Hi! My name is John Gabriel Arends. I'm a songwriter and independent recording artist from Kalispell, Montana. I'm also the worship pastor at an incredible church called The River. I’m excited to share my new project with you called Undivided Heart, a worship album full of powerful songs written to ignite passion for God and remind believers of the all-consuming call of Jesus. The album will be produced by Jake Hamilton and Resurgent Sound in Redding, California.
The Vision for Undivided Heart
The songs on this album are part of a new wave of worship songs. God is raising up a breed of worshipers and songwriters who prophetically call His whole Church to a higher level. They are aggressive for the glory Jesus deserves and to prepare His Bride to be ready for Him. They write songs that don’t accommodate passive Christianity, but instead force a decision in those who hear: “Will I love Jesus with everything I am and everything I have, or not?”
We live in a world that encourages us to pursue so many things besides Jesus—and much of the Church tells us that it’s okay to pursue both. But these songs remind us that nothing else can satisfy except seeing the face of Jesus. The songs on this album center on the scriptural theme of having an undivided, pure heart—a heart ready to leave the world behind, a heart that only desires one thing. These are songs meant to take us back to those first moments when we first decided to follow Jesus, realizing that nothing has changed at all; He is still worth it all.
I’ve been writing worship songs since I was a teen. I only wrote them for one reason, and that was to show my love to Jesus. After a while, someone overheard me singing some of those songs and they encouraged me that these songs were needed by believers everywhere. As I started playing my songs publicly, they caught on like wildfire. I began getting invitations that took me to lead worship around the world. When I’d come home, I would get messages from churches all over the USA—and even overseas—that they were still singing my songs. I began trying to record some of the songs to share with other churches and worship leaders. (Those recordings will never be heard anywhere. They were awful. :P) Then in 2008, two amazing young guys named Bryan Papic and Brad Newell helped to record those songs and release my first album called “Let Fire Fall.”
Since that time, I’ve written many more songs and released 4 more albums. But because I’m not signed by a record label, I’ve been doing everything myself as an independent artist. I’ve recorded those 4 more albums completely on my own in a little make-shift studio I built. My budget has been extremely small for each one, and many times I have played every instrument myself. Even with these humble beginnings, it’s been worth it, because many people have told me how hearing one of my songs has changed their entire lives and how they relate to God. These songs have blessed people all around the world, and several of my songs have been featured in the top 20 song lists for Christian radio.
Just recently, I received a phone call inviting me to record this new worship album produced by Jake Hamilton and the Resurgent Sound team in Redding, California. The album would be recorded in the same studio that is used by Bethel Music, Jesus Culture, Bryan and Katie Torwalt, Chris Tomlin, Kim Walker-Smith, Kari Jobe, John Mark McMillan, Jonathan and Melissa Helser, Andrew Ehrenzeller, Third Day, Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Michael W. Smith, and Hillsong United—to name a few. My band for the project will be some of the best out there, including musicians who play for Jesus Culture and Bethel Music.
This will be an incredible step up, especially in terms of the quality of what I’ll be able to release compared to what I’ve worked with in the past. The Resurgent Sound team has invited me to come down to engage in an experience to grow as an artist and worship leader and to receive direct input from Jake Hamilton and other movers and shakers in the worship movement. Working with Jake and the Resurgent Sound team will give me tools to be more effective in releasing many more great albums in the future—both my own and those that I produce for other worship songwriters who are under me.
Why I need YOUR help
I am an independent writer and recording artist, which means that I don’t have any big music companies or record labels paying the bills. (If you’ve ever heard of something like a “million dollar record deal,” that basically means that an artist has gotten sponsored by a music company for a one million dollar loan to pay for their project in advance. That is not the case for indie artists like me.)
While this opportunity to record in Redding with Jake and his team is an amazing step up, it is more expensive by nature. The Resurgent Sound team is making this opportunity available to me for an incredibly reduced price of $15,000. (To put that in perspective, other artists recording at the same studio are paying $50,000 or more.) This will cover the cost of using the facility and world-class equipment, compensating my engineers and the band for their time, actually getting the discs made, and all of the travel and accommodations for myself, the band, and our gear. (All of this money is all to pay costs. The money isn’t for me.)
Kickstarter is an amazing tool that allows independent artists like me to team up with amazing people like you so that TOGETHER we can make something that otherwise would never existed. In this case, we’re making an incredible new worship album that is going to impact even more people’s lives all around the world.
The cool part is that when you become a backer and support this project, there are amazing rewards that are exclusive JUST FOR YOU. (Keep reading the rewards section to see what rewards you might choose to get!)
I already have $2,500 paid into the studio to reserve my dates at the studio. I need to raise an additional $12,500 to complete the album. This is the “bare-bones” goal to cover the most necessary costs to complete the album.
Goal #1 ($12,500) will cover:
- Compensating the engineers and 4 musicians (drums, bass, keys/synth, electric guitar)
- Travel/accommodations for myself and other musicians who are all flying in from outside of California
- The cost of physical disc production and printing.
- Digital distribution to all online music outlets, such as iTunes and Amazon.com.
- Kickstarter rewards for all of you! :)
- The cost of recording at the SoundHouse studio in Redding, California
However, if we have enough funding, we can reach for the next goal of $20,000.
Goal #2 ($20,000 or more) will cover:
- More time in the studio to refine the sound
- The ability to bring in additional artists and musicians to contribute to the project
- Involving designers, photographers, and cinematographers to help create the final product and promotional materials for distributing the album.
- An occasional coffee break and getting to eat something besides home-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of a cooler ;)
- AN EXTRA SET OF REWARDS FOR ALL BACKERS
Goal #3 ($25,000 or more) will cover
- The ability to promote and advertise the finished product.
- Reaching this third goal would allow John and his team to go to more places and minister, without expecting those places to face the financial burden of my travel costs, accommodations, and so on.
Why do we need another album?
There are two reasons why I believe that this album is important and not just another album. The first is that God is worthy of more worship. My friend Darrell Evans wrote in one of his songs, “Lord, You could never be praised enough! For who You are and Your great love, You could never be praised enough!” I am under the conviction that there are not enough songs yet that express how great, how marvelous, and how BIG He is. He is endless; His love is endless. So we never run out of reasons to worship. This album is another part of the worship He deserves.
The second reason this album is so important is that music is one of the most powerful ways to communicate and influence people. In my personal walk with the Lord, I’ve been reflecting on how grateful I am for other worship leaders and songwriters who have made the effort and spent the money to make albums, because their songs have changed my life. People like Kevin Prosch, Matt Redman, Kim Walker-Smith, the BarlowGirl band, Delirious—their songs have given me hope on my darkest days, spoken into the depths of my heart when I couldn’t hear God myself, and then fueled the fires of God’s calling on my life. And I wonder, where would I be in my walk with God if those people didn’t record their songs for me to hear? I would not be where I am now. I want to give that same gift to other people, so as long as I have breath, you won’t shut me up!
"John Gabriel Arends is a worshiper with a sound of heaven that is changing earth." - Leif Hetland, Global Mission Awareness
"Strong, catchy melodies paired with deep and meaningful lyrics communicate a heart of worship and awe of the Lord that is unmistakable. John Gabriel Arends has quickly become one of the favorite artists on our station. - Aimee Herd, ElijahStreams iRadio
"I have had the priviledge of knowing John for several years now. I watched him emerge as one of the most anointed powerful worship leaders and song writers I have known." - Danny Steyne, Mountain of Worship
"I can commend to you John Gabriel Arends' worship music. John really brings the presence of the Lord by his contemporary style of worship music. John is in my opinion one of the many younger christian musicians that God is using this day to usher in a new Day of the Lord." - Ian Andrews, Citadel Ministries
"That's my boy!" - John's Mom
Risks and challenges
Keep in mind that Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform. If this project's initial goal of $12,500 is met, we will make an amazing album and you will all get great rewards! John already has $2,500 of nonrefundable money put in to reserve his dates at the studio. However, if we do not meet the rest of our goal here on Kickstarter, nobody will be charged and the album will not be made.
One of the greatest challenges John has faced with previous projects is that there always seem to be unforeseen delays. Producing an album often involves many different people and companies, all of which are located in different states. A delay in one can lead to the delay in another. However, John and his team will do everything they can to make sure backers are notified of delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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