They say that pretty much all of our stories in the west - from fairy tales to soap operas - have something to do with the struggle between the generations. And you only need take a brief look at the news to see that this isn’t just confined to stories. All those real-time revolutions and rebellions have exploded as younger generations with new ideals have decided to take on the establishment.
But for the four worship leaders and writers at the core of Elim Sound - Sam Blake, Stephen Gibson, Joel Pridmore and Ian Yates - the process of bringing change to a century-old denomination is one marked by peace not protest, with the aim to serve rather than destroy. It’s a healthier process that is leading to a powerful set of songs.
For Sam, Stephen, Joel and Ian - who all spent part of their childhood or teenage years within the UK Pentecostal Elim churches - their shared history has brought them closer together. When they first met it was clear that they had much in common, particularly a common sense of loyalty to their church and hope that the sound of Elim could once again unite, inspire and bring change.
Having met at an event in 2009, the four began talking about their experiences and hopes for the future. ‘We shared our heart,’ says Ian. ‘Something had been stirring within us all for years - a passion to write songs and for something to happen within Elim. I didn’t have anyone I could hang out with, encourage or share with. But when we met we found it in each other. And we all had the same feeling that there was so much talent within the movement but no real mechanism to help share it with others.’
In time these conversations and those songs led to the four of them gaining a clear sense of what God might be calling them to: the writing of new songs that would play their part in the greater story of Elim’s worship; the birth of a new sound and the start of a new chapter in the story of Elim worship. They wanted to write songs for the whole church, songs that would inspire the worshipper, strengthen the local church and help the movement experience greater unity and direction through their sung worship.
Two albums on, and they’re doing just that.