As You Go – The Evolution of a Song

Here’s our latest video from The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11.

As You Go was written by Mark Altrogge, who has been writing songs for Sovereign Grace Music since the early 1980s. That’s a long time. It amazes me how he continues to write such theologically rich, relevant, singable songs.

What you may not know is that even with the decades of experience Mark has, he is one of the easiest people to work with when it comes to suggesting changes to his songs. Rather than giving you a detailed explanation of why he wrote what he did, or sharing 5 reasons why no alternative could possibly be better, he typically gets back in less than 24 hours with 2 or 3 alternatives. That’s one of the reasons he writes such great songs and why I love working with him.

Mark originally called this song Now As You Go, and it was intended to fill the benediction slot on The Gathering. This is the demo he sent.

[audio:http://worshipmatters.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Now-As-You-Go.mp3|titles=Now As You Go]

We liked it, but it was a little more reflective than what we were looking for. So Mark sent a new version with a completely new melody and altered words.

[audio:http://worshipmatters.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/01-As-You-Go-5.31.11.mp3|titles=As You Go (5.31.11)]

You might notice the bridge takes some unusual turns melodically. So I suggested that instead of singing a bridge he just make the song three verses. He did, and that’s how we ended up with the version we recorded for The Gathering.

I love what this song expresses. It captures the mindset we’re to have as we leave our gatherings, whether we sing it or simply hear it spoken to us. God calls us to go into the world to proclaim the gospel and minister his grace and truth to others, but our confidence isn’t in our ability to fulfill what we’ve been commissioned to do. We go assured of the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the power of the Spirit, all enabling us to fulfill God’s purposes in and through us.

Here’s the guitar chart and lead sheet. Lyrics posted below.

As you go, may you know the love of Christ
How deep and long, how high and wide
As you leave, may you seek to win the prize
And find His death to be your life

May you go in the love of your Father God
May you go in the grace of Christ
May you go in the power of the Spirit now
To bring Him glory with your life

As you go, may you know the pow’r of grace
His very strength for what’s to come
As you leave, may you feel His mighty hand
Guiding your steps in the race you run

As you go, may you show His heart to bless
The ones with less, the blind and lost
As you leave, may you be the light of Christ
And show our hope is in the cross
By Mark Altrogge © 2011 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Mark has also been writing Scripture songs for years for his Hide the Word albums. He’s currently produced ten of them. You can check them out at his website.

9 Responses to As You Go – The Evolution of a Song

  1. Andrew Lucius January 13, 2012 at 9:47 PM #

    Bob and Mark,
    Thank you for being so open with your songwriting process. It has been very encouraging to read post like this one and to be able to be a part of Mark’s songwriting breakouts at WG 2011.

  2. Robert Allen January 15, 2012 at 2:29 PM #

    Bob,

    Loved the article. Love your work. I love you as a brother. I love Sovereign Grace Ministries and their passion for writing doctrinally sound worship music. I’ve been to your Worship God conferences. I use your music in my church. The growth and success of your family in ministry and your church’s effectiveness around the world are a testament to you and your love for Jesus Christ.

    But I hate word “evolution” and the evil it represents….it’s a shame that Christians use a word from a religion that didn’t even exist befere Darwin. To use it in our normal vernacular is to subtley confirm the validity of evolution as a plausible theory.

    I don’t mean to be rude or picky…… Simply stated, am so enfuriated at Satan’s efforts to destroy the truth of Creation that I’m offended when I see and hear believers validate the lie of evolution by acknowledging it with their speech.

    Hope you don’t mind my criticism and admonition to you, my brother in Christ.

    For Him,

    Robert “BJ” Allen
    Director of Worship and Music
    Mount Calvary Church of Elizabethtown

  3. Eric Rivier Jimenez January 17, 2012 at 2:39 AM #

    Bob, this is great! It is very encouraging to see this type of journey. How amazing to hear a song grow and become forever part of the life of the church!

    Thank you so much for your work and special thanks to all the musicians who turned the demo into this well polished, sonically rich and detailed song. Musicians are a very integral part of the song writing process! It is amazing how the song is taken to a whole other level during its final stage.

    Robert, I know you mean well and I appreciate having the courage to stand and call out things like this. Lukewarm Christianity is definitely a big problem today and your comment is all but that! I want to leave you with this:

    “The English term prior to the late 19th century was confined to referring to goal-directed, pre-programmed processes such as embryological development. A pre-programmed task, as in a military maneuver, using this definition, may be termed an ‘evolution.'”

    Merriam-Webster describes the term “evolution” as “one of a set of prescribed movements or a process of change in a certain direction: unfolding. The process of working out or developing.” (Of course a definition that describes the theory of evolution is also given by this source.)

    I believe the term was used correctly and just because it is used to describe a theory that negates the existence and creational power of God it doesn’t mean we are not to use it anymore in contexts where it is appropriate. The term “evolution” does not belong to Darwin or any “religion” derived from his thoughts it is simply a word that literally means “unfolding” of something into its true or explicit form. There was no acknowledgement of the Evolution Theory here, just the explanation of how a song unfolded or evolved into its final stage through a given process.

    Sorry to steal the thread to clear that up.

    Eric

  4. Tom Barrett January 17, 2012 at 2:51 AM #

    Thanks for sharing this process. I’ve been a fan of Mark’s work for some time, and to have another glimpse of the humble approach so common in sovereign grace circles is great.

    I’m wondering if anyone thought of suggesting a change of “person” for the song, since it’s intended (?) for congregational singing. The second-person “you” throughout makes it feel like those up the front are singing it *to* the congregation, whereas the first-person-plural “we” would make it more obvious that the congregation are singing to themselves, *led* by those up front. Any thoughts?

    • Bob Kauflin January 17, 2012 at 4:16 AM #

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Tom. The song is actually meant to be sung to each other, not just from the front to the congregation. Don’t know if that changes anything, but we wouldn’t have a problem with people changing the pronoun to first person plural. But it seems a little more direct when we sing it to one another.

  5. Mike Lukens February 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM #

    We just introduced this song to our congregation. I can’t remember the last time a new song resonated so deeply with our church. I think this will be a blessing that we will sing to one another on a regular basis. Thanks for the encouragement that a song doesn’t have to be perfect on the first try and the example of Mark’s humility in being open to the feedback of others in the songwriting process. You all are a blessing to our body.

  6. Angela F. April 4, 2012 at 6:50 PM #

    It was wonderful to hear the original version of “As You Go” by Mark Altrogge! Thank you for sharing!! I love the final version, and we are going to be using it at our city’s National Day of Prayer Celebration this year on May 3rd. We will have a circle of Davidic dancers, a few doing worship sign language, and some celebration flags as we sing this song as a blessing to one another at the close of the event!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. “As You Go” | Rooted and Relevant - October 21, 2014

    […] about singing some day as a church togther. Below is a history of this song by Bob Kauflin at the Worship Matters […]

  2. Rule of the Three Ss | Spirit & Truth - January 23, 2015

    […] As You Go – The Evolution of a Song (worshipmatters.com) […]

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