Mark Harris, Gateway's associate senior pastor of worship, cranks the volume up on his speakers much louder than necessary for his narrow officce. He sits down and expectantly watches the faces of listeners passing by as the music plays—driving, expansive, and hopeful. He samples song after song from Monuments, GATEWAY’s newest worship album, as office-mates walk past and look in, curious about the ringing, impromptu Wednesday-afternoon concert. Finally he stands up, turns off the music, then sits back down. The silence is profound. “So that gives you a little sample of what we’ve done,” he says and smiles.

Monuments consists of 12 songs, featuring writers and musicians from every campus at Gateway. Mark reminisces about the unity of the recording process. “We were cutting vocals,” he says, “and I looked around the circle, and it wasn’t intentional, but it was just the way God put it together. I thought, there is Frisco, there is Dallas, Grand Prairie, NRH, North Fort Worth, and there is Southlake. We even have Scottsdale represented.”

While the album as a whole has GATEWAY’s familiar atmosphere and heart-on-your-sleeve passion for God’s presence, the sound is fresh and youthful. “There is a great heritage here. We’ve dug a lot of deep wells here at Gateway,” says Mark. “We wanted to honor what has been done but take our sound into new territory as well.”

GATEWAY has recorded previous albums in live sessions, but Monuments is a studio project. “The mission is still the same, but we decided to record this album in the studio rather than in a live worship setting,” says Mark. “It was the best way to reinvigorate the sound.” The resulting production quality shines through every track. “For All My Days” sounds like something you might hear on modern pop radio, while “Monuments” is sure to be a staple of Gateway worship services for a long time to come. Mark also points out that recording in-studio was the best way to steward and maximize GATEWAY’s talent, for the greatest impact.

“This album is a resource. We want it to be used and to have as much impact as possible, not to make us famous but to make Him famous—across the world. This is what Gateway Church is all about.”

The album’s title, Monuments, refers to the Old Testament practice of building a stone mound as evidence of God’s faithfulness. “When we look back at what God has done at Gateway Church, we have these monuments to Him,” Mark points out. “They are there, so we can look at them and say, ‘God was with us.’”

Writing and producing Monuments has given GATEWAY new energy and drive, from looking back on where they have been to looking ahead where God is taking them. “Every song that we’ve ever sung or produced is a soundwave that’s still travelling somewhere out in the universe, declaring God’s goodness.” Mark says. “This album is joining in.” 

 

Monuments is available for pre-order on iTunes now and will be released on September 15.