by Lindsay Williams
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” —Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)
Like the seasons, our lives tend to evolve in a never-ending pattern of equal parts: rain and sun. It’s the way we grow, both physically and spiritually. Just as winter turns to spring, our lives shift from cold and dark to bright and beautiful once again. For Bethel Music, life’s seasons—both good and bad—tend to be a recurring theme. The collective of creatives based out of Bethel Church in Redding, California, share in each other’s experiences as they drink deeply from the well of community forged from decades of worshipping and living life together. Over the course of the past several years, the worship leaders who call Bethel home have walked through seasons of loss, grief, joy and victory, not only as a body of believers but as friends who feel like family. Turning those seasons into songs, the group created the blueprint for their latest live recording, Have It All.
“When you’re friends with all these guys, and you know what they’ve walked through…and then a song comes out of that season, there’s always a backstory to it,” says worship leader Brian Johnson. “We all had similar things happen—whether good or bad—and this album goes to show that we all made it through the journey and we have something to show for it in the form of a song.”
A power-packed two-disc set, Have It All is the first live recording at Bethel Church since 2012’s For The Sake of The World. The 14-track album captures the passionate worship at Bethel’s weekend services, and features songs led by names quickly becoming synonymous with modern worship, including Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook, William Matthews, Jonathan Helser, Paul and Hannah McClure, Kalley Heiligenthal, Josh Baldwin and Bethel newcomers Leeland and Cory Asbury.
“For the worship experience, there’s nothing more powerful than a group of people singing the same songs to the same God,” Brian contends. “Plus, there’s some spontaneous moments that happened as a result of that atmosphere, and it’s hard to capture that in the studio if you’re not doing a live recording.”
The diverse mix of worship leaders is intentional. If there’s one thing Bethel is associated with, it’s community, and Have It All showcases the individual talents of the members that make up the Bethel Collective. It’s also a chance to highlight the assorted facets of God’s character as they’re revealed through each worship leader’s unique style.
“Everything we do is ‘co’… We co-write; we co-lead. There’s a community element that’s a part of our team here locally; but also on the album, it gives the feeling of that community,” Brian explains. “I think everyone has specific strengths, and the songs they lead really capture their specific anointing and gifts. So we tried to do that on this album—not to just highlight each artist, but also expose people to God in a new way.”
Have It All introduces listeners to Leeland and Cory Asbury for the first time, yet longtime worship enthusiasts know that while both are new to the Bethel family, neither artist is new to the worship movement at large. “We’ve been friends with these guys for years and years, so probably to the world, they would be newer faces, but these guys are legends,” Jenn Johnson affirms. “They’ve been leading and connected to the local church for years. So even though we’re bringing them in as ‘different and new,’ they’ve been doing what they’re doing, in similar settings like we have, for a long time.”
The songs that comprise Have It All have already had a transformational effect on the Bethel congregation, and the church’s worship leaders get a front row seat to seeing God move.
“It’s really beautiful to watch people sing something they don’t even believe yet, but you can watch it transform everything in their life as they sing it in faith,” shares Jenn, Brian’s wife and fellow worship leader. “And then you also watch people who sing it because they’ve come through the storm and they’re claiming, ‘Yes, God, You are faithful.’ So it’s really cool to watch people in any season of life sing declarations of who God is…on the other side of it, in the victory.”
If a series of seasons forms the backdrop for the songs, surrender is the heartbeat of the entire album. The title track serves as the backbone for the compilation. The song unexpectedly materialized during a weekly service. Brian and Jenn were sitting on the front row of the auditorium soaking in the morning’s message, and during the altar call, Brian began to spontaneously sing out words of submission.
“It was one of the few moments I wasn’t trying to write a song, and it just came out. Then I realized, ‘Oh, this is a song,’” Brian admits. “It sums up the last season of surrendering to Him in all things.”
Bethel also hopes the fresh collection of songs inspire believers to abandon lives of half-hearted, lukewarm Christianity. “I think God’s calling the Church to be all in—nothing hidden, completely surrendered, going for it, and sold out,” Jenn says. “I think it’s a message that’s woven throughout this whole album, but I think it’s a theme that weaves throughout all of our songs and definitely all of our lives.”
“There’s a next level of surrender to God on this album,” Brian adds. “True repentance is a life that’s completely changed and submitted to Him, and the best songs come when it’s an honest song that actually starts in a place in the heart and a posture of worship.”
From the white flag anthem of “Have It All” to the hymn-like reverence of “Greatness of Your Glory” to the celebratory wonder of “Heaven Come”—a deeply personal cut penned after Jenn’s great-grandmother passed away—the album breathes new life into the lifeless places and plants seeds of truth deep within the heart and soul of the believer. Much like the woman who broke her jar of perfume over Jesus’ feet, giving Him the best she had, Bethel Music extends Have It All as their own fragrant offering to Him.
“It’s a picture of our lives,” Jenn explains, “not just in the grander things, but in the little details of our lives—our attitudes, how we do things, and how we love people. All of that is worship; our lifestyle is worship.”
Each song on Have It All serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the midst of every season, and Brian and Jenn look back on each one with a sense of gratitude and awe, reflecting on the lessons learned and the growth experienced. “Part of it is just learning, no matter what season’s going on, to find the joy in it. I think maturity happens when you can keep your joy and love no matter what you’re feeling,” Brian observes, adding, “It’s kind of like prophesying to other people that there’s a song that’s waiting for you at the end of your season.”
“Even in your season,” Jenn adds. “We’re just really invested in people in our church… I think the fact that we really love each other and we love what God’s doing on the planet, it really comes out in what we’re doing because it’s real.”
As the songs on Have It All are released out into the world, Bethel’s deepest desire is for the message to outweigh the person leading the song. “At the end of the day, I think it’s important that we’re pointing people to Him instead of even the songs or our movement,” Brian says. “I think it’s really important that…it wouldn’t just end with people looking at us, but that we’d be like signs to Him… If that happened, that would be enough for me, because then we’d feel like we did the work we’re called to do with this album.”