Blake Flattley is a New York City based singer and songwriter. And, full disclosure, he is the Director of Worship and the Arts at our church, Our Saviour New York. Prior to arriving in New York City, Blake served as the lead singer of the Orange Effect as well as releasing albums under the name Graffiti Cathedral. Yet despite a deep faith and diverse music career Blake has never recorded an explicitly Christian album. Until now.
“There Will Be Rest” is Blake Flattley’s first album of sacred music—songs written for people to use in private or corporate worship. But don’t expect your typical Christian radio praise tune. Far from it.
“There Will Be Rest” is a mix of treasured, traditional hymns and brand new recordings that speak with great honesty about the human struggle with sin and great clarity about the hope that’s found solely in the completed work of Jesus Christ. The end result is something fresh for the Christian listener but familiar and accessible to all.
Matt Popovits sat down with Blake in New York City to discuss his new album, his hesitation to release a Christian record, and to get his take on what it means to effectively lead others in worship.
You’ve been in several bands, recorded several albums. But this is your first Christian album. And yet you’re not new to the Christian faith. What took you so long?
Before this I didn’t really have an interest in making a worship album. I really enjoy making music that expresses the vast experiences of the human existence and a lot of times that’s not necessarily what gets sung about on a Sunday morning. But after a while of playing different places and people asking to buy worship music I decided that I was going to record some, but I was going to do so in a way that expressed the hurt and the gratitude of humanity.
It sounds like there was resistance in you to making a Christian album. Is that fair to say?
Part of it is that there is this whole Christian subculture that many people just don’t want to be a part of. It becomes separate from the rest of the artistic community. You get pigeonholed into making music just for “these” people. And I want to make music that connects to all sorts of people. And so I tried to maintain that as I approached this record.
There is no shortage of Christian music on the market today. What do you hope to accomplish with this record that will make it stand out from what so many others are offering?
I think, like our ministry here in New York, I hope it provides a unique expression of Christianity. We come from a Lutheran heritage and we have a history of liturgy and this CD reflects that. I’ve incorporated a lot of hymnody and psalms that express both the brokenness of humanity while expressing the grace that has been bestowed on us.
The title of this album is, “There Will Be Rest.” What are you hinting at in those words?
It really came about from being here, in New York, and as I met people the common thread that was woven through their stories was that they were tired. They were living this life and felt exhausted and many believed it wasn’t going to get better. But what the title, and the track of the same name speak of, is the rest that is found for all in Christ.
You serve as the Director of Worship and the Arts at OSNY, our church here in New York City. What does effective worship leading look like?
When I lead I’m trying to get out of the way as much as possible. Ultimately the goal is to allow people to have an encounter with God and His Word, not blake and his opinions. A huge portion of that task is simply putting God’s Word in front of people in different ways, choosing scripture and songs that put the attention belongs, which is not on me but on Christ.
Matt Popovits serves as Lead Pastor of Our Saviour | New York (OSNY), a family of parishes working together to love and serve the city of New York. Matt has served as staff writer for Homiletics, a worldwide resource to pastors providing insights and ideas for preaching, and is a frequent speaker at churches and events around the country. Prior to entering ministry, Matt studied acting at the University of Michigan department of Theatre and Dance; and later received his MDiv. from Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis.