Putting words to God’s character traits is something all Christian creatives try to do. Books, poetry, songs, sermons – every expression provides a new way to explore and relish in the reality of the Creator.
The Faithful Project is a multi-platform collaboration between authors and songwriters that tells the stories of women throughout the Bible and the moments where God met with them and showed them His love and faithfulness.
With contributions from Amy Grant, Ellie Holcomb, Ann Voskamp, Trillia Newbell, Christy Nockels, Sandra McCracken and others, the project is a depiction of faith-based unity.
The full project includes an album, book, collection of art, photos and events designed to celebrate God’s kindness to women.
“This project was the brainchild of many people, and two that I knew well were Andrew Osenga, with Integrity Music, and Keely Scott with Compassion International,” Christian songstress Amy Grant told Baptist Press. “I’d talked to Andrew, asking him to include me in something that builds community. My experience of touring, my orbit, my age, all of those things had left me feeling a bit untethered from an artistic community. So when Andrew called to say he and a team of folks were putting together a writing retreat and asked I would like to be a part of it, what seemed as a quick invitation to something wound up becoming a project that has really become a great source of community and friendship and creativity.”
The group gathered multiple times to write the songs for the record FAITHFUL: Go and Speak, released April 30. Authors and songwriters worked together to find the best ways to represent the stories of women straight from scripture.
“I loved meeting together with other women to actually study the women from the Bible. I’ve never concentrated so much on the story of one woman for an entire day, to really bring her to life,” Grant said. “I feel like we gave our full attention to these women and we saw them differently and in a much more expansive way, and in seeing them, we all felt seen. Many of their stories were clearly tragic but they mattered. It made us look at the question, ‘What makes an important life?’ It helps you recalibrate what really matters.
“I’ve always loved stories. You can learn so much about a person when they tell a true story from their life. You learn their circumstances, their reaction to the circumstances. We can teach others so much about living from the stories of our lives. The Bible gives us opportunities to observe and glean from the experiences of the women over a period of more than a couple of thousand years, and that’s just incredible. To now say, ‘I’m a woman too and I face the unique opportunities and oppressions of my own culture as they did in the Bible,’ that continuum of being a woman in community is a shared experience.”
The writing groups simply sat down, Bibles open, and tried to capture the story before them, said Trillia Newbell, author of one chapter in the FAITHFUL book, released May 1.
For the entire group of contributors, one key motivating factor was to display the unity of the church, specifically women within the church, and give a focused, intentional piece of art to express scriptural truth, connecting women of God to each other.
“It displays, really, the body of Christ – all of our gifts, and all of the different things that we bring together,” Newbell said. “It’s a display of what Paul says, that we are a body of many parts, and I don’t know of anything like this where you get songwriters and authors together to write about the stories of women in the Bible in hopes to shine a light on God and glorify Jesus.”
By focusing on who Jesus is, specifically His faithfulness, the experience and understanding of God grows even more personal, Newbell said.
“For women in particular, we have seen so much unfaithfulness, whether it’s from leaders, or abuse – there’s just so much that we have endured, or that we have seen friends endure,” she said. “We want to be reminded that God is faithful, He is always faithful, He is enduring, He is persevering, and nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ Jesus.”
Each song on the album tells a story, like “A Woman,” recorded by Ellie Holcomb and Amy Grant, which tells the story of Mary Magdalene from the gospel accounts. And the book’s chapters, such as Newbell’s about Naomi from the book of Ruth, remind audiences that the accounts are real and give a bold picture of God meeting women right where they are, all throughout history.
“Really, it’s about an encounter with God and that He’s so merciful and mighty, but that He is willing to meet us in the mundane,” said Christy Nockels, songwriter and singer for the project. “I hope that women will be able to hear these stories and say ‘Oh, that’s right where I am, these lines are what I’m living right now.’ I hope it will cause these stories to come alive.”
Presented by Integrity Music, Compassion International, David C. Cook and Halogen Entertainment, the project will also benefit Compassion International, with the hope of seeing more children sponsored and a greater awareness to the global community of the church, said Nockels, who’s partnered with Compassion International for 25 years.
With the success of the initial single releases from the record, the FAITHFUL project has already picked up major momentum, as Amy Grant and Ellie Holcomb performed “A Woman,” on the third hour of the TODAY show March 30.
There was a live stream kick-off event for the project release May 1, with a tour to follow throughout the rest of the year. Tickets and more information can be found at faithfulproject.com.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tess Schoonhoven is a freelance writer in Nashville.)