A worship collective is nothing new these days, but there’s something compelling about the heartfelt, reflective songs penned by Summit Road. Comprised of three full-time worship leaders (Conor Scholes, Jesse Land, and Todd Stanley) originally in the Kansas City area, Summit Road is wrapping up their first EP via a crowdfunding campaign at PledgeMusic. Read up on the trio below and listen to the story behind the song “Cast My Burden.”

So the three of you were worship leaders before founding Summit Road, correct? Can you give me a bit of background on how you formed?
All three of us are still full time worship leaders in our churches, actually. We got to know each other as a byproduct of living in the Kansas City area, and began writing songs together. Todd has since relocated to Pennsylvania, but we’ve continued to collaborate and write.

What was the turning point for you to decide, “Hey, let’s do this?”
It was really a combination of things that made us finally decide to step out and record this project. First of all, its primarily as a resource for our churches. We want the people we serve in our churches to be worshipers, not just come to worship on the weekends. If these songs can help draw them into living lives of worship every day, then we want to help facilitate that with these songs. We had people in our churches asking how they could get their hands on the songs, as well as contacts in the industry giving us encouragement to start doing something on a larger scale with these songs. So the time began to feel right to take the next step, and we’re excited to be doing so.

More than just musical influences, are there bands who have the sort of ministry and impact with their music that you’d hope to exemplify?
Not to be cliche, but we’re certainly not trying to emulate anyone or any ministry. We believe strongly that God has called each of us specifically to the places we serve, and our primary objective is simply to be faithful where God has planted us. There are many in the industry who we’ve gotten to know over the last several years and have tremendous respect for how they write and the heart with which they serve the Church. So if we are trying to exemplify anything, it’s a heart for the church and to shepherd God’s people well through the songs we craft.

With so much worship music coming out from various regions of the country or even congregations, is there a specific niche that you feel Summit Road inhabits? Or are there certain themes or a specific approach to your music within that spectrum?
Our primary focus throughout this process has been to speak to, and reflect, the congregations we serve. We feel like that could resonate in a larger context, and that the things that our congregations are facing are common among all believers. So, we’ve just tried to write the best songs we could without a particular focus on genre or market.

Each of us really come from different places musically, and I think that’s reflected in the songs. The record really has a lot of flavors. As far as a theme, it feels like all of these songs have spoken to the truth that God is in control in every facet or circumstance of life. We want people to know and rest in the truth that no matter where they find themselves today, God is with them and for them.

How are you feeling about the recording process at this point?
We are really excited with where this recording process has gone. We are completely through the process and waiting on final mixes, and the early feedback has been great. I think one of things that is really cool is the difference in style and feel throughout the album. Because we are writing for our churches, diversity is important. As far as funding, we have been overwhelmed with the support we have received. It has been great to see how people can get involved and be an active part of helping create and share in this opportunity. PledgeMusic has been a great platform for us to share our music and connect with new people. Most of all, we are excited for the future of sharing these songs!

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About The Author

Matt Conner
Contributing Editor

Matt Conner is a writer/editor who has interviewed approximately 2,000 musicians, authors, directors, actors and other artists. He’s the Managing Editor for PledgeMusic, a former editor with Vox Media, and writes regularly for numerous print- and web-based publications, including Under the Radar, Relevant and the Indianapolis Star.