Mark Willard, worship pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church, leads a live premiere at the church for the new CD “Jesus, Hope of the World.” The CD, produced as part of a joint effort between Sherwood and Lifeway Worship, is slated to be released in Lifeway stores and on iTunes in November (Submitted photo)
ALBANY — A joint effort between Sherwood Baptist Church and Lifeway Worship will come full circle later this year with the release of a CD entitled “Jesus, Hope of the World.”
The CD, to be released in November, will include 13 new worship songs such as “That’s When Love Broke Through,” “Our God Reigns,” “Spirit of the Sovereign Lord,” “More Than I Can Imagine” and “Live for Your Glory.” All were co-written by Mark Willard, worship pastor at Sherwood, who has also written scores for the films that have been released by Sherwood Pictures.
“We originally put this together as a praise and worship project (for the church), but Lifeway (came on board) and is going to release it later this year,” Willard said.
A live premiere, which was recorded for DVD release, was presented by the Sherwood Worship Choir and Orchestra on Aug. 25 at the church.
“(The premiere) went tremendously well,” Willard said. “From a spiritual standpoint, I thought it was God-honoring. It was a great night.”
The motivation for the project, Willard said, was the need for people to see that there is hope during trying times.
“It’s a message the world needs to hear,” Willard said. “With the political landscape and what’s happening in marriages … wherever you look, people are desperate. Wherever we go to soften the blow, the only security is in Jesus. It’s not just for non-Christians. It’s a message to gather the church behind.
“There are a variety of musical styles that all point to the same message. (It’s about) maintaining a positive outlook.”
Special guests for the project included singer songwriter Mark Harris, a former member of the group “4Him,” and Nashville, Tenn. guitarist Dave Cleveland, who has recorded and toured with a number of contemporary Christian artists.
“(Harris) is a recording artist and co-author on 50 percent of the songs (on the CD). He’s a guest artist, and has had 25 No. 1 (contemporary Christian) songs. He’s been an invaluable asset,” Willard said. “(Cleveland) is a studio guitar player in Nashville. He brings in much creativity.”
Harris and Willard have been collaborating since 2004, most notably on the score for the Sherwood Pictures film “Facing the Giants,” which was released in 2006. Cleveland worked on the instrumental recording for the CD in Nashville, Willard said.
The CD is currently available in the Sherwood bookstore “The Source,” and will be available in Lifeway stores and iTunes in November — at the same time the DVD will be available in Lifeway stores and at Sherwood. The CD costs $15, and the DVD is expected to be priced between $22-$25, Willard said.
As these materials are being released, there will also be sheet music resources made available, the pastor said.
“This is the first national release we have done with Lifeway Worship, with full orchestration and sheet music,” Willard said. “… My hope is that it will be useful to churches nationwide. That’s the extent of my hope (for the release).”