Chris Tomlin shares about worship, church plant
The Alabama Baptist
Thursday, November 13, 2008
By Theresa Shadrix
From the moment Chris Tomlin received a guitar from his dad when he was around 11 or 12, he has used music to worship and praise God.
He wrote his first song, "Praise the Lord," when he was 14 but said he can't recall it and confessed his first songs were "not any good."
Now 36, the Texas native has written some of the most sung contemporary worship songs in church today, such as "Indescribable," "How Great Is Our God" and "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)."
Looking back on his career, he can see the way God orchestrated his music. "I really didn't go knocking on people's doors. God really opened the doors. He did it the whole way through."
Awarded male vocalist of the year at the Gospel Music Awards in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and artist of the year in 2007 and 2008, Tomlin is sometimes overwhelmed to see people in authentic worship with songs he has written.
In a recent telephone interview from his apartment in Atlanta, he expressed humility for all the attention and laughs off comparisons to Psalmist David.
"I spend most of my time ripping [David] off," Tomlin joked. "I don't consider myself [a modern-day David], but it is my heart to write. I do feel a sort of mandate from God to help people express."
Tomlin believes people are created to worship God, and he has always felt a calling to lead Christians in worship. He credits his parents with helping him fulfill that calling.
When he wanted to cut a demo just out of high school, his father, who taught him how to play the guitar, gave him the money.
"He really believed in me," he said.
But although his father and mother believed in his gift of music, they also wanted him to go to college. Tomlin respected their wishes and finished with a degree in psychology from Texas A& University in College Station.
"I remember getting the 'dad talk' about getting a real job. That wasn't me," he said. "I did finish my degree but by the time I was in college, [God] was already opening the door."
It was during his college years that Tomlin met Louie Giglio, Passion founder, and started a union with the first Passion concert in 1997 that is still thriving today.
Now just off the first Passion world tour, Tomlin, Giglio and Matt Redman, author of other widely sung worship songs and Passion regular, are planning to plant a new church in Atlanta.
"This is something we have been looking toward for five years," Tomlin explained.
Although he sold his house in Texas and is "settling in" as a new Atlantan, Tomlin is excited about what will happen with the new church and being surrounded by people he loves.
To Tomlin, love is not just about friendships and partnerships in ministry it is also the focus of his seventh album, "Hello Love," which was the highest Christian album to debut on iTunes and peaked at No. 9 at Billboards Top 200 after its release in September.
"The heart of worship is a love relationship with God. Part of our relationship with God is how we love each other," he said.
One way to do that is through Passion's initiative, www.onemillioncan.com.
So far $266,169.25 has been given for work such as providing clean water in Africa, ministering to sex slaves in India and offering life-altering surgeries for children.
Love to Tomlin is a reflection of the heart and he said he encourages Christians to seek out ways to love others.
"When you get down to the nitty gritty and the heart of relationships in life, it is all about love."
For more information about Tomlin, visit www.christomlin.com. To gather more information about Passion, visit www.268generation.com.