Millions of Christians wouldn’t gather for “Raise a Hallelujah” without Joel Taylor, the producer and manager who helped transform Bethel Music from a worship ministry to a major label.
taylor announcement last week that he was stepping down “after 13 wonderful and challenging years” as CEO of Bethel Music. Meanwhile, the organization captivated Christian listeners with long, spontaneous worship sets and leveraged its digital brand with high-quality music videos.
“When we founded the label, we knew God was going to use us to create something special,” Taylor wrote on Instagram. “But God’s plan was even bigger than our dreams…and we had big dreams.
The launch of Bethel Music under Taylor in 2010 – when the label was co-founded by worship pastors Brian and Jenn Johnson – coincided with a notable increase in the popularity of worship music for consumption via radio, streaming and media. live performance.
“At the time, they didn’t broadcast worship on the radio, and they told us that we would never be on the radio. When we wanted to bring worship to the world on tour, we were told people wouldn’t welcome us,” Taylor wrote. “We had to listen to God and believe in our hearts that the ‘impossible’ could happen.”
Bethel Music began as an extension of the music ministry at the charismatic megachurch in Redding, California. Within the first two years, the budding label released cult hits like “Love Came Down” and “One Thing Remains.” From 2014 to present, his singles have consistently landed on the Christian charts, with six songs certified gold, two certified platinum (“It Is Well” and “No Longer Slaves”), and one certified double platinum (“Reckless Love”). . .
Bethel’s trajectory, in some ways, illustrates the changes in the Christian music industry over the past decade: worship music has become a mainstay of Christian radio, worship artists are in high demand for touring live arena and major cult bands are up for the Grammys.
During Taylor’s tenure at Bethel Music, the label released 15 cult albums, about half of which hit Billboard Top 10 Christian Albums and won 11 Dove Awards. Taylor himself co-wrote many of Bethel’s songs, including “Forever (We Sing Hallelujah)”, “Have It All”, and “Faithful to the End”.
The most famous, “Raise a Hallelujah” was written for Taylor’s family in 2019, as her son battled a life-threatening infection. the song storyand the miraculous healing of her son, is now part of her testimony.
“I’m often asked what it takes to start a record label. I don’t really know,” Taylor wrote Last year. “But one thing I’m sure of…it’s all about the songs. Almost everything else is just a distraction.
Bethel Music, an artist collective from Redding and beyond, embraces its charismatic roots in its performance. While some listeners have challenged the church’s theology, Bethel’s versions generally enjoy popularity across evangelicalism.
“Bethel Music Transformed the Worship Community”, Christian Artist and Worship Leader Martrell Harris said CT. “There is a level of freedom in their expression. They are expressive. They are prophetic.
Bethel Music’s immersive and emotional performance style often includes long moments of improvised or “spontaneous” worship, with songs lasting 10 minutes in live recordings.
Bethel Music’s YouTube channel has over 4 million subscribers. The channel is populated with hundreds of meticulously produced live performance videos, designed to provide an immersive experience of a recorded event.
Harris, whose master’s thesis examined Bethel Music’s use of online platforms, considers his mastery of broadcast media a major factor in their success. “Watching their video content,” Harris said, “you can get lost in an instant.”
Again, this sets new standards for worship. The style of Bethel’s videos and performances shaped the church production industry. Church creative teams can find resources that explain “how to get the ‘Bethel look,'” what cameras Bethel’s production teams use and how they approach production design.
When the 2020 pandemic forced churches to move their services online, Bethel’s investment in building a visual brand as well as a music brand made it a model for churches seeking to produce engaging and professional online worship.
“Bethel is just ahead of the game,” Harris said.
Bethel Music did not respond Christianity today request for comment on Taylor’s departure. He had been active as songwriterproducer and entrepreneur, but has not said publicly what his next professional steps will be.
According to an Instagram announcement, he and his family are moving from California, where he also co-owned a coffeein Franklin, Tennessee, outside of Nashville.
“A lot of people ask me what I’m going to do next,” Taylor wrote on Instagram. “I have been in deep search of God, his truth, his presence and his direction as I entered the second half of my life.”