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Alvin Slaughter Thinks Outside The Box

  • 2000 4 Apr
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Alvin Slaughter Thinks Outside The Box
by Elisabeth Farrell

It's not the usual confession of a worship leader, but sometimes {{Alvin Slaughter}} hesitates to give his albums to non-Christians.

"There are times I've felt uncomfortable handing my CDs to people," Slaughter says, explaining that most praise and worship music, including his own, is designed to appeal to people inside churches - not to those on the outside looking in.

That's something he wanted to change when he and Paul Mills co-produced Rain Down for Hosanna! Music which releases in mid-April. In fact, Slaughter had three goals for the project.

"First, I've always had a passion to cross racial and denominational barriers," Slaughter says. So his new album's "thinking-outside-the-box" creativity includes recording at four very different locations where music and worship styles vary. Slaughter and producer Paul Mills utilized multi-ethnic and multi-denominational choirs in upstate New York and the Caribbean island of Trinidad. They also recorded portions of the album with the choir of Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and with a variety of top soloists and back-up vocalists in Nashville, Tenn.

Slaughter's second goal for the album was to include songs and music styles that would "catch the attention of non-church people who are looking for spiritual fulfillment."

He wanted a sound that would carry outside the walls of the church and reach the unreached - "those who wouldn't be caught dead buying a CD in a Christian bookstore," he says. "I wanted to take lyrical content that would be non-compromising, and marry it to musical content that people who don't go to church could enjoy."

Slaughter believes that Christian artists don't have to water down lyrics to reach those who don't know the Lord. "They need to see and hear the passion we have for Jesus," he explains. "People who are hungry and thirsty will gravitate toward that and be fulfilled."

Finally, Slaughter wanted a recording that would remind people of God's goodness with songs that lead them into the presence of the Lord.

"Everyone is at a different point in their walk with God," he says. "For some, worship is easy; others are in a dry place. We need to remind people that there will be times in our lives when it seems as if God is not moving. Then suddenly God will show up, the lights will come on, and the situation will change."

To us, Slaughter says, it will seem like a "suddenly" moment, yet God has been working in our lives all the time.

That's the inspiration for one of Slaughter's songs on Rain Down, called Suddenly. The title comes from Acts chapter 2 when 120 of Jesus' disciples were in the upper room after His resurrection. To them, it must have seemed as if the world had ended, Slaughter explains, but the Word says that "suddenly" the Holy Spirit showed up - and everything changed.

The song is a personal statement of faith and testimony for Slaughter, who prayed for years for his son, Sean, to be healed of scoliosis. Yet as much as Slaughter prayed, his son wasn't healed. To compound matters, Slaughter's business was failing, he had no health insurance for his family, and their house was about to be foreclosed.

"I knew God wanted me to go into ministry, but I felt like the biggest loser in the world," he remembers. "One Sunday morning, God told me to lay hands on my son and pray for him. I was challenged because what if he still wasn't healed?"

Slaughter also felt the Lord issue another challenge: To give himself 100% to God. "I thought I had, but I was always more concerned about what people thought of me. I had such low self-esteem that I wanted to please everyone. But God said, 'I'm the One you should please. I'm the One who knows your destiny."

On that Sunday morning, Slaughter gave himself to God 100% -- and he prayed for his son's healing one more time.

"God didn't heal my son that day," he says, "but four days later Sean came running in to tell me that he was doing his homework and felt his back crack. He was totally healed! I prayed on Sunday, and four days later he was 'suddenly' healed. Sean went on to become a football wide receiver and play college ball."

Slaughter wrote Suddenly as a reminder that there will be times when we don't understand the circumstances we're in, or why God allows them to continue, but we have to make a decision to bless God anyway. The Lord is faithful, and a "suddenly" moment will come, when we least expect it.

"Suddenly God will do not just what you asked for," Slaughter says, "but exceedingly abundantly above what you could even imagine."

Even the song itself was a "suddenly" experience. "I labored over this song," Slaughter explains. "I struggled for a year to write it. I had the first verse, but when I wrote the second, it sounded trite."

Finally, on the morning that Slaughter was to record the song, God gave him the second verse.

For {{Alvin Slaughter}}, the song and the album are a statement of his love for Jesus. "Everything I touched without Him failed," he says. "Everything with Him and through Him succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. My prayer is that this album will bless people and minister to them."

Written by Elisabeth Farrell. Farrell writes regularly for Christian publications such as Charisma, Worldwide Challenge, and others. She is co-author of China: The Hidden Miracle, and served as editor of The Dream Is Alive.