Lifelong Worship is the worship & music ministry of WholeLife Church in Orlando, Florida, and they have several releases of original music. The Haystack spoke to Richard Hickam, Executive Producer for the group, in the wake of the release of their latest single, Sing a new Song to learn more about their ministry, and their future plans.
Haystack: Tell us about how Lifelong Worship got started.
Richard Hickam: We had a pretty active music ministry at Florida Hospital Church (now WholeLife Church). Our senior pastor decided to run a sermon series on an acronym for CREATION. We decided to write some original music for this series and then record a few that we thought were the best. We felt that the name of our church as a band was a bit wordy. We looked at our mission statement, “Loving people into a lifelong relationship with Jesus,” and liked that word lifelong.
HS: On your website, you have included this statement: “We serve a multi-generational, multi-ethnic congregation in Trinitarian worship.” Can you walk us through why each of these factors is so important to your ministry?
RH: We like to reach deep into our congregation and community for musical inspiration. Our approach is a bit unique in that I don’t know that we have a specific “sound.” We want to pursue excellence and connect with people in a variety of genres. People these days listen to all kinds of music; it’s a bit of the shotgun approach. Adding Trinitarian means that we believe in all those forms of the Godhead, and we want to make sure that we acknowledge this in our music.
HS: Over the course of Lifelong Worship’s discography, there has been quite a substantial range of music styles being explored. Creatively speaking, how does the group decide what’s next stylistically, what to include or not?
RH: This far in our journey, we have created around themes for worship or partnered with AdventHealth for specific events. Our approach has been more organic than a conscious decision around styles.
HS: How flexible or fixed is “band membership” in Lifelong Worship? Is there a core group of members or creators who drive the vision, or is it something that everyone in your church is involved with?
RH: The band membership is pretty flexible. We have a loose core of a musical team, but we take the rather unusual approach of changing things up regularly. The vision stems from leadership on the team, with input welcomed.
HS: Tell us about the creative process behind Sing A New Song, the newest single. How was the song conceived, and what was the production process like - especially in light of concerns around COVID?
RH: In 2019, I was preaching a sermon series (doesn’t happen often) and this particular sermon was based around creativity and Psalm 98. I asked one of our songwriters, Ron Ryan (a local physician), to write a song on that theme. He did so, it was nice, but it ended there for a while. During quarantine in 2020, I got to thinking that it would be great to “Sing a New Song” when this season had passed, and we started working on the production process. We worked with Ron’s cousin Roger Ryan; a grammy nominated Nashville producer. Our vocalist, Natrickie Louissaint, was a student at Oakwood, and she would drive up to Nashville to record. We relied on Roger for most of the parts due to the pandemic. The funny (not so funny) part was that as we scheduled the release, Covid flared back up again. Regardless, we can sing a new song to God daily for who he is and what he has done.
HS: With numerous worship groups springing up in Adventism (Anthem Worship, Contagious Faith, etc.), do you think that Lifelong Worship will ever look to eventually start touring around, or is the goal to stay more locally grounded? And in any case, what are some of your plans for the foreseeable future?
Richard Hickam: That is a great question. We had this conversation last week. We are beginning our next album which will finally focus on songs for our local church to sing. Our goal is to do some touring (largely in Florida), particularly to do workshops at churches and help them establish a stronger music and worship ministry. Our initial thought is five new P&W-style songs and five classic hymns with new praise choruses attached so that we can meet most people where they are at. We will see how it all plays out. First things first, I have some fundraising to do to get this thing rolling!
HS: What final thoughts would you like to share with whoever is reading this?
RH: I would share that God calls us to do big and small things for his Kingdom. However, these things happen by putting one foot in front of the other, taking risks, becoming uncomfortable, and working with people in places you can’t envision right now. At times, this is also a lonely road, and you wonder if anyone cares because you aren’t Elevation or Maverick City. The truth is that we are living out the gospel commission by participating in kingdom work and that people are being impacted for God’s glory. Get out there and make a joyful noise (might get loud). Blessings!
Everyday Heroes EP:
Lifelong Worship Debut Album: