eorgia-Cumberland Academy’s (GCA) Magnify Worship program released their debut album—SOS—on June 7, 2021. The album features original songs written by Magnify Worship students and faculty and is a result of continued growth of the worship program, which began in 2010.
“This has been a longtime goal of the program to be releasing original music,” said Mark Torsney, instrumental music and Magnify Worship director. “We have so many talented and creative students who just need instruction in the art of songwriting in an effort to give voice to their thoughts about life.”
The album echoes the tumultuous year the students lived through. Between the pandemic, politics, and social justice issues, many of the songs explore the concept of finding peace in the midst of chaos. The students wrestled with their faith and articulated their belief in God’s providence through the songs.
“It was very exciting to be given the opportunity to share a little piece of how we feel about Christ in this way,” said Lauren Gareth, co-writer of I Am Yours, and a member of the class of 2021. “I hope that whoever listens to our song will feel in their heart that they are God’s child and He loves them.”
There are stories behind all the songs, but Holding on to You holds a special meaning as it was written in an effort to comfort the school family after the unexpected loss of a graduate of the class of 2020 right before Christmas. “This last year has been filled with loss and disappointment for so many, but when we heard about the death of Zach, we set out to write a song of comfort for those struggling to make sense of the pain in this world,” said Kalie Kelch, co-director of Magnify Worship and assistant chaplain at GCA.
Magnify Worship is a fine arts class offered at GCA that educates approximately 50 students per year in the ministry of worship leading in the church. In 2018 Torsney and Kelch, in conjunction with Richard Hickam, minister of music at WholeLife Church and director for arts in ministry at AdventHealth, published Magnify Worship: Music Education and Leadership Development, a multi-year curriculum designed to help Adventist schools and churches establish a worship program that disciples young people and trains them to use their musical talents for God’s glory.
“Mentoring is so important. We can’t just give youth the stage and think our work is done because we’ve involved them in the life of the church,” said Kelch. “We need to walk alongside them and guide them in ministry. We need to teach them how to be an effective leader. They are eager to learn, and it’s our responsibility as adults to not just give them the ‘keys’ but also teach them to ‘drive’.”
Within the class of 50, there are 12 student leaders who participate in a separate leadership class dedicated to leadership development, spiritual development, and songwriting/recording. The twelve leaders are split into pairs, and together, they are responsible for managing the six to eight classmates who are a part of their worship team.
“The goal of discipleship is to create more disciples, which is why we believe in the leadership model we’ve developed. We pour into our leaders, and they pour into their members. And hopefully their band members pour into their own circle of influence,” said Torsney.
In addition to releasing music, Magnify Worship has created accompanying music videos and song studies that dive into the biblical message of the songs. Their videos are available on their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/magnifyworship.
For more information about Magnify Worship, including the curriculum and implementing a similar program at your school, please visit www.magnifyworship.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also locate the group on Instagram, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and Amazon Music.
Missional Music Ministry
Music Videos and Song Studies
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