[INTERVIEW] Red Rocks Worship, 'we want to make heaven more crowded'

Stemming from the praise and worship of Red Rocks Church, a multi-site congregation on the outskirts of Denver, Red Rocks Worship is a collective existing to pursue the church’s mission to “make heaven more crowded.”

“Whenever we are approaching songwriting, or really through whatever project, we’re almost always going to start from the place of the local church,” says Jake Espy, the worship ministry leader at Red Rocks’ Arvada campus. “We try to approach the song by [asking], what is our congregation going through, and where are they at? What do they need to hear, and what do we feel the heartbeat behind our church is this moment?”

While the collective’s Rooftops EP was released somewhat on a whim after a Christmas TV special, the sophomore EP Into The Light is far more intentional, shares worship team ministry leader Tyler Roberts: “With Into the Light, I think the difference is when we set out this year we said, ‘Hey, we really want to record an EP. We want to do this project. We want to get it into the hands of our church and our congregation.’ So, in doing that, we put together something that really represents the church sound of Red Rocks Worship. It’s more rocky. It’s more produced. It’s more lively. Honestly, it’s a better representation of what you would hear at one of our campuses on the weekend.”

Reaching No. 1 on the iTunes Christian & Gospel chart upon release, Into the Light is also a signpost for the Red Rocks congregation, prompting them to a lifestyle of authentic worship.

“It’s a huge step for our team, because now we’re saying, ‘At Red Rocks we’re going to do our original songs a lot,’” explains Roberts. “Those songs that God pushed on our heart, we’re going to push those to our congregation. We’re going to get those in the hands of our people, so they can listen to them Monday through Saturday. So it’s kind of a new day for us.”

Espy believes their role as worship leaders is to meet the Red Rocks congregation where it’s at. “What we’re trying to do is create an atmosphere when the average person, who may have walked away from church or maybe walked away for 10 or 15 years, can walk in and not have this big wall put up. So it’s music that’s accessible, but also does have a spiritual depth to it,” he explains.

Roberts mirrors Espy’s sentiment, noting that it comes from the band’s experience of God’s faithfulness: “As far as why we do what we do, I think it’s that we’ve seen what God has done in our own lives. How faithful He has been. What He’s brought us out of. Worshipers — that’s what we are.”

The collaboration between members of the band stems from their love of corporate worship.
“I really believe a hundred percent that [a revival] is waiting to take place. I think a lot of that is happening through the worship music.” — Tyler Roberts
The collective formed as a way to bring together the campuses of Red Rocks Church and facilitate community.

“What we want to try to accomplish is … some intentional time, when we can get our full church together. Whether you’re from the community or whichever campus, let’s gather as a big family, and let’s just pray there,” shares Espy. “We kind of utilize those worship nights just as a time of trying to cast vision, trying to encourage our church in certain things. Maybe we’re feeling like the Lord is saying, ‘Hey, this is a time that we really need to be leaning into prayer, or we need to be leaning into leadership, or certain values or ideas.’”

Red Rocks Worship is committed to the local church. As a team and as individuals, they seek to be authentic, and their success hinges upon that element.

“We’re always going to make a commitment to being as authentic as we possibly can. So, that’s a word you hear a lot around Red Rocks … authenticity. That kind of bolsters our conversations with our congregates, but also [comes] from our music,” Espy says. “The truth is if God is not blessing it, if God isn’t the foundation of any ministry, it really doesn’t matter the talent level that you have or how great of songs you write. It just doesn’t matter because ultimately it’s God’s deal. It’s His will. It’s His church. It’s His kingdom. I would say, first and foremost, I just think God has blessed us.”

Red Rocks Worship knows the power of unity. The members see the potential for the same redemptive power to enter churches all over the country. Roberts sees a nation on the brink of a revival.

“I really believe a hundred percent that [a revival] is waiting to take place,” Roberts says. “I think a lot of that is happening through the worship music — not one songwriter, not a handful of worship leaders. I think [it’s] praise and worship all together. Because it’s in praise and worship that you lay your agenda down.”

United as a band, united as church. Red Rocks Worship simply loves to worship. And its prayer is that Into The Light compels you to do the same.

“[Worship] unifies the body of Christ. At the end of the day that’s what we are here for anyways, right?” asks Roberts. “We were made in His image to bring Him glory. So, there is nothing better than when we all do that together.”