In May 2022, over 100 people from 25 Malaysian churches came together in worship, singing only songs written and produced locally. The REVO Worship Project 2022 hopes to provide a visual example of a united Malaysian Church.
“The vision is revival and unity in the Body of Christ, and worship is the vehicle that can get us there,” says Pr Andy Yeoh, Acts Church associate pastor. Several leaders and pastors including himself, have been holding a dream in their hearts for around 30 years to see worship as a way of bringing churches together.
The REVO Worship Project 2022 has four EPs (Extended Play) scheduled for release (EP 1 is out here) covering a total of 19 local songs led by Malaysian worship leaders.
REVO Worship Project 2022: 19 songs, 17 worship leaders, 25 churches, 116 Malaysians involved
The original idea behind this worship project was to simply get more churches to sing locally-produced worship songs over the course of a year, and see how the shift has impacted worship in the local church.
“So I went around and spoke to pastors and worship leaders, asking them to consider giving local worship songs more airtime. Things can’t happen until we start singing it in church, in our conferences or in combined events.”PR ANDY YEOH
While churches in Malaysia have started incorporating local songs into their praise and worship sets, it seemed a visual example of churches coming together as the Body of Christ could be helpful for others looking to get started. So Pr Andy, who spearheads the annual REVO Conference (a nationwide conference for youth leaders and workers) suggested that during the conference, only local worship songs will be played.
He reached out to other churches and leaders, inviting them to be a part of this project. Bound by God’s love and a call to worship as one, 25 churches from various denominations responded. A total of 19 songs were recorded over two nights of worship in May 2022, and a 30-year-old dream was birthed.
It’s time for the Malaysian church to break out of the ‘yours versus mine’ mindset, and to stop seeing ourselves as inferior to the West’s creative space
In Malaysia, getting churches together can be challenging at times. “Getting churches to worship together itself is a challenge; there seems to be blockers, insecurities and pushback, and this extends to even singing other churches’ songs,” Pr Andy shares.
He adds that Malaysian Christians also tend to feel that good worship songs mostly come from the West, a misplaced assumption he and others hope will be overcome.
“So basically, most people know there are Malaysians writing praise and worship songs, but the assumption is simply that they’re not good. It’s a mindset that needs to be broken because Malaysians have written and produced hundreds, if not thousands of great worship songs over the years. These are not amateur recordings done in one’s bedroom but properly recorded, mixed and produced.”
“God gave us these gifts of language and culture, and we’re supposed to be consumers only? Cannot be lah.”
It’s evident that Malaysia is brimming with creativity and talent, evidenced by the songs that have been written locally over the years.
But another point to consider is Malaysia’s strategic identity; Malaysians speak three of the world’s major languages (English, Chinese and Bahasa). According to Pr Andy, our identity is a clear indication that we aren’t meant to just be consumers but also producers of worship songs.
“We are blessed because we can write really well in English and these songs have the potential to bless the world, Mandarin/Chinese, Tamil and Bahasa. So I look at these facts — you mean God gave us these gifts of language and culture, and we’re supposed to be consumers only? Cannot be lah. How can a nation that can speak all these languages not bless the world?”
A total of 19 songs were selected for the project this year, sung in English and Bahasa Malaysia. All of the songs’ lyrics have been or are being translated into Chinese as well.
“The Malaysian Church isn’t where it could be, there’s some way to go. Unity is a huge part of it. We need a space to talk, exchange ideas for growth, and accept and give mature criticism to identify needs and advance the space. We need to find out what our churches need when it comes to worship: what songs are they looking for, what topics need to be addressed. If we start talking more, we’ll know how to bless one another,” Pr Andy says.
If we want to see revival and a united Malaysian Church, we need to move beyond differences and live as Christ has called us to
The vision is clear: revival and unity of the Malaysian Church. A more powerful word is to be one. We are the Body of Christ, and that means living radically.
It means reaching out beyond differences, loving one another regardless and just as in the book of Acts, building a community where no one has any needs. This includes the area of worship, Pr Andy states with fervour.
“Looking at the book of Acts, it’s radical lah. It really means what’s mine is yours. In South Korea during the pandemic, a megachurch covered the salaries of smaller churches’ pastoral teams, no strings attached. In Medan, a large church with a strong worship ministry sends out worship teams to smaller churches, just to help cover praise and worship in their services. The challenge is before us, to live like that.”
How can my church get involved in future worship projects?
When asked if there are any future plans, Pr Andy lets out a laugh. Nothing is set in stone, but there have been increasing requests and suggestions for this project to continue. If it does, he says, it may take a different form but the heart will remain the same.
“This project was just meant to be a visual reference, but after our launch, we’re considering the next steps through discussion and prayer. The goal remains the same: to bring churches together and for all of us to worship together. But how that will look, we don’t know yet.”
In the meantime, the team is inviting Malaysian churches to register their commitment to bringing more local songs into their worship sets over the course of a year and to engage in quarterly discussions on how to advance the local worship space. You can sign up here.
“In our services, conferences and combined events, let’s give Malaysian worship songs a chance. The vision is revival and unity, and worship can be the vehicle,” says Pr Andy.
REVO Worship Project 2022
EP.1 (released with the support of The Malaysia Blessing)
I Will Trust (feat. Josh Jesudasan) – watch here
Yesus Kristus (feat. Benjamin Rajendram) – watch here
I’m Gonna Sing + Freedom (feat. Juwita Suwito) – watch here
Water & Blood (feat. Tim Lim) – listen on Spotify here
EP.2 (coming soon)
Love Holds Me (feat. Keith Piong)
Love Is Alive (feat. Jayvine Ramma)
Not From The Hills (feat. Sulyn Ooi)
Love Like You Love (feat. Karmun Ooi)
EP.3 (coming soon)
Ignite (feat. Terry Yeow)
Hallelujah (feat. Kweeny Libutan)
Once Again (feat. Reuben Gen)
We Will Rise (feat. Kweeny Libutan, Reuben Gen)
Take Over (feat. Cynthia Kuek)
EP.4 (coming soon)
God Will Make A Way (feat. Neil Batiancila)
Undefeated King (feat. Jia Min)
Kurindukan Mu (feat. Matthew Rajendram, Clement Foo)
Great Is Your Faithfulness (feat. Andy Yeoh)
Dominion (feat. Andy Yeoh)
For more information on REVO Worship Project 2022 and to stay updated on new releases, check out Revolution’s Instagram page here.
All photos by Bryan Ong and Joshua Kok for REVO Worship Project 2022.