Worship duo Shane & Shane has been making music for more than 15 years, and now they’re cooking up something new called The Worship Initiative. Our own Jason Hickerson recently had the chance to speak with Shane Everett about it.
How did you two meet and form Shane & Shane?
I was a business and speech-communications major in college at Texas A&M. I was a fairly new believer. Since I had become a believer, I had started playing four chords once a week to lead some songs and prayer for a handful of my friends. In college it continued. Every Saturday night we would open our apartment to have a “worship night.”
Background: music wasn’t my thing. Like, AT ALL. I grew up with either a shovel, a rock, or a football in my hand at all times. Zero music. Zero art. Zero God. I was raised Catholic, so I knew how to try to get God to like me, but no idea how to genuinely talk to Him, much less sing to Him. No choir. No bands. I din’t know “Stairway to Heaven,” or any other song request I would get when I picked up my $40 guitar.
So there I am . . . just playing those four chords, singing the same 20 songs over and over. My roommates were putting on a Christian music festival in a field and they asked me to sing at it . . . “Uhh . . . sing WHAT?! ‘Our God Is an Awesome God?’ Over and over and over?” Reluctantly, I did. And yes, I did sing “Our God Is an Awesome God,” with “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and all! To play at that concert, I needed a guitar that actually plugged in. My roommates knew a guy named Shane that had one. In a roundabout way, that’s how it all began.
Over the last 15 years, how has your sound, style, and songwriting evolved?
I showed my wife (who is a phenomenal singer/songwriter) my first record one time, and she literally fell on the floor laughing. Really. I don’t think I have done much of anything intentionally over the years to find a style or a sound, but if I listen to that first record 15 years ago, there is, well, less screaming and strumming.
I love God more today than I did back then. I, by His grace, care less about what people think. I love His Word more than I did then. These things change everything! I have less to say. More to TELL. The Gospel is richer and closer today.
What role does Bible study play in writing music? Give us a peek behind the songwriting curtain.
Most music is written MINUS the Bible (sadly enough, even in “Christian” music) and I guess IF we want to tell the TRUTH, or sing the TRUTH, about life, God, who we are, why we are here, where we are going, why we are sad, how to be happy, the way to life, salvation, the way to hell, damnation, hope, peace, rest, finally being satisfied, what we are all looking for . . . if we want TRUTH, we go to the words of TRUTH—we go to the Bible.
A peek: “Who do I have in heaven but you? The earth has NOTHING I DESIRE but You” (Psalm 73, emphasis mine).
Wow. Really? Nothing? Lord, come on . . . nothing? What do I desire? Ohhh yeah. ouch. What is it that I DON’T desire? Ahh! Have mercy Lord Jesus! I want to yearn for YOU! And ONLY YOU.
You are the Lord. You know my frame (Psalm 139). You knew about this moment (Acts 17)!
You are the God who made the world and everything in it. Being Lord of heaven and earth, he does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24–28)
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
How do you choose songs and prepare to lead worship?
There are a few things I’m constantly asking myself about corporate worship:
- How do I best help people think about God? Not me, the guitar player’s skinny jeans, screens, kick drum in the chest, etc.—how to put hearts on HIM.
- How do I best facilitate authentic conversation with God?
- How I use music to clearly articulate the Gospel?
When I choose songs for corporate worship, I’m thinking about three things:
- The scriptural theme of the night
- The song’s key (this plays into transitions between songs)
- Where I feel our people are at
I like to spend some time praying and searching the Scriptures before we are a part of a gathering. I carve out a couple hours to do that the day that I lead. I would say, however, that most preparation comes from abiding in the Vine. Daily time in His Word. Meditating on it day and night. Praying continually. I am not good at these things, but they yield fruit. On and off a stage . . .
What is the goal of The Worship Initiative, and how did this idea form?
The idea has morphed over years of pouring into musicians, worship leaders, and songwriters. What would it be like to have a recourse that could daily equip them for a life of ministry? Daily equip US?
Goal: to help a community (worship leaders, musicians, songwriters) see the riches of Christ. To help them see their calling as an ambassador of Christ. To equip them in their craft. To push them in to the Word. To recourse them to fight well.
The Kickstarter video is very intense—do you do your own stunts?
I am STILL in pain.
Visit TheWorshipInitiative.com to learn more about what Shane & Shane are building. We’re excited about it, and we think you will be too.