“Worship is not a fad. It’s a genuine movement of God to bring us closer to Him.” --Mac Powell
It’s a statement that rings true with Atlanta rockers Third Day because they’ve witnessed it first-hand—not once, but over and over again. Since the band’s beginnings, Third Day has unabashedly and seamlessly weaved elements of worship into its musical repertoire, both in the studio and on stage in front of hundreds of thousands each year. It’s in those live settings, especially over the course of the past few years, that Third Day has watched how worship has impacted and transformed a new generation.
It’s that same inspiration that fueled the band’s newest project, Offerings II: All I Have To Give, the follow-up to the original Offerings album that garnered critical acclaim and struck a cord with audiences everywhere. Third Day released Offerings—A Worship Album in 2000, at the insistence of fans. A collection of both new tunes and familiar worship songs that Third Day faithful had embraced during the group’s live shows, Offerings unexpectedly took on a life of its own, massively expanding Third Day’s audience and becoming the group’s best-selling album to date, nearing platinum status.
“I don’t think we ever expected the kind of response the first Offerings record received,” says vocalist Mac Powell. “We knew it was something our fans had asked for, but we had no idea it would be so well-received by such a large number of people.”
Fueled by the success of Offerings, Third Day’s ever-widening audience was not disappointed when the band released its critically-acclaimed Come Together in late 2001, and followed it with a series of record-breaking tours in 2002, performing in front of more than 750,000 people. In addition to both a spring and fall leg of the hugely successful “Come Together” tour, Third Day partnered with Grammy-winning artist Michael W. Smith and author/speaker Max Lucado for the much-publicized “Come Together and Worship” tour.
“This is a season where we’re focusing more than ever on worship music,” Powell says. “God’s given us some new ideas and we want to share them. I think we’ve come to realize over the past few years out on the road that there’s just something really special about the worship experience. When it comes to worship, we just feel like God is not finished with us yet, and that’s why we wanted to make another Offerings record.”
And so they did. When the time came to work on the next Third Day record, Powell and fellow band members Tai Anderson (bass), Mark Lee (guitar), David Carr (drums) and Brad Avery (guitar) chose to come back and continue a Third Day tradition—creating worship music that inspires, motivates and encourages a deeper relationship with God. It’s something this band has always been about, and always will be.
“We’ve seen how people are passionate about worship,” Anderson adds. “It’s a tool that draws our attention toward God and motivates us. There’s a song on the album called ‘Give,’ and a line that says, ‘Give all you have to give.’ This is sort of our ‘offering’ to our fans.”
Like the first Offerings record, now destined to be a worship classic, Offerings II: All I Have To Give is a cohesive mix of six live favorites recorded this past year on the “Come Together” tour, and six new studio cuts cleverly crafted in a brief eight days. The group once again joined producer Monroe Jones and found a comfortable setting in Atlanta’s famed Southern Tracks studio, which has been the birthplace of recordings by Bruce Springsteen (The Rising), Train, Stone Temple Pilots, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith and The Black Crows, to name just a few.
The studio sessions produced five brand new worship songs including the anthemic “May Your Wonders Never Cease,” the singable “Anything,” a Psalm-like tune called “The Everlasting,” the worshipful “Offering,” and a rock-flavored tribute to worship music titled “Sing a Song.”
“The most exciting thing to me about a Third Day worship record is that we’re providing something new,” Powell shares. “I love that the church has figured out this worship thing is not a fad—that it’s something people are genuinely drawn to. Now I think it’s up to us as artists to hear from God those new songs. If worship is going to be relevant and fresh, there has to be new songs, and we’ve got to think of that freshness not only in our lyrics and music, but also in our presentation. Hopefully we’ve been able to stretch the boundaries of what people feel are their definitions of worship.”
In the spirit of the first Offerings record which included covers of Bob Dylan’s “Saved” and the crowd-pleasing “These Thousand Hills,” originally recorded by Jacob’s Trouble, this time around Third Day chose to cover another of their favorite worship songs, “You Are So Good to Me,” by Waterdeep.
“I remember thinking this song was really special when I first heard it on Waterdeep’s album,” Powell explains. “We were inspired by it and feel like there’s a need for more people to hear it. It’s a great worship song and I’m excited about getting it out to a broader audience.”
Offerings II: All I Have To Give also includes stirring live renditions of such Third Day favorites as “Show Me Your Glory” and “Nothing Compares,” both from the group’s Come Together project; the City On a Hill classic, “God of Wonders;” “Take My Life,” a concert favorite from the band’s debut album; and the crowd-pleasing, live medley featuring “Give,” “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” U2’s “With or Without You” and “Your Love Oh Lord.” Another album highlight is Third Day’s moving rendition of the late Rich Mullins classic, “Creed,” a song that has special meaning to the band.
“Of all the Rich Mullins songs, that’s the one we really wanted to do,” Carr shares. “We originally performed it at a Rich Mullins tribute in Nashville while he was still alive. It was right as Third Day was signed to a record deal, so we were the new kids on the block and very honored to be there at a night that honored Rich. He had been a huge influence on us. We tried to capture this song a few years ago in the studio, but we never felt like it was quite right so we shelved it for a while. We just decided to bring it back into our live set on tour last year, and now we’re really excited it’s finally going to be on this album.”
“Offerings” is more than just a theme for Third Day, it’s a way of life. In 2002, the band raised more than $230,000 through it’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity and committed to build eight Habitat houses across the United States and overseas.
“I think people look to us to set an example,” says Lee. “So we’ve tried to take the spotlight that’s been placed on us and share it by pointing it toward other worthy causes. Habitat for Humanity has been the perfect fit for us because they represent people from all different backgrounds and that was important to us—to see the church come together with all different denominations, different racial and cultural backgrounds and different economic backgrounds. There’s a real sense of community and I think that’s what God intended. Hopefully we can use the vehicle of Third Day to help encourage others to get involved.”
“We’re called to be disciples and to be good stewards of what God has given us,” Carr says. “When we started out as a band we didn’t have some big agenda. We just wanted to make music together and let people see how God has touched our lives and our hearts.”
Anderson agrees. “I think this album is our way of offering something back to God and to our audience. It’s kind of the beginning of a new chapter for us and we want to take the opportunity music gives us to shift the focus toward God each night on stage. Sometimes it’s great to just step aside and watch Him show up. That’s when amazing things start to happen.”