THE ARKANSAS BLESSING
In April 2020, in the middle of a pandemic- Caleb Thomas, a worship leader, friend and collaborator with Ignite Worship viewed a video with a group of worship leaders in Pittsburgh, PA singing The Blessing over their city. He approached Shane Warbington, the Director of Ignite Worship with the idea of producing a project like this for Arkansas. Ignite Worship exists to equip, encourage and unify the Church so without hesitation the answer was Yes!
At that point we brought in our friend Tanner Nichols to lead the audio production side. With everyone in quarantine, we knew there would be a lot of coordination and management needed to pull this off including-
Recruiting Worship Leaders from various churches
Collaboration management i.e. preparing arrangement, music click track and materials and directions for collaborators
Gather the collaborator’s files
We began reaching out to our Worship Leader friends to invite them to collaborate with us on this. Everyone we contacted immediately caught the vision for what an encouragement this would be for our region and said “YES!! I’m in!!”
After our recruiting phase, we had around 30 worship leaders and churches collaborate on this project. Of course, with the pandemic and everyone in quarantine we had the challenge of how to record both video and audio of each worship leader. We wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Most everyone filmed themselves on a smartphone while singing along to the audio click track we had provided. Once each collaborator emailed their video to us we had to detach each person’s audio from the video to allow us to process the audio and mix it for best results. Separately, we edited the video portion and in the final stage we brought the audio and video back together to finish the project. All of the challenges of quarantine, editing 30 individual vocal tracks, syncing 30 individual videos, and fitting them into cubes was daunting to say the least. However, those challenges faded quickly as we saw the first rough draft of this project. The encouragement was palpable even in its raw form.
From concept to release it took over 8 weeks to complete this project. What started as project with an opportunity to encourage and unify the church during a pandemic ended up being released in the middle of one of the most historic weeks of protesting and riots our nation has experienced. This project took on an all-encompassing message of hope relayed to the world through Worship Leaders from different church affiliations and different races in unity.
Our message is a blessing for the people of Arkansas. Not just for people who follow Jesus, but for all people. We believe that every person is fearfully and wonderfully made, no matter the color of your skin, the neighborhood you call home, your gender or your country of origin. As followers of Jesus we want the hope and life we find in Jesus to shine on our friends, family, brothers and sisters. We want the great people of this state to hear us sing a blessing of hope over each one of them.