Passion’s latest album, I’ve Witnessed It, came out earlier this year, The 14-track project, recorded live in Texas and Georgia at the annual Passion conferences, includes songs by Brandon Lake, Crowder, Cody Carnes and more. The record became a way to celebrate Passion’s 25-plus years, while also looking towards the future as well.
“I’ve Witnessed It really comes from the Passion movement,” Passion member Melodie Malone tells Everything Nash. “Passion started in ’97, as a movement for college students with our pastor, Louie Giglio and his wife, Shelley Giglio. They had this vision to help college students understand, ‘Why am I here on earth? What is my purpose here?’ Because that’s kind of a time in life when you’re asking all those questions.
“They wanted to help people know, ‘I am made to know God and to make Him known,'” she continues. “And so, every year we get college students together, usually at the beginning of the year to help them understand that. … And every year we end up releasing a live album that we record at the arena with the students.”
Malone sings on the album’s title track, which she wrote with Austin Davis and Andrew Holt, inspired by theologian Eugene Peterson, and his frequent use of the word “witness.”
“This song really is that saying that in the lows and in the highs and in times where I looked at my circumstances and I didn’t know if I could believe God was good, I looked to the cross,” Malone explains. “I knew that Jesus came, that He died so that I could have a relationship with Him. And so I can trust that He is always working for my good and for his story. I’ve seen it, I have stories and ways that I’ve seen God come through.”
“There’s really not a time where people can deny your experience, can deny your story,” she adds. “And so that song shifts at the end to say, ‘I’m gonna tell everybody what I found, what I’ve seen, and who I know about to be.'”
Passion might have started as a way to help young adults, but their popularity has soared in recent years, with their videos garnering millions and millions of views on social media. Malone acknowledges it can be a delicate balance to watch their fanbase increase, while remaining true to Passion’s original purpose and calling.
“A stage does weird things,” Malone admits. “For some reason, you have that elevation, and you stand up there and people think, ‘Oh, they have it all together,’ or ‘They’re different than I am.’ And really and truly we are all the same. We are all humans trying to figure out what this life is about. We’re all people trying to love God and love people at the end of the day. And that just happens to be my lane; that happens to be the giftings that God has given me. But I think it’s a weird thing when you really start to think about it in the Christian industry.
“And when we start talking about worship as an industry, it’s very dangerous because ultimately that’s my purpose,” she adds. “I have to be really careful with it. And I have to constantly take it back to Jesus every day.”
Malone’s job might include leading worship in front of thousands of people, and having millions of people watch her videos, but she insists she is no different than anyone who is listening to Passion’s music.
“I think a lot of my story is dealing and learning to deal with expectations that I had, ways I thought my life would turn out, and dealing with the disappointment of that,” Malone maintains. “And what do I do with that? How do I keep desire alive and keep hope alive? Because if I deny desire, and if I deny that hope is possible, then I’m denying ultimately that God can do a miracle, and I don’t want to do that. But living in hope is painful sometimes because it means that I don’t have something that I desire. And I believe that God puts desires in our heart. That’s part of who we are, how He made us.”
Find I’ve Witnessed It and all of Passion’s music at PassionMusic.com.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Merge PR