As summer approaches, many of us are preparing to head off to events and festivals to experience amazing times of fellowship and worship. Paul Hammond caught up with worship leader Matt Redman at last year’s JustOne event to ask him about his heart for worship, and why it’s so important.
Paul: What sort of place does worship have in an evangelistic event?
Matt: I think evangelism and worship are inherently about the same thing: about all eyes on God, and about proclaiming who He is. If you think about it, they’re very linked, because the ultimate goal of evangelism is worship. The idea of evangelism is to make more worshippers. I love songs that are based on truth. They’re not only a way of speaking to God and responding to the truth that He is, but at the same time you’re announcing His truth to anyone else who’ll listen.
Paul: I suppose that was the same for some of the old hymns and hymn writers. The doctrinal truths in them weren’t written as a theological exercise, they were to communicate the truth.
Matt: The Psalms say ‘let the afflicted hear and rejoice’ (Psalm 34:2 NIV). In other words, there’s a window here. You can see something of the heart of God, the power of God, and the love of God through these songs.
Paul: In your book 10,000 Reasons, you talk about how, growing up, you found refuge in worship. For people who’ve got no real ability to express their faith or their worship, maybe not even sure what they believe, is there an opportunity in worship to find that sort of refuge?
Matt: Yes, I think so. I think the very best worship connects with the truth of God, but also connects with the heart of God. I want these songs to be songs of hope. I think it’s one of the distinguishing marks of the church - it’s what we should be in those moments like Grenfell, the terrorist attacks that have been going on, the shocking news stories, or something in someone’s individual life. A song has a beautiful way of getting beneath the surface and getting very deep into people. I believe that songs that are full of the truth and the heart of God can take hope and peace very deep into someone’s life. Where else are you going to find hope? Where else are you going to find true, everlasting, profound peace? We know we’ve got that, and songs are a great way of announcing and amplifying that to other people. We try and write some songs that you can join in even if you’re not fully subscribed to everything I believe. It’s a way of trying to invite people in, and I’m hoping that these songs might take people to some of those other hymns.
Paul: How do we make worship as real in our local church, even if we haven’t got the resources of an event like JustOne?
To me, that’s the beauty of it. I’ve sung 10,000 Reasons in the Albert Hall with a 60-piece orchestra and 400-voice choir. I’ve sung it in a room, on acoustic guitar, with someone in the later stages of cancer, in the last week of their life here on earth. Big and bold doesn’t have to mean it’s more profound. The quality might not be the same, but I’m sure the heart can be the same. I’m sