Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

JOY! Magazine Highlights Restore

Below is an article from JOY Magazine's February 2011 issue!

Rebuilding the Ancient Ruins – Mark Tedder

Mark Tedder is no stranger to big visions: his last project, ‘The Door’, was the first live worship recording in China’s history and a powerful statement of Christianity’s enduring strength under Communist oppression.  After leaving Beijing, Mark and his wife Carrie took a month off to travel in Europe, and found themselves inspired by the Christian heritage that surrounded them - a sleeping giant ready to be re-awakened.

“We weren’t looking to catch a new vision,” Mark remembers, “We just wanted to sit in cafes and regroup after our amazing experiences in Beijing.  But being a follower of Christ, you can’t really get away from what God wants to stick in your heart!”  Visiting the stunning cathedrals of Europe, Mark and Carrie were awestruck by the art and architecture, and saddened by a seeming lack of connection with the modern world.  “There didn’t seem to be a lot of activity going on in these huge structures that at one time had been created for the glory of God, and it broke our hearts.”  Moved by a sense of Europe's spiritual desperation and the call of Isaiah 58:12 to 'restore the ancient walls', the Tedders caught a new vision after all, and the 'Restore' project was born.

A Strong Foundation
A prophetic call to Europe to return to God, 'Restore' was recorded in Lincoln, Lisieux (France), Prague and Florence at acoustic events in historic cathedrals.  For the musicians involved, the experience of worshipping in these historic buildings was humbling.  “It was a powerful reminder that we’re building on the faith of those that have gone before us," Mark explains.  "Scripture talks about one generation passing along to the next, and we were overwhelmed to the point of tears at times, knowing that we were simply a link in a very long chain."

Far from Hollywood’s fairytale image of Europe, ‘Restore’ is built on foundations laid during the Tedders’ twelve years living and ministering all over the continent.  In fact, it was their experiences of cross-cultural worship in Europe that led Mark and Carrie to form Worshiplanet, an international ministry dedicated to mobilising, equipping and networking local churches around the world.  “I think even back then, God was working on our hearts for the ‘Restore’ project,” Mark says.  “We had an appreciation of European cultures and we understood that God is a lover of diversity and He represents all nations, tribes and tongues.  I think it really helped us to go into ‘Restore’ with that perspective of God, to come alongside people and listen to their stories, and try to get a local expression of worship in each country we recorded.” 

Hope for the Future

The resulting CD/DVD is a vibrant fusion of songs, poems, spoken worship and beautiful imagery proclaiming God’s faithful sovereignty over the European nations.  Opening with the energetic ‘I Believe’, based on the apostles’ creed, the record incorporates a Czech string quartet and shades of jazz from Italy, as well as spontaneous demonstrations of worship such as a French pastor’s passionate prophetic prayer over Europe.  The title track’s plea, “Show your power in this land, bring salvation,’ expresses a strong spirit of intercession for a continent that has wandered far from its creator.

“God is not restricted by frontiers,” Mark reminds us.  “A lot of people are saying that south of the equator there’s a powerful work of God, but north of the equator it’s almost like He’s given up.  But I really think God’s not restricted by that.  This project wasn’t about a local church having a ‘knees up’ worship gig: it’s a shout out to Europeans to come back to Jesus; it’s a restoration call.”  To those of us disillusioned with our culture’s abandonment of its faith, Mark issues a challenge: “There’s so much to do that sometimes churches don’t act because they don’t know where to shoot the arrow.  We can become so focused on other people that we lose sight of who we are and what we’re called to do, but God hasn’t pivoted from His position.  There’s still hope for Europe, for this continent that God so loves.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Christian Marketplace Article

