reasonable rates we'll ask, makes this possible.
Secondly, when the addition of a Worship Coordinator to Illumine's staff was mentioned, you may have thought, "Wow. They're a pretty young and rather small congregation to be adding that!" You are correct. We're fortunate (as with everything we're doing in ministry) to have the blessings we do, but we understand that things have a price. Part of the goal of publishing these resources is to help make a position like Drew's possible. He is an incredibly gifted musician with a real heart for empowering the church through usable, congregationally friendly worship music resources. This structure will allow him to continue to do that in a way that reaches beyond his local congregation and into the church at large. (For clarity, the money received for these resources will not go toward Illumine's general work - only toward the work of the Worship Coordinator.)
I'm confident that, through the many resources we hope Illumine will offer, you'll find things that serve you, personally, and that serve your congregation. These recordings will be as diverse as the people who come to Illumine are, because when it comes to style we operate with a simple 25, 50, 25 rule: 25% of what we do is meant specifically for you and what you understand and what you love. 50% of what we do is meant to be accessible for you, the kind of thing you can definitely get behind even if it is a little different than your ideal standard. The last 25%, however, isn't for you - it's for someone else, and when you see/hear/experience it you can rejoice that God has put you in a diverse church, well-equipped with all the different features of a body unified under one head, Jesus Christ.
So stay tuned. This is an exciting endeavor that will proclaim Christ to many people. We're excited to get to sing with you, and we hope most of all that these recordings help you worship God by reminding you of his incredible faithfulness.