(Interview) Dr. Matthew Stevenson III Discusses Creating Hymns From the Future With the New All Nations Music Album ‘Come Alive’
Dr. Matthew Stevenson III is the leader of one of the fastest-growing urban charismatic movements in the country. As the founder and senior pastor of All Nations Worship Assembly (ANWA), he has grown the Chicago-based church into one church in several locations across America and Canada.
Now, he has branched out even more with the formation of All Nations Music (ANM), a new musical group that describes itself as “an urban contemporary worship ensemble comprised of worship leaders from All Nations Worship Assembly.” Joining with RCA Inspiration, the group released its debut album, Come Alive, which quickly shot up the charts.
It debuted #1 on the Current Gospel Albums Chart, and #2 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums Chart, making it the top debut for a new album on Billboard’s chart after Kanye West’s Jesus is King album. The seven-track, genre-crossing album has a song for everyone, including the uplifting lead single, “Bless Your Name,” featuring Chandler Moore.
As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, Come Alive is a timely project for people looking for hope and encouragement. For Stevenson, given our current global crises, the timing of this album seems divine.
“I don’t know if I want to call it irony or just divine timing because we started recording music about two years ago,” Stevenson stated in an interview with Ambo TV. “We didn’t know that the timing or the moment that we would release it would be what it is now and everything that’s going on now.”
To create the album, the ANWA pastor rented an Airbnb for his team to gather remotely and work on the project. Within the church’s movement, they operate under the concept called “collective influence,” which means they pull together all the resources and talent from those involved.
During their retreat, Stevenson’s call to action was clear and profound; he wanted them to create “hymns from the future.”
“I went to the team and I told them, quote, ‘I want to release hymns from the future,’” Stevenson said. “So what will it look like if our grandchildren are alive; what do they refer to as a hymn? What do they know? Let’s create some songs that have some nostalgia, but also some anchoring in who we are and what we believe.”
The global visionary’s desire for hymns from the future appears to be actualizing already with the release of “Yahweh,” much to the surprise of Stevenson and ANM. He believed the upbeat song “Carry Us Through” would be the most popular, but it has been the slower worship song that has grabbed the hearts of listeners.
“Believe it or not, our idea was that “Yahweh” was going to be the track that’s going to do the least and it’s doing the most! “Yahweh” is everywhere right now,” admitted Stevenson. “I think, if I’m honest, I think the Lord is breathing on it because it’s His name.
Prior to Come Alive, “Yahweh” had been a popular song among ANWA congregations after Stevenson brought it back from a service in Canada nearly three years ago.
Reflecting on his ultimate desire for the album, Stevenson states that he wants people to say that Come Alive was “barrier-breaking.” Referring to the universality of Israel Houghton’s popular music, the pastor hopes that Come Alive will be received in a similar manner.
“It is my hope that Come Alive becomes a genesis of that, which is in the next ten years, we could strike out on “Yahweh” and people will know exactly what we are talking about, and find it, and grab ahold of it, and be anchored in it.”
To watch the complete interview, click on the video above. Come Alive is available now on all streaming platforms.
(Photo via screengrab)