The group involved with the worship band: (L-R) Top: Zach May (17), Chance Tutolo (17), Lindsay Smith (17), Bethany Hughes (27), Landon Prejean (17), Jack Humphrey (17), Nash Orena (16), Andy Tye (16); Bottom: Andrew O’Neal (16), Lexi Allen (17), Marissa Winner (15), Anna Grace Ballard (14), Sophee Wyatt (14), Meghan Epperson (12), Caden Rounsavall (14), Ethan Reddin (13), Allie Edwards (15). SCAN HERE TO LISTEN TO WILDEST PRAISE ON SPOTIFY
will graduate from high school this year. Before going their separate ways to college and beyond, they challenged themselves to complete this project. “We don’t take for granted the students we have and the gifts and anointing God has given them,” said Bethany. They began work on the album in January 2022. Two weeks after their first discussion, Jack and Bethany finished writing their first song, “Worthy.” According to Bethany, “We really wanted the first song we finished writing to just be about Jesus and who He is. So many songs today focus on us rather than God; we wanted our first song to be about worshiping Him for who He is and not what He can do for us.” When Bethany was struggling and couldn’t find the words she was looking for, she would reach out to Jack for help. “I would bounce a lot of ideas off him as he does with me when he’s writing. Wildest Praise wouldn’t have been able to be completed without him and his writing.” One song, “Nothing Better,” holds a very special place in Bethany’s heart as it comes out of a place of heartache for the youth she leads. “There was a season,” she shared, “when it seemed like every conversation I would have with a student was about their struggles with anxiety, depression, and fear. I would do and say all I could as a youth leader to them. I would
give them scripture and speak and pray over their struggles, but I knew I wasn’t the one who could heal them from what they were going through. Only Jesus could.” As she prayed for these students, her heart continued to break for them. From this, she wrote “Nothing Better.” It is a love letter from the perspective of Jesus and is based on Psalm 27:8. The message she wanted to get across to the students was that there is nothing better than Jesus and spending time with Him. “Jesus longs for every one of us to spend time with Him and just talk to Him… There is nothing better than Jesus, and nothing will ever satisfy your heart like Jesus can.” The team recorded everything live in COTR’s main sanctuary, and Zach edited the songs. Zach also helped get the songs copyrighted and submitted the album to the music streaming services Apple Music and Spotify. The album, Wildest Praise , was released in September 2022, and the collaborative process took nine months. It is normal to walk into Powerhouse on a Wednesday night and find more than 100 young people expressing the delight C.S. Lewis was referring to, led by teenagers, in true worship. As Bethany emphasized, “It’s not about the lights, or the crowd, or the stage. We’ve come together to simply worship Jesus,” and there really is nothing better.
Texarkana Magazine cover photo by Matt Cornelius
COMMUNITY & CULTURE
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