Already number one on iTunes store (Singapore) since its soft launch last night, City Worship’s first album in five years, Draw Me is an album that magnifies the faithfulness of God throughout City Harvest Church’s toughest times.
One of the chief verses that City Harvest Church has clung to these five, six years that it has endured the case involving its key leaders is Hebrews 13:5.
“…[God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” (The Message Bible)
This is the spirit behind the songs that form CityWorship’s new album Draw Me, which launches officially tomorrow.
The 13-track album “proudly” features all original songs penned by the CityWorship team, says creative director Mark Kwan.
“Sometime in 2014, I really felt that we needed to put an album out,” Kwan says, explaining the genesis of Draw Me. “Not for any reason other than because people were asking for it. They were asking about our songs, where they could get proper recordings of them to worship with. And for that reason alone, I thought it was worthwhile to set aside the time to make it happen.
“We’ve been writing and singing our own songs, but because of all that the church has been going through, we’ve never had the time to take on the entire process of producing an album. It does require a lot of effort and coordination.”
The fruit of all that effort and coordination is one of the most emotive albums the church has put out. The album title is taken from a worship song written by CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee in the early days of the church, a song that has remained one of the church’s key anthems throughout its 27-year history.
“I thought it would be a ‘coming full circle’ kind of feeling to have ‘Draw Me’ in the album,” says Kwan. “After all, it was Pastor Kong who taught many of us in the worship team what it means to worship God wholeheartedly. Having ‘Draw Me’ as the title track, it represents that as a worship ministry, we also find our roots of songwriting and worshiping in the spiritual father that God has placed over our lives and our church.”
The rest of the album is made up of songs written by the CityWorship team since 2013, which are familiar to the congregation, including “I Remember”, “Miracle”, “Greater Are You”, “Called Out”, “Till The End Of Time” and “Rejoice”. The singers on the album include Sun Ho, Teo Poh Heng, Annabel Soh, Alison Yap, Gerald Chan, Chervelle Chua, Maximillian Low, Renata Triani and Kwan himself.
Kwan is particularly happy about the fact that the album is a collaborative effort that involved many volunteers. “We had some help from friends and partners in ministry; we also managed to get many CityWorship, Audio, Creative staff and CHC volunteers involved in the song arrangement, singing, recording, mixing, designing etc—all that processes that go into making an album,” he explains. “I hope that as we produce more albums, we will be able to involve more and more people in the process so that we can all feel a part of the sound we produce.”
CHC has put out many albums over the last 27 years. “Every album is significant in its own right because it represents the sound of a season in the life of an artist, or in our case, a ministry,” says Kwan. “Draw Me is significant because it represents the sound of our church clinging on to God through our most difficult seasons…the songs written in those moments of desperation and despair…in those moments where His Spirit stirred up faith and hope within us in spite of our most difficult circumstances.”
There is a thread that runs through every song on Draw Me, Kwan adds. “It is the thread of hope. I know that’s nothing new or revolutionary. Our God is after all a God of new beginnings and of hope. But it means a lot for any member of City Harvest who has been through the last six years of trials and struggles.”
He shares that the ministry has been meditating and holding on to Isaiah 41:10, which reads,
‘Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
It is Kwan’s prayer that “people will hear the heart of City Harvest through this album. The heart of a people sold out for Jesus. Giving their all to worship Him and serve Him in spite of the difficulties and shame that we may need to face along the way.
“I pray that our faith and hope can also be heard, that we believe in His greatness and trust unreservedly in His goodness. And having heard that in our worship, I pray that they too will experience Him in the same way.”
Draw Me (CD format) retails for S$21.90 at The Ink Room at Hall 605, Suntec Convention Centre. It is also available for download on iTunes.