Restore – reaching out to the nations 
Clem Jackson met with Mark and Carrie Tedder to discover how coffee and cathedrals helped to shape their latest project, this time in EuropeMark and Carrie Tedder are well known in the UK through their regular visits here, leading worship at Spring Harvest and other events with the Worshiplanet Band. In 2006 they moved to Beijing for two years, one outcome of which was the first ever live Christian worship recording in China, ‘The Door’.
Their latest album, ‘Restore’ sees them turning their gaze from China to Europe, a continent they lived in for 15 years, and when I met them both recently, on their way back to Colorado, I began by asking how the ‘Restore’ project had come about.
Mark says, “When Carrie and I left China in 2008 we took a very much-needed sabbatical in Europe. Carrie had this great idea to call it ‘Cathedrals and Coffee’, and that’s exactly what we did; we visited Cathedrals and we drank coffee – lots!”
Having started in London (at St Paul’s) they went to Paris. “We took communion on a Sunday in Notre Dame and God really met with us there, it was really powerful. That was a significant event for us – it really started the sabbatical.”
They travelled across Europe, “wanting to just really take in the art, take in the beauty, take in these ancient foundations that had been built centuries ago and do no more than just rest and refuel, after China” said Mark. “Of course what often happens, when you say you’re going to stop and turn everything off, is that God sometimes speaks through those moments.” Mark says they both felt God was hearing the burden once again “for these lonely, empty churches we saw as we travelled through Europe.
“In many of the churches we visited you could sense there was no life – there used to be - at one time there would have been hundreds of people worshipping there. But many of these churches were just shells now. So that’s where it all began.”
Having completed a project within the fastest growing Christian church in the world (China) I wondered whether the call to Europe, with the fastest declining church, was ordained?
I think it probably was,” said Carrie, “although there was a year’s gap between the time we left China and when Mark started writing for this project. The ‘Coffee and Cathedrals’ sabbatical took about a year to germinate some new things in our experience as artists and then we felt that the Lord was really saying something here and the whole Isaiah 58 thing came out.”
The ‘Restore’ album was recorded in four cathedral churches across Europe so how difficult was it to organise and what sort of challenges did they face? Carrie responded, “To get into cathedrals and do a modern, evangelical, praise and worship recording in ancient spaces is not an easy task. Then we got a phone call from a friend who got married in Lincoln Cathedral who said, ‘I can get you in there’. Next was someone who was friends with the Catholic Bishop in Lisieux, and then our violin player, who is a judge, said, “I think I can get you into a church in central Prague”. So really, the cathedrals came to us. The administration of it all was a nightmare but getting the venues less so.”
With a project recorded in cathedrals one might expect that the venues would be packed to the rafters with people. But watching the DVD it is very clear that there weren’t many people at each event. It was all very intimate and small-scale. But was there some symbolism in the fact that these big spaces were so sparsely filled? Carrie says that they deliberately chose not to advertise these events, “Part of our heart was to capture the space which means you don’t need the big ‘happy-clappy’, loud audience.” She added that it was a big challenge for the team to play on the tour and for Mark to lead in such a massive space, “it was just really off-putting and daunting at times.”
Worship leaders who will spend Sundays leading worship for just 20 or 30 people will, I think be encouraged by watching the DVD. It’s good to see that there is no reduction of quality or effort despite the numbers. And it is much more of an acoustic album and I wondered what the acoustic challenges in such big empty spaces?
Mark said, “Well Trevor Michael produced it; he’s a brilliant producer, he understands space. We asked him if it was possible to do it and he said, ‘Yeh, I think I can separate out the instruments and get it tight to where we can get a good post-production mix’. I think he did a great job.” He added that they set up a front of house system every time they played because they didn’t know how many people would show up. “Italy was probably our biggest crowd at about 80, but part of it all is that it reflected, in many ways too, the church.”
Mark said that on their recent tour to Italy and France, which they hope to follow up through the ‘Restore’ project, they saw so many churches almost empty. “There was a church we played in France with just 12 people there. But there’s a powerful energy cell happening in terms of a group of people who are determined to see their city changed and restored. When you see people like that who are living out Isaiah 58 it just encourages your spirit to know that the church isn’t dead in Europe.
“A big part of this project is a cry for those who have wandered from the faith; it’s a call back to God”, says Mark. “The songs, the spoken worship pieces and the prayers on this project are largely for those people. I think when prodigals see people in the church reaching out to the hungry, the poor and the needy, then they will say, ‘maybe the church does have something to offer’.”
A theme of the album is reaching out to the nations with deep Christian roots and cathedrals in Europe have centuries of history. As well as monuments to worship they are great centres of art and also cost a fortune to keep running. But given their recent experience, do the Tedders think there a place for these massive spaces in Christian worship today?
“In our eyes of faith in this project we see cathedrals filled again”, responds Mark. “I don’t think God’s given up on Europe, he hasn’t moved from establishing his Kingdom in Europe. Carrie and I see, very strongly, revival coming to Europe and these great spaced filled with worshippers again.” He says that there is too much going on in the small expressions of worship they saw during the tour for it not to be so. “‘Restore’ is just one little drop in a big ocean of what’s going on.”
One of the songs on the album, “Dwelling Place”, talks about God dwelling in us - not in buildings, but how did the song come about? Mark says, “Well God says, in Revelation 21, ‘My dwelling place is now with man’. When I wrote the song I really felt that a lot of people in Europe see God as a dwelling place, as a building. A lot of it is the lack of teaching and understanding of who God is; some people think that that God lives in the church building but actually God lives in the heart of man. We wanted to give a very personal, very accessible, image of God through that song.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

God TV Feedback

Just watched the broadcast!
So great and so significant!
Praise God for voices of restoration.