WOW Worship and The Joy Of Serving God


June 15, 1999 is a day that most people won’t remember with any significance.  But it was a day that the culture of worship was changed in America.  It was the day that WOW Worship Blue was released and it did in fact change how people would come to discover and hear worship around the world.  It began as an idea that was presented to me by Danny McGuffy who was the Vice President of Marketing for Integrity Music.  So we started a conversation and brought to the table the heads of marketing and A&R for the top three worship brands at the time… Vineyard Music, Maranatha Music and Integrity Music.  Alex MacDougall was the VP of Marketing and A&R for Vineyard Music.  I (Holland Davis) was the Director of Marketing and A&R for Maranatha! Music.  Danny McGuffy was the VP of Marketing and Chris Thomason was the VP of A&R for Integrity Music.   Scott Hughes represented the WOW Brand and EMI.  We talked about the need to create a new vehicle for worship that would unite all the different streams of worship into one project and use that project to introduce worship as a genre of music into Walmart, Target, Kmart, Sam Goody’s, Tower Records, everywhere.  The Praise and Worship market before that was fragmented at best.  Vineyard people bought Vineyard records.  Jesus People bought Maranatha records.  Pentecostals bought Integrity records.  But no one really listened to each other’s music.  We realized that only a fraction of Christians visited Christian bookstores, but nearly everyone went to Target and Walmart to buy music.  Why not do something that would bring worship into the mainstream and the idea we landed on was WOW Worship.

It was a challenging to craft an approach to the project that would lend credibility to churches, but after much discussion we arrived at a formula for the number of songs each company would have on the recording and the number of other publishers we would include based on the CCLI top 100 and the marketshare of the various companies involved in the partnership.  We decided to include a young upstart company by the name of Worship Together led by Steve Rice in the project as they were representing a new move of worship coming from the UK.  Their projects were fresh and included worship bands like Delirious, Stuart Townend and One of the worship leaders had written a song that we believed had God’s anointing on it.  The song was Heart of Worship and was written by a new worship leader by the name of Matt Redman.  Matt was introduced to America and the world through WOW Worship.  Let It Rise was introduced on a greater scale through WOW Worship.  At the time we weren’t trying to make history.  We were really trying to create a project that would be a bridge between Christian and Secular markets and open the door for worship to be sold all over the world.   I still remember the first Night of Worship we put together bringing all the streams together on one platform at GMA in Nashville.  It was unbelievable to see Paul Baloche (Integrity) singing Maranatha songs with Scott Brenner (Vineyard), Michael W. Smith, Rita Springer, The Maranatha Praise Band and Fred Hammond.  T.D. Jakes brought home the message and we collected food to feed the poor.  It was an amazing night representing the heart of WOW Worship.

WOW Worship did what we hoped it would do.  It reached #70 on the Top 200 Billboard chart for 1999.  It Reached #1 on the Top Contemporary Christian Chart.  In 2000 it reached # 144 on the Top 200 Billboard chart and #2 on the Top Contemporary Christian Chart.  In 2001 it was certified double platinum in the U.S. and in 2002 it was certified platinum in Canada.  Because of the success of WOW Worship, it opened the door for worship to be recognized as a separate genre of music and for worship leaders to be considered as viable recording artists.  WOW Worship made the way for Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Tim Hughes, Jesus Culture, Hillsong and many others to have a global platform that reached across both Christian and secular outlets.  Danny McGuffy recently shared that to date, WOW Worship Blue continues to outsell all the other WOW Worship titles including the WOW Worship Hits project.  According to Scott Hughes, if you add up all the wow records sold the track count approaches a Billion songs sold.  What does that mean for the average person?  It means more people have worship in the ipods, iphones, mp3 players, tablets, computers than ever before.  It kind of brings a new meaning to the Carl Tuttle song that says… all the earth shall worship at the throne of the King.

Few men have the opportunity to be involved in something that changes culture.  WOW Worship changed the worship culture in America and around the world.  I’m thankful for the privilege of serving with Alex MacDougall, Danny McGuffy, Scott Hughes and Chris Thomason in the creation of the WOW Worship series.  I’m thankful for Tom Vegh and Randy Alward at Maranatha Music for the privilege of representing Maranatha Music in this endeavor.  Most of all, I’m humbled that God would use me with these men to bring the light of the gospel through worship into the darkest of places… the world.  Thank you Jesus!



I too feel incredibly privileged in the being a part of those titles.   As Wimber said, “We are all spare change in His pocket, and He can spend us any way He wants to”.  I’m glad that we all worked together, and were spent this way.  ALEX MACDOUGALL

Thank you for bringing it up.  Do you know that if you add up all the wow records sold the track count approaches a Billion songs sold.   I am very humbled and glad to have been a part of it.  SCOTT HUGHES

Alex forwarded me your note on wow worship. Agree with your thoughts. Great to have been a part of that. It is still by far the biggest selling product (WoW W Blue) in the franchise far outselling its biggest HITS album.  DANNY MCGUFFY



Track listing

Yellow Disc [Disc 1]

  1. “The River Is Here” – Andy Park
  2. “Ancient Of Days” – Jamie Harvill & Gary Sadler (sung by Ron Kenoly)
  3. “Let It Rise” – Holland Davis (sung by Paul Baloche)
  4. “Let The River Flow” – Darrell Evans (sung by Lindell Cooley)
  5. “Change My Heart Oh God” – Eddie Espinosa (sung by Roby Duke)
  6. “The Heart Of Worship” – Matt Redman
  7. “Shout To The Lord” – Darlene Zschech
  8. “Open The Eyes Of My Heart” – Paul Baloche
  9. “Refiner’s Fire” – Brian Doerksen
  10. “Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord” – Don Moen
  11. “I Love You Lord” – Laurie Klein (sung by Kristina Hamilton)
  12. “Father I Adore You” – Terrye Coelho Strom (sung by The Maranatha! Singers)
  13. “In His Time” – Diane Ball (sung by Jack Searle)
  14. “Give Thanks” – Henry Smith (sung by Don Moen)
  15. “Come Into His Presence” – Lynn Baird (sung by Don Moen)

Blue Disc [Disc 2]

  1. Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” – Rick Founds (sung by The Maranatha! Singers)
  2. “My Life Is In You, Lord” – Daniel Gardner (sung by Joseph Garlington)
  3. “Mighty Is Our God” – Eugene Greco (sung by Chris Rodriguez)
  4. “We Will Embrace Your Move” – Darrell Evans
  5. “I Will Celebrate” – Linda Duvall (sung by Gene Miller)
  6. “Blessed Be The Lord God Almighty” – Bob Fitts (sung by Kelly Willard)
  7. “Come Let Us Worship And Bow Down” – Dave Doherty (sung by Rob Mathes)
  8. “Jesus Name Above All Names” – Naida Hearn (sung by Bill Batstone)
  9. “Come, Now Is The Time To Worship” – Brian Doerksen featuring Wendy Whitehead
  10. “Take My Life” – Scott Underwood
  11. “More Love More Power” – Jude Del Hierro (sung by Keith Matten)
  12. “Isn’t He” – John Wimber (sung by Terry Clark)
  13. “More Precious Than Silver” – Lynn DeShazo
  14. “Open Our Eyes” – Bob Cull (sung by Teri DeSario)
  15. “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever” – Martin Smith

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