Rancho Community Church might not be the first thing people think of when trying to find songs to put onto their Spotify playlist for that commute to work or that drive to visit family in some faraway place this Thanksgiving.
But as of Nov. 17, people can now listen to songs straight out of Temecula on Rancho’s new EP, “Sola.”
The EP is one of the half-century-old church’s way of extending its mission to the wider community.
“We are a grace based church that wants to advance the cause of Christ in our community, in our homes, by empowering the next generation,” Katy Smith, vocal director for Rancho Worship Ministry said, who grew up attending church at Rancho. “We are an open door church. We feel that everyone is open to God’s grace and God’s forgiveness.”
The name of the EP, the Rev. Evan Rudasill, pastor of worship arts, said, comes from the five Solas – the five statements at the heart of Protestant beliefs: by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to scripture alone and through God’s glory alone.
“We got finished writing all of these five songs, and we thought, ‘Hey, we’ve got to come up with a name for this (album),’” Rudasill said. “We realized that there’s five songs and there’s five solas.”
He said the name also fits because of the message they intended to send with the album.
“The whole message behind that album is there’s a miscommunication across a lot of churches where it’s like, ‘you do this, God does this,’” he said. “The truth of the matter is that we believe God gives us this love freely. That’s what this whole thing was about, it’s not about all these other things.”
Rudasill said the EP is about four years in the making.
“I had just recently come on staff at the time,” he said. “We wrote our first single and that kind of started this momentum through the church.”
Smith and Rudasill said about two years later, they stepped into more of a leadership role within the church, and they, along with music director Marc Bilderbach, did much of the writing for the EP over the last couple of years.
“‘Hail of Grace,’ three people kind of got together and kind of hashed that out,” Rudasill said. “All of the other four songs were kind of myself and Katy and Marc.”
But Rudasill said they wanted to give the actual musicians as much freedom as possible to express their faith in their own ways. Smith and Rudasill said the album was recorded entirely by talent within the church. Smith and Rudasill said the album was recorded entirely by talent within the church.
“What we decided was to write all the songs out the bare-bones structure of the songs and then get musicians and say whatever you want to play, whatever flavor you want to bring to this,” Rudasill said. “That was a big deal, giving them liberty to add to the project. We didn’t want this to be a three-person project; we wanted this to be for everyone.”
The EP is available on all major streaming services.
Will Fritz can be reached by email at email@example.com.