Adoration Music certainly has that modern worship vibe, but you're not going to get some Bethel or Elevation facsimile here. This is evident with the lead single and opening track from their debut release, Floor of Heaven, "Mighty." The group does a great job of changing things up quite a bit for the bridge of this one. Then they slow things down for an extended softer time for worship at the end of the track. It's a solid opener and the kind of song that gets a fellow worship leader excited. Lyrically, a song like the title track really stands out. In the bridge, Brielle Rathbun sings, "Whether the pain ceases or not; I will move forward. Whether the Lord mends it or not; I will move forward. Whether I'm healed from this or not; I will move forward. Whether the thorn is there or not; make us prepared still to move forward." This is a unique take on 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. It's an excellent Biblical reference, but not one that is typically heard in worship music. The moving "Floor of Heaven" then transitions to the most upbeat song present, "In His Service" -- which is led by Adoration Life's founder, Thomas W. Cook. Finally, Gomezmuzik closes things out with the beautiful sounding "Great & Holy One." It's a fantastic song and the obvious choice for the closer.
Something about Floor of Heaven just feels sincere and real. The production is excellent, but it seems that this release is more about the heart of worship and the mission of the ministry than making a big and flashy worship album. That's certainly not a knock on the high production worship albums out there, but that's just not the sound Adoration Music was looking for. It's honestly quite refreshing. Floor of Heaven sounds a little more stripped down and organic. That works really well here. Worship leaders and fans of modern worship music alike should find a lot to enjoy about this release. There are some fantastic musical and lyrical moments present, and the heart is there to back it up.- Review date: 11/15/23, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Thomas W. Cook: Yes! It is a long story, but I'll try my best to be brief! In 2016, I was a few months out of college, and I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life. After a short time, the Lord spoke very clearly to me and told me to get 1,000 churches together. He had been prepping my heart for this call for several years without me knowing. So I said yes, gathered several college aged friends together who were crazy about Jesus, and we started planning. We named this gathering "Adoration 2017" and met with the president of East Tennessee State University and he was thrilled to host it for us on campus. We called thousands of churches during the summer of 2017 in an attempt to gather 1,000 representatives from 1,000 different churches together. On October 1st, 2017 on the campus of ETSU we brought together around 320 churches, about 3,500 people, and 24 different denominations to worship Jesus, pray, and work together to restore Appalachia from drug abuse. It was the most phenomenal thing I've ever witnessed. However, we did not achieve what the Lord called me to do. So after several months of praying, we started a non-profit ministry called Adoration Life. Our mission statement eventually became, Help The Church Heal The Home in the Name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Strong families, rooted in Christ, are the backbone of the Church and the solution to the drug epidemic in Appalachia, the abortion crises, poverty, and so many other terrible realities facing the world. We went on to form a worship band called, Adoration Music made up of several different churches and worship leaders from Knoxville to Atlanta to the Tri-Cities. We held several more large, citywide worship and prayer gatherings. We led prayer in downtown Johnson City for 200 days straight with over 60 churches along with other initiatives aimed at helping churches and families. Now, Adoration Life is traveling to 12 different universities to recruit 12 different college-age men to disciple, and send back to their campuses to disciple more men. Our goal is to disciple 6 million college men in 4 years through the power of the Holy Spirit. After that, or sometime in the future, we will attempt to gather 1,000 churches again.
Thomas: It was definitely organic. I never thought Adoration Life would last longer than 2017, and had no intention of starting a worship band with it. However, God sovereignly brought together our band in 2017 for the first Adoration event, and it just so happened that one of the Directors for the Will Graham Celebrations decided to attend. He liked our worship team so much that he hired us to lead worship at a Will Graham Celebration in 2018. And that was the moment that solidified us as a band. After that, several other churches and ministries started asking us to lead worship for them. Eventually we started writing our own music together and released our first single in 2020, an EP in 2022, and our first album in 2023. And earlier this month we tracked a 10 song, live-worship record.
Thomas: The album title came from one of our worship leaders, Brielle Nichole. She wrote the song Floor of Heaven with her husband, and the band decided that it portrayed the heart of the album the most accurately. So together we chose to make it the title of the album. This is what Brielle wrote about the genesis of "Floor of Heaven" and I think it's so good! "Through the height on the pandemic, I remember feeling this hopelessness sweep over my friends and my family. Conversations of so many who were at their end - overwhelmed and desperate for it to be over. Having lost so much, and lacking the strength to go on - what comes after this? When i began writing this song, I was weary from this world and asking God to teach me what it looked like to bring Heaven to earth. Not only that, but to do it in such a way that would open up even our very darkest and last attempts at living and join them together with the vastness and abundance of God's power and hope and joy. I prayed that He would show me that it's exactly when we come against the end of ourselves, where we are most intimately met by Him; Extending our earthly ceiling into the very floor of a great and mysterious and perfect Heaven. STAYING and SEEKING - and knowing He is still victorious. And leaning into the thin places to fill our cups again. For it is Christ who prepares a way where there is not one, and only with Him are we able to truly move forward. And for many of us, that is our testimony, thank God! The Floor of Heaven is a promise that MY end is not THE END. With Jesus, there is always more to come."
Thomas: I completely agree with you. The lyrics in the bridge are really powerful. I think the above answer gives a little insight to this question. I can't speak directly for Brielle, but I've been close friends with her for several years and I know some of her story. She has walked through a lot at her age. She's currently 24 years old and comes from an amazing family with several siblings. They are all very musical and their parents started a music academy in Johnson City, TN where they all learned to sing, dance, and play music. However, when Brielle started college, her mom walked away from their family to marry a man in another state. It was devastating on her and her siblings. She was a part of my college ministry at the time. It was difficult. And she's endured many painful nights and questions on the road to healing with her family. They were all very vibrant and well known in our city. And I know when she wrote, "Whether the pain ceases or not, I will move forward. Whether the Lord mends it or not, I will move forward. Whether I'm healed from this or not, I will move forward. Whether the thorn is there or not, make us prepared to still move forward" that it was related in part to her mother leaving her family.
Thomas: We wanted the record to be honest and organic. We tried not to overthink things too much and to just play what God had given us. If it felt good and the band liked it, we went for it! I tried to give the team as much freedom as possible to be themselves. Ron Rawls was our producer, and he and I worked very closely together to make all of the songs be the best as they could be. Ron is amazing and what he brought to the record was priceless. He was very good about letting the band make a lot of the production decisions too. We all really relied on one another and trusted one another if there was a difference of opinion. It was great! As you know, working with several songwriters, artists, vocalists, leaders, and musicians all on the same project can be really challenging if you're not careful. But having a united team was and is very important to us. And letting everyone feel like they had real ownership of the songs. Relationships over products drives our band. However, we still strive be excellent in all that we do. I'm not sure if this answers your questions or not, but we didn't really have a goal of being "like" or being "different" than any of the other big artists. We just wanted to play music for the Lord and make it the best we could! Having fun was also a big goal that influenced the production. We have around ten band members, and knowing each of them so well, I can see how the album highlights the unique aspects of each of our personalities, artistry, and musical background throughout the listening duration at different moments.
Thomas: Both! Adoration Life drives Adoration Music and Adoration Music drives Adoration Life. They both serve one another well. We will continue to lead worship wherever the Lord allows us to. Local, national, and international, if the Lord sends us. I think God may be opening doors on college campuses around the nation. But we will see how that turns out! Our plan is to keep getting better, and to write more songs that glorify Jesus and build up His Church.
Thomas: They can visit adorationlife.com to learn more about the ministry, they can email us at hello[at]adorationlife.com and they can donate to help keep us going! We are a registered 501c3 non-profit ministry. We are looking for 1,000 people to partner with us at $20 a month to help us disciple college students and create more worship music. Tax-deductible donations can be made on our website!
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