Rock ‘n’ soul: Youth band is turning up the volume on worship music

MARYSVILLE — Revolution Youth Ministries is putting the youth back in worship music.

If you were to ask worship leaders Michael Morales and Danielle Williams about their sound, they would say it’s a little indie, a little alternative, and all about Jesus.

While most church youth groups feature acoustic guitar or piano-led worship time, this youth group band is tuning their electric guitars and synthesizers.

And they are turning the sound up.

Way, way up.

“We sometimes get complaints about how loud our music gets,” said Morales, 17. “But we’re from a generation that lives by the saying, ‘If it’s too loud, you’re too old.’”

Morales plays guitar and sings alongside keyboardist Williams, 17. The pair have a sound reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys or Death Cab for Cutie, though they say they are also heavily influenced by Christian music greats such as Hillsong United.

Regardless of where their sound comes from, it still resonates in a Christian atmosphere, says youth pastor Josh Webb.

“Anytime you communicate the Gospel to a culture in their language, such as music, they respond,” Webb said. “It’s more evangelistic to our community because teens identify with it, because it’s reflective.”

So far the response to the Revolution Youth Church band and its distinct sound has been a positive one, as teens continue to show up Wednesday nights no only to hear the preaching, but also to rock out.

It’s hard not to notice the new kids, bedecked with studded rocker belts and multiple piercings, with hair that might frighten the casual observer. But then again, reaching out to these kids was the point in the first place.

“We are here for the Christian kids of course, but we have to reach out to all the other kids as well,” Webb said. “It’s about staying relevant to the community, and if we don’t get into their culture, they leave.”

While the faces of the teens attending service may have changed along with the style of the music, the message has remained the same. So far, parents have been encouraging, especially after checking out the band itself.

“The response from the church and parents has been favorable for the most part,” Webb said. “We put the words for the songs on PowerPoint for the kids to sing along to, so the parents can also come in and see what we are doing and that we are playing songs that are reflective of Christ.”

Williams is even trying her hand at adapting hymns with a modern sound.

“I want to redo ‘In Christ Alone,’” Williams said. “Hymns work because they are more wordy, and because they have a deeper meaning.”

As for any success that the Revolution Youth Church may be experiencing, Webb gives credit to Morales and Williams.

“It’s working because Michael and Danielle’s music is more reflective of the youth culture here in Marysville,” Webb said. “If our songs talk about who Christ is, then others will really understand the motivations of Jesus and what he can do in their lives.”

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