That We Would Live a Cross-Shaped Life

2022 Winter Songwriter Retreat | February 28- March 1 | Tim Timmons House

Once a year, songwriters and musicians who attend Journey Church are invited to a retreat focused on writing songs specifically to serve our community. 

It was the morning of February 28th and Pastor Mike Erre asked us “What is worship?”  The room was quiet.  Admittedly, we didn’t know there would be a Q&A after the message Mike had just shared. Each of us was eager to split into groups, get into rooms, and write songs with each other, but he asked us again. “Guys, what is worship?”  At that moment, Mike was challenging us to think beyond the typical definition of worship because he wanted us to go into the next few days writing songs with the intention of truly writing for our community. Writing with the purpose of painting a picture that answers the question “What does the heart of Journey point toward?” 

The question Mike asked us shaped the way we wrote songs over the next 48 hours.  We let go of gimmicks and commercial quality and stopped asking ourselves “could this song fit on the radio?” after every verse.  Instead, we allowed ourselves to simply write what is true, and the songs that were shared at the end of each night showcased that. It was an incredibly powerful thing to be a part of.  

Our hope for you, as a member of our community, is that you would know our true heart of worship at Journey: to be inclusive, to write what is true of the gospel, to celebrate as we figure out how to live in the Upside Down Kingdom, and to shift our praise and worship from a “me” mentality to a “we” mentality. There is so much power in singing together, in lifting our voices to say we believe in you, God. We believe you are worthy of our praise, honor, attention, and reverence. Especially in moments of joy and celebration, but also when it feels hard to sing.  When our world is broken.  When we cry out with grief and questions.  

If you’ve been in gatherings since March, you’ve likely heard and sang along to the song Cross-Shaped Life. This song was written by Ethan Hulse, Chris Cleveland, and Tedd T on night one of the retreat.  So many of these lyrics embody what we want to declare as a community. Just as the beginning of the song says:

“We don’t need another gathering

We don’t need another song to sing 

We need a transformation, heart shaping love 

We don’t need another sermon preached 

Empty religion or theology 

We need arms that reach the way the savior does, so…

May our hearts look more like mercy 

And our love like sacrifice 

May we follow the way of Jesus 

That we would live a cross-shaped life” 

What does a Cross-Shaped Life look like to you? And how can we look at worship in an Upside-Down Kingdom kind of way to better understand each other and our hearts within our community at Journey?

Listen To the Full Song Here

“Cross-Shaped Life” by Ethan Hulse, Chris Cleveland, and Tedd T