Singer/songwriter and veteran worship leader Aaron Williams has just released his full-length debut, The Hope of Christ. The Worship Initiative release was produced by Williams and Alan Thomas (joan) and features 10 pop-driven live worship selections extolling the boundless grace, love and rest offered by the Savior.
Williams co-penned each track, with additional songwriting contributions from Shane Barnard, Jason Ingram, Jon Egan and Benji Cowart, among others. Highlights of The Hope of Christ include lead single "Walk By Faith," an anthem of devotion to Jesus; album opener "Enter In," celebrating our unfettered access to the Father; the Shane & Shane-featured title-cut, a confident proclamation of the heart of the Gospel; and "Abide" (feat. Aaron Keyes), a melodic ballad already resonating with worshipers around the world.
Q: Aaron, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: tell us about yourself and how you became a worship leader.
It's great to talk with you! When I was a kid, my youth pastor saw some raw talent in me, which I honestly didn't even recognize at that point in my life. I was attending church regularly, but I wasn't following Jesus intentionally. It was through worship and serving in my youth group that I came to know and follow Jesus. Once that happened, I threw myself into involvement with my youth group, which turned into leading the band each week. Shortly thereafter, I was leading worship in our adult services, and that was such a formative experience for me. In many ways, worship leading has been one of the greatest gifts in my personal walk with Jesus because it's given me a consistent way to serve the Church.
Q: How did you come to work with The Worship Initiative in the releasing of your new album?
A: I released a song called "Abide" in February of 2021 and it became the connection point between us. The Worship Initiative reached out and asked if they could include it on a record they were releasing, which was such an honor. Those initial conversations eventually led to our partnership. I agreed to join the team as an artist and move our family to Dallas to be part of building a community of songwriters and worship leaders. The Hope of Christ is my first offering as an artist on the team, and I so enjoyed the process of working alongside The Worship Initiative. It's been a total dream.
Q: How has the writing and the recording of these songs impacted your own faith?
Creating this project has impacted me deeply. Creative work of any kind has a way of revealing what's inside a person. At times, the process can help us give voice to things we haven't yet verbalized. The songs on this project all came from my own story. As we collected and recorded them, I began to see themes in my own life more clearly. I also began to see a clearer picture of hope in the midst of life's struggles, which is where the title of the project came from.
Q: What were some of the highlights for you in the making of this album?
The people that I collaborated with on writing the songs were highlights for sure. Each co-writer and the relationships I have with them is special. Then the band-they're some of my best friends in the world. I can't say enough about the week we spent in the studio together; I'll hold onto those memories for a long time. But maybe the greatest highlight was on the night that we captured the live recording. I invited about 60 friends to join us. They were all people I love and have been in community with over the last 10 years. Gathering in a room to record an album with people I've done life with was just really special to me, and I think it led to some moments of worship that are truly special.
Q: Tell us more about the inspiration behind your latest single "No Height No Depth."
"No Height No Depth" is a vulnerable song. I wrote it after nearly losing a friend to mental health struggles in late 2021. I wanted to try and write a corporate worship song for the moments in life that are hard and painful. The verses are some of the most honest and vulnerable I've ever written. Yet, the chorus invites us to rest in the love of God in those moments, as it highlights Romans 8:39, which says, "no height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ." My prayer for the song is that people will connect with the honesty and authenticity of the verses and be drawn further into the love of God that the chorus and bridge lead us to.
Q: How do you wish these songs would impact the lives of your listeners and the church?
I would hope these songs give people voice for their own journey with the Lord. I've done my best to write them in a way that speaks to real life and always leads us back to trust in Jesus. I would hope someone would say that the songs on this project helped them deepen their relationship with Jesus in the everyday moments of life.