Somewhere around the first of the year I was made aware of a very unique contemporary praise and worship songwriting retreat in Nashville hosted by KingdomSongs.org. After looking at the list of professionals who will be conducting the breakouts and sessions over the three days, I knew I had to apply. The problem was they were only accepting 40 people for the retreat so I felt my chances were slim to none, but applied anyway. Needless to say, and All Glory to God I was accepted and received and invitation. Furthermore, two of A Thousand Hills' Collaborators, Chris Banks, and David Ward were also accepted and received invitations. Humbled is the only word appropriately to describe our elation. Fast forward into February. Once the list of attendees was selected, KingdomSongs put up a group page on FB so people could get to know each other beforehand. Well for me the cyber stalking began immediately. LOL Seriously, I began to take a look at each attendee and try and gain a feel for who they were and take a listen to some of their recent works to gain a feel for what God was entrusting to each of them. Let me use the word Humbled once again. Man, to be aligned with such an awesome array of God's instruments within His body is beyond words. These cats are all ridiculously sick writers, artists, musicians, and worship leaders and what God has poured into them is simply amazing. As I was listening to some of the songs from the attendees one song hit me like a brick with both its lyrical content and the elegance of its production. "First Love" is the title and it was penned by Drew Ley and Chris Olson (who had attended the first KingdomSongs Retreat several years ago.) To be truthful I was unfamiliar with either of them but decided to reach out to both of them on FB and let them know how much I really loved this song. Over the past two months I have had the chance to talk to them both on several occasions and find them both to be the real deal. Authentic, genuine worshipers. Men after the heart of God and it is portrayed in the song they wrote together.
I asked Drew to detail the story of the song and how it came to fruition. He stated that "We got the idea for this song in May, 2014 at the All About Worship Conference in Kansas City. It's actually the first time Chris and I had met in person. We had a lot of common songwriting friends before then. Revelation 2:4 was the Bible verse that inspired this song. The church of Ephesus had forgotten their first love which is Jesus or the love of Jesus. It really hit home with me. I had felt the same way in my personal life at that time. So I wanted to write a song that captured this concept. A longing to have the love for God that I had when I first made the decision to follow Christ. Chris really liked the idea and we actually stayed up late after the conference one night and began to write "First Love"
In listening to the song, and this may show my age but I was taken back to Michael W. Smith's song "Missing Person" which carries the same theme. Drew and Chris truly captured and translate the message of returning back to that place of intimacy where we first fell in Love with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How quickly work, family, errands, hobbies, and the busyness of life distract us from our first love and the importance of the heart of this song is paramount in every believer.
Drew has been writing classical and instrumental music most of his life, but recently has been writing Contemporary Christian songs that could be sung anywhere, especially in church congregations across the world. His instrumental music has been featured on the Delilah Radio Show and The Weather Channel’s “Overnight Outlook.” Drew has recently released several worship albums of all original music. His latest EP, “Anchor” was just released in January of 2015. It features 5 new songs that he wrote over the last few years. Drew is passionate about writing new worship songs for the church and hopes that many people will come to faith in Christ through listening to his music. He is currently the Worship Ministry Leader at Bellaire Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana and has served there for over 7 years.
I have been blessed to have the opportunity over the past month to begin the process of collaborating with both Drew and Chris on a few songs. With the talents God has given them, I am anxious to hear what comes out of these writing sessions and collaborations. We will all be meeting together at the end of this month for the KingdomSongs writing retreat and I truly cannot wait to meet and work with these men of God in person! I hope you enjoy "First Love" as I have and more importantly that its message speaks to your heart and your relationship with Christ. No matter where we are in our relationships with Jesus, returning to the place of that "First Love" should be a daily occurrence. Be Blessed My Friends.....