The annual Eden awards are back! A chance to celebrate the best of the Christian publishing industry from the past year.
Next up in the nominations are the media categories. These are the albums, movies, actors, and musicians who turned their talents to creating memorable and moving expressions of encounters with God.
And so, is a heady mix of excitement and reminiscence, here are the very best media resources of the past year for the Eden Awards 2018.
A relatively new figure in worship, the Bethel-signed Cory Asbury penned what has fast become an anthem for Christians the world over. His song Reckless Love showed the fatherly God that millions needed, desired and reached out to hold, only to find God always reaching right back.
Ever since his 2011 album Furious, Jeremy Riddle has been a mainstay of contemporary worship, blending real emotions with a pure passion for drawing closer to God. His new album, More, is the first solo project in 7 years and left me hoping that the next gap won't be so very long.
Obviously, Matt Redman had to be here. Imagining modern worship without Matt Redman is like imagining movies with Steven Spielberg: both men brought scope, heart and world-reaching messages through their medium. And in the past year we’ve been treated to an all-new release (Glory Song) from Matt, so of course, there was never not going to be a Matt Redman nomination here.
Hitting the big notes of worship, Kim Walker-Smith really knocked it out of the park with her recent release On My Side. The lead single Throne Room was a powerful pursuit towards God’s glory that caught up listeners in its behemoth spirit and sound.
The principle voice of Hillsong worship, last year saw a new solo release from Darlene Zschech. Here I Am Send Me was a heart-filled call to follow God wherever you go. The pure heart and infinite hope of the album connected with everyone looking for direction and purpose from God.
In equal parts musically luscious and poignant, The Garden by Kari Jobe fostered emotional healing for listeners broken by life. Jobe’s worthy follow-up to Majestic laid bare her own griefs and troubles in a way that truly connected with the pain of listeners, and help point them to a God who heals and comforts.
Phatfish vocalist Lou Fellingham is a true champion of homegrown talent in the UK worship scene, and her new live album This Changes Everything was a powerful moment of worship recorded for all to hear. It’s a powerful demonstration of what surrender through worship can be.
Another Bethel alumni, Kristene DiMarco’s first solo album through Bethel gave her the freedom to explore different ways of expressing admiration for God through music. Dancing between sounds and genres, the album was a glittering collection of vibrant songs that earnestly sought God’s presence.
The living embodiment of ‘the more the merrier’, it can be hard to figure out which of the two Rend Collective possess: more members or more merriment. Either way, the release of Good News, the group firmly established themselves as purveyors of hope and joy for Christians the world over.
Like a signpost to the future of worship, every time Worship Central release an album you can be sure to hear the songs contained to start to appear in worship meetings throughout the months ahead. With an all-star guest list, Mercy Road is a powerful release which moved the group from the stage to the studio.
There is a special place set aside in the hearts of millions for the Gaither Gospel group. Their good-time Gospel sound never dulls with the years, but forever remains a source of joy for listeners. They demonstrably remind listeners that fun and praise are in no way mutually exclusive.
Returning to their musical roots, Third Day have created an album as rugged and authentic as any other southern-sounding release. Driven by a rough-around-the-edges country sound, the lead single Revival is pure music, pure worship, and a pure message of seeking God alone.
Dropping their biggest release to date, the Hillsong Worship offshoot created an album of scope, spectacle and Wonder. With ethereal synths and a heavenly gaze, Wonder was a huge album that calls for us to approach creation and creator with a renewed sense of awe and worship.
A reminder of what a year it’s been for fans of contemporary Christian music. The latest entry in the WOW series of CDs goes from strength to strength as songs like What a Beautiful Name to Throne Room to Glorious Day show the sheer variety on offer in worship today.
The biggest and the best, this year’s Worship Anthems release shows the sheer scope and scale of corporate worship from events of all sizes and ages. Recorded at festivals, concerts and events, this collection demonstrated the beating heart of live worship.
Celebrating the best of British Live Worship, there is warmth and heart to these recordings of today’s favourite worship songs. They are a reminder of the talent and passion not only of those on stage but also off, as great crowds come together to worship one God.
A thing of nostalgia for many, Rend Collective saw the mixtape as the perfect embodiment of a career championing the homemade expressions of worship that they are known for. For long-time fans or new listeners, this mixtape is a joyous romp through the back catalogue of Rend Collective.
Where most compilations seek to bring you the newest, freshest songs of worship, this collections dares to do something different. Looking back through the history of hymns, this collection of Hymnal music shows the timelessness that comes from a pure heart reaching out to God through song.
Recorded at Soul Survivor, The Promise shows the next generation leaning into experiencing God through worship, and features new songs that are sure to be anthems of faith for years to come. A highlight is Beth Croft’s atmospheric version of Build My Life which builds in power and presence.
Led by Chris Quilala, Kim Walker-Smith and Brian & Katie Torlwalt, Love Has a Name was a firm Eden favourite of 2017. With anthemic songs like Halls of Heaven and the powerful Flood the Earth, the album was an album build upon a remarkable sound and heart.
Few live albums are as epic as Passion’s Worthy of Your Name. Recorded at Passion’s 2017 Global gathering, and backed up by a 50,000-strong crowd of voices raised in praise, Worthy of Your Name is soaked in an atmosphere of worship and power.
Any new release from Matt Redman is cause for celebration in the world of Christian music, and Glory Song is no exception. Simultaneously anthemic and personal, the album brings in new gospel choirs, Grammy-winning songwriters and Gospel legends to create an album filled with heart and power.
Hillsong UNITED’s latest release is a musical reminder of that sense of awe we can so easily forget. Their biggest and best album to date, Wonder proves Hillsong UNITED to be on equal standing with their Hillsong peers and hase shown the creativity and freedom which worship music can afford.
Identifying a need to fight the pervasive negativity that surrounds people today, Rend Collective return with a shout of God’s hope. Good News is Rend Collective back one form. Songs like Resurrection Day, Rescuer, and Hillsong Y&F cross-over Marching On all celebrate the unending hand of God over the world, as well as recognising our own need of compassion for those around us.
A musical manifestation of finding your happy place, this collection of songs about seeking God’s presence shows Kristene DiMarco at her most creative, passionate, and heartfelt. From glimmering synths to gospel heart, the album was an inspiring and surprising listen for 2017.
Song of The Year
As much a moment of reflection as a song, there is something about the song the reaches out to God through all of creation. Painting creation in vibrant imagery, and celebrating the limitlessness of God, the song calls on Christians to sing with the same voice as the wonders of the heavens.
Easily becoming the next Oceans (Where Feet May Fall), Reckless Love speaks to both the incomprehensible reaches of God’s love, as well the father-like heart of God for those he created. Popping up on more and more releases in Christian music, the song perfectly captures the heart of Christians the world over and is a powerfully affecting song to-boot.
Ready your shouts of ‘Hey!’ for this, the lead single from Rend Collective’s latest album, Good News. Mixing old-timey piano with resounding shouts of hope and joy, the song is infectious like a heartfelt smile and just as reassuring.
A cross-over no one saw coming, Marching On is the high-energy collaboration between Hillsong Y&F and Rend Collective that mixes the homespun voice of Rend singer Chris Llewellyn and the pop-fused music that Y&F is known and loved for. Just trying staying still for this one. I dare you.
By far the most loved and sung track from Matt Redman’s latest release, Redemption Ground features up-and-coming singer/songwriter Madison Cunningham (whose music is definitely worth seeking out). Melodic and moving, the song is an other-worldly track which escorts you to a place of worship that feels a million miles from day-to-day life.
Letting the covers speak for themselves, the nominees for the album cover of the year each display the kinds of creativity that can only be matched by the CDs they adorn. The albums nominated for the cover of the year are:
Film of the Year
Instrumental in helping countless people come to faith, the Case For Christ was the story of Lee Strobel’s journalistic uncovering of the evidence for Jesus. Turning the tropes of the investigative thriller into a story of finding the ultimate truth, the film proved to be a sleeper hit in Christian cinema.
Of course, we couldn’t not mention The Shack. A book that opened up faith for millions, the story of Mack moving through grief and into a life-changing encounter with God was a film like no other. Told with memorable images and heartbreaking performances from Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, The Shack shows the very best the Christian cinema has to offer.
Nothing quite hits home like a true story, and this one is no exception. Telling of one rural community’s encounter with a group of Burmese farmers, All Saints is a story of transformation and hope. It is a reminder that God works in unexpected ways, and that God can do more than you could possibly expect or predict.
Walking the tricky highwire that is the multi-narrative movie (think movies like the Oscar-winning Crash, Babel, or 21 Grams) is perilous and can go easily wrong. Fortunately, Do You Believe? Walks that line with purpose and confidence. Telling of various strangers’ encounters with Christ, the film explores the need for God in our lives.
None of the above-mentioned films would be where they are without the captivation performances of their remarkable casts. Here are the nominations for this 2018’s Eden Awards Actor of the year:
Sean Astin for his role in Do You Believe?
Octavia Spencer for her role in The Shack
Sam Worthington for his role in The Shack
Andrew Garfield for his roles in Silence and Hacksaw Ridge
April 5th, 2018 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon