By Robert M. Marovich
What if your music ministry provided songs for not one church, nor two, nor even three, but hundreds?
That’s what King’s Collective does.
King’s Collective is the artistic arm of King’s Cathedral & Chapels. From a First Assembly of God church of 100 members in Maui, Hawaii, to planting churches in each of the fifty states and several countries, King’s has become a global phenomenon. Its music ministry creates and disseminates songs that reflect the church’s multiculturalism while at the same time making the lyric messages as personal as possible.
Last month, JGM learned more about King’s Collective during a Q&A videoconference with four of the members: Pastors Alex Betsill and Milo Ochoa, and Minister Nu’u Kahalehau in Hawaii; and singer Minister Toby Scott in Alaska.
JGM: What is King’s Collective?
Alex: King’s Collective is a team of creatives, mostly singer-songwriters and musicians, who come together from our churches and congregations around the globe. They write songs for our church congregations to sing. Our churches have always had music, but in the past five years, after our founding pastor was called to minister elsewhere, we restructured. With Pastor Milo Ochoa’s help, we brought it back together and gave it a new name—King’s Collective.
JGM: What kinds of songs do you write and sing?
Milo: We do a little bit of everything in service—our own songs and other songs. What we write comes from our personal experience with Jesus. We’re not trying to write hits – we’re trying to write our stories with the Lord and share with our congregations how we’ve been transformed by the Holy Spirit.
JGM: What is your songwriting process?
Nu’u: The spark of our songs starts with our relationship with God, but collectively, we work together. We get ideas from everyone and then we look at what God is trying to convey in the song. We put lyrics and music to the song, and then we fine tune it. We try a number of melodies. Some stick, some don’t. But it’s always been more than the music. We wanted to create music that we could use in our services and that our extensions could sing.
JGM: What song is currently sweeping your churches?
Alex: The songs I’m most excited about are to be released soon, but as far as songs out there currently, “I’m Singing,” featuring lead vocals by Minister Toby, has to be one of my favorites right now. I get pumped every time I hear it.
Toby: I was in gospel before joining King’s Collective. When I lived in Kansas City, I was in a group called Completion. We did a couple of singles, but nothing major. I wasn’t doing gospel at the magnitude I’m doing it now with King’s Collective. It is a blessing to be part of something so big but also so personable.
JGM: How are King’s Collective songs made available?
Alex: The desire of the house right now is to release songs single by single. We just recorded four songs at our last conference, and we plan release them month by month. Since our churches are global and members speak many different languages, we’re translating songs into different languages. For example, there’s a Slavic rendition of “I’m Singing,” and Nu’u sang a song in Hawaiian and English.
Milo: We have three conferences a year. Our pastors and ministers from around the world come to Maui to be part of them. Every January is the Vision Conference. In May we have our People’s Conference. In September we have our Power Conference. We bring in guests. During the past two conferences, we’ve made an effort to record our songs. We introduce the song and capture it on video. We’re very excited with what the Lord did this January. It was a very special moment and we’ll be sharing some of those very soon.
Of the four singles coming out, one is from Joy Werner, our worship leader in Missouri. She’s an amazing singer. BJ Putnam is featured on another of the songs. All are congregational songs. We want to write songs to bless the Sunday morning congregation.
JGM: Has the popularity of groups like Hillsong Worship and Maverick City Music helped King’s Collective?
Toby: Their popularity has given every church a chance to let the world hear what God has been speaking to them. It gave us a green light to let the world see our journey, what God has been doing through King’s. We are one body, many locations. Not too many churches have the dynamic that we have.
Nu’u: My family is Hawaiian, and music is a big thing for us. I grew up with music around me, and the influences I’ve had in my past and in our culture through song have definitely helped me sharpen my writing tools.
Alex: Hillsong United had a huge impact on me after I first got saved. You can’t help but be inspired by the music you grew up on and influenced you. But like Nu’u said earlier, the time we spend personally or collectively seeking the Lord in our services is where ideas for melodies come about. It’s a beautiful thing for the Lord to drop stuff onto us that we, in turn, sing right back to him.
JGM: How many personnel are in King’s Collective?
Alex: Between the singers, musicians, and songwriters, there are anywhere from 28 to 30 members at any given time. The number is expanding as we do more recordings. But like any ministry, people come in and out, some based on availability and others based on expertise. They are already involved in King’s worship somewhere in the organization. We’re just grateful to access everybody from around the world. Nobody’s trying to toot their own horn or be the star, they just want to do what’s best for the church. Any of us will take a back seat anytime so someone who is specially gifted in an area can shine.
Nu’u: What sticks with me about King’s Collective is something Pastor Alex said at a conference—that I can go on stage and sing a song and scrub toilets afterward. We are here to exalt God and that’s it.
Toby: Pastor Alex and Pastor Milo are what being a pastor means. They are so humble and allow God to just use them. No matter what they do, they have a servant’s heart. That’s what I love about this team. Everybody wants to do what they were called to do.
JGM: Do you envision sharing your songs with churches outside the King’s network?
Milo: We would like to do that, but we’ve tried to keep our hearts open to what God wants us to do, rather than promote it and put our name everywhere. The reason we started writing in the first place was to give music resources to our extensions. There are currently about 600 King’s locations around the world, but we have had a few churches outside of our organization ask us for soundtracks and chord charts. For example, a big church in Russia that is not part of our organization was doing “I’m Singing” in Russian! We’ll be diligent about what the Lord wants us to do. If He wants our music to go global, then Praise the Lord!
JGM: What does the future hold for King’s Collective?
Milo: Besides writing, we are prepping for the May Conference. And the year will involve equipping our extensions around the world with songs of their own, in their own language, using their own musicians and worship leaders. For example, we are recording eight songs in Marshallese for our Marshallese churches. We might travel to our extensions in Chile to do all-Spanish versions of our songs. We are working on Russian versions, too.
Toby: We have new material coming out so keep listening for King’s Collective. Fifty states—pick one—and we have a church there!
JGM: Any final thoughts?
Nu’u: I’m excited by how God is using all the talents and wisdom we’ve been fortunate to receive from Him, to spread the gospel to the world through music and worship.
Alex: If you enjoy our music and you want to do it but need resources, we’d love to help you in any way we can. We just want to be a blessing to the body of Christ.