The Journey to Paradise: Newport Worship

by: Scott Bakken

Newport Worship is an emerging band from Southern California. Their pop infused sound and high energy tunes are starting to fill air waves and churches across the globe. We sat down with singer/ songwriter Graham Bronczyk about the journey to 'Paradise'. Their new CD is available on iTunes now. 

How did Newport Worship Form? Where are you from?

Newport Worship formed from Newport Church, being planted about eight and half years ago. My wife and I came here to help plant Newport Church and I was asked to head up the worship team. We basically just started building the team and after a couple years started writing a few songs for our church to sing and it just sort of developed into what it is now. 

We are based in Orange County California but the team is from all over the place. We have people from Michigan, from Arkansas, from Minnesota, from California, from Canada, from Australia, from Brazil etc. etc. etc. haha. I guess you could say we have a pretty eclectic bunch of people. Personally I came from Washington state, to Australia, where I did Bible college for a few years, met my wife there and then moved to CA back in 2006 to help start church.

Talk to us about the journey to Paradise? What was the inspiration behind the songs?

Well we are continually writing new songs for our church so that we always keep things fresh and moving forward. We feel that God is always speaking to us and bringing fresh insight to us, so we write from that place. I would say all the songs on Paradise were written with one goal in mind and that is to lead people to worship Jesus. I know it may sound cliché to say that but we honestly just want people to experience the authentic, powerful presence of God in their lives and so we write to that end. The songs on Paradise are basically just the songs that have worked the best in our church over the last year and a half.

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Can you tell us some more about working together as a team. What obstacles have you overcome?

I think one of the most challenging things about working as a team is that, the very thing you need in a team, which is diversity and people with different strengths, can be the very thing that makes it so hard to work together. We definitely have a lot of different types of people on our team and I love that about our team, but again, it makes it tricky working together sometimes. I think one of the strengths of our team is that we continually bring ourselves back to square one which is keeping our eyes on the main goal, which is building a strong and healthy church that points people to Jesus. Our main goal is not playing music really well or writing the world’s best song necessarily, although we want those things, but it’s in being better followers of Jesus and loving on those who are broken. 

One other strength of our team is that we meet regularly together to work on music, to keep the vision in front of us, to build relationships and keep those healthy, and to work on improving every aspect of what we do. I think for any team, one of the greatest things you can learn how to do as a team member is to continually work on having a thick skin and a soft heart. As humans we naturally have thin skin and a hard heart. But what makes a great team player is someone who is unoffendable and can handle difficult situations with a balance of grace and strength. This will always shine brighter than any musical skill. 

Another thing we have had to learn how to work through is, while working to takes things to a higher level and never accepting mediocrity, never letting our pursuit of excellence take the place of valuing people. People are always the prize. But that doesn't mean that we don't pursue excellence. I think a lot of times people are afraid to bring correction or are afraid to expect people to lift to greatness because they are afraid they will hurt someone’s feelings. But we can see in the Bible that Jesus was never afraid to stir things up a little bit! We must challenge each other and sharpen each other. This is God that we’re serving with our gifts and talents! Love is both strong and kind, gracious and confronting.

For many that are new to Newport Worship, how would you explain your style?

I think we are basically anthem-synth-pop-rock haha. If thats even a genre ha ha. I’m pretty sure I just made that up. We basically just want to write music that causes people to want to worship God. That’s really the end goal. And also an energy and passion to our Church services. We believe that we serve an incredibly big God and we want our music to reflect that.

One other strength of our team is that we meet regularly together to work on music, to keep the vision in front of us, to build relationships and keep those healthy, and to work on improving every aspect of what we do. I think for any team, one of the greatest things you can learn how to do as a team member is to continually work on having a thick skin and a soft heart. As humans we naturally have thin skin and a hard heart. But what makes a great team player is someone who is unoffendable and can handle difficult situations with a balance of grace and strength. This will always shine brighter than any musical skill. 

Another thing we have had to learn how to work through is, while working to takes things to a higher level and never accepting mediocrity, never letting our pursuit of excellence take the place of valuing people. People are always the prize. But that doesn't mean that we don't pursue excellence. I think a lot of times people are afraid to bring correction or are afraid to expect people to lift to greatness because they are afraid they will hurt someone’s feelings. But we can see in the Bible that Jesus was never afraid to stir things up a little bit! We must challenge each other and sharpen each other. This is God that we’re serving with our gifts and talents! Love is both strong and kind, gracious and confronting.

How do you think worship and artistry go together?

I believe that they are very closely related. We all use our creativity and artwork for a particular purpose. So we can either use it to bring attention to ourselves or we can use it to bring attention to God. Music in my mind is just a tool that we use to help point people to Jesus. It is a language that crosses all boundaries and all denominations, races, creeds and colors. I believe God has given us music to unite us together for one purpose and that is to worship Him. I feel that if we are passionate about Jesus, then we should be passionate about using our gifts and talents to the very best of our ability. We serve a God who has given us His finest, His first, and His very life. He deserves our finest, our first and our whole lives in return.

What is next for you guys?

I'm not totally sure. I think the months and weeks ahead we will begin to discover that. I know we have a desire to travel a bit and share what God is doing in our church with other people and other churches and we hope the songs we have written for our church will also be a blessing and speak life into others. As far as songs or albums go, we will just keep writing songs for our church to worship Jesus with. I don’t really see an end to that. 

PARADISE is available now on iTunes