Making A Live Worship Album

Luke Barry

December 7, 2023
5 min read

Being able to make music that can encourage and minister to people within and outside of our community is a great honor. We always want to steward that opportunity to the best of our ability.

Luke Barry

Over the past few weeks, VOUS Worship has put out two new singles from our upcoming album, Always A Good Time—coming February 2, 2024! As always, it has been so special to put new music out into the world and to see people respond as God speaks to them through the songs. Take Me With You and Good Time mean a lot to our community. We are so happy to get to share them with you and are more excited for this new album than for anything we’ve made before!

As we approach the release of a new project, we have been reflecting on the process of making a live worship album. I remember what it felt like to step into our first project with no idea of what I was doing. It is always scary to attempt something for the first time. You don’t know what to expect or how it’s all going to go. But we have learned—in music and in life—that when we step out, God is always faithful to guide us along the journey and provide everything we need. Being able to make music that can encourage and minister to people within and outside of our community is a great honor. We always want to steward that opportunity to the best of our ability.

Over the past three years, here is what this process has looked like for us…


It all begins with the songs. A few times a year, we set aside time to seek God and write music. If I’m honest, I would love to do this more. It can be hard to switch gears in the midst of the day-to-day demands of life. That’s why we like to set aside focused time to do nothing other than write music. This usually means 2-4 days in a designated space, often a break from the norm. We may meet at someone’s house, rent a space, or write in a studio.

I find that it’s best to write in bursts of 3-4 hours, breaking in between to eat and reset. So many factors are at play here—energy, mood, time of day, collaborators—but we like to schedule a session and then push through until we have something. Whether or not that something is good is another matter. At the end of a few days of writing, we often have 7-10 songs completed. It always helps to walk away with solid demos for each song—decent recordings that capture the rhythm, melody, and feel of each song so we have a great reference point in the future. Often we will return to songs later and refine lyrics, melodies, etc. We may throw out a verse, chorus, or bridge and write something new to make the song better.

Once we have a batch of songs written, we start to discuss which we feel are the strongest and which may belong together on an album. After putting together a rough tracklist, we move into the next phase of the process.


There are several key facets of the pre-production process. One of the first is selecting a producer for each song and starting to build out tracks. As the songs start to come to life, we look for opportunities to play them live. This often happens in rehearsals scheduled specifically for this purpose and in church on Sundays. Singing songs in our community helps us to discern whether or not a song is feeling good musically and connecting with people.

Another key facet of pre-production is selecting a recording date and casting vision for the album capture. Location, stage design, visuals, etc. are all a big part of this process. This step requires lots of collaboration from our different church departments—Worship, Creative, Production, Film, Environments, Operations. Our team begins to build a deck (we currently build these in Google Slides) that contains all pertinent information, vision, visual references, and a lot more.

As we start to approach the recording date, rehearsals become more frequent. In recent years, we have run these rehearsals on Saturdays at our church locations. In the two weeks prior to an album recording, we get everyone in the room together to run the songs and refine the details. Each rehearsal is recorded so we can track our progress and the team can listen to the songs as things evolve.


Pre-production ends on recording day. For two of the three of the live albums we have recorded at VOUS, we have spread the project across two days. This is partially due to the fact that we have taken a bit of a non-traditional approach to our live projects, one that is almost a hybrid between a live recording and a music video. Songs are recorded live, but our captures are curated with specific stage plots, style guides, environment changes, etc. that require more time per song. Though we come in with a clear vision, once we hit record our goal is to release our plans and allow God to flow in each moment, just as he has been guiding us through the entire process.

Often on recording days we will run a song more than once, sometimes changing things from one pass to the next. A fun example of this is our recent single, Take Me With You, which changed significantly on the night. After singing the song once, we extended the arrangement and shifted the dynamics to create more space before the bridge and to allow room for people to absorb the message of the song. That take is what ended up on the album!


As soon as recording ends—this time around, literally at midnight the night of the capture—we begin post-production. This includes reviewing takes of each song and deciding which will go on the album, cleaning up and editing audio, and overdubbing any audio that wasn’t a clean capture or needs to be improved.

Post-production is a meticulous and often tedious process that requires many hours and a lot of patience. When we recorded our first live album back in 2021, this was the part of the process with which I was least familiar. What I have found over the years is that the most important part of this aspect of making an album is who you work with. None of this works without collaborators who know more than I do and are excellent at their part of the work. At VOUS, we have been very blessed to work with incredible people who are gifted, diligent, and humble.

Once all tracks have been edited and all overdubs have been completed, the songs go to mix. In this phase, our mixing engineer sends us a mix for each song and we go back and forth on the details of each track. Occasionally, we run into challenges that need to be resolved, like re-recording a part (vocal or instrumental) or editing the structure of a song. The better we execute pre-production and recording, the smoother post-production will be. Once we are happy with all the mixes, we move into mastering and the songs are completed.


With songwriting, pre-production, recording, and post-production complete, all we have left to do is release the music! This is another critical step in the process. A release plan can be as creative as every other step, but one critical lesson we have learned is the value of time. Once the songs are ready, it can be easy to become impatient and want to rush the release. More and more each time around, we are learning to slow down and trust God’s timing in everything we do. We may feel we’re ready but God knows the right time.

Wherever you are in the process, whether a seasoned leader or just starting to learn, we hope this basic breakdown will help you and your team as you seek to turn your God-given dreams into reality. What he has put in your heart won’t be like what he has put in ours. Trust and obey him and he will lead you exactly where he intends you to go.

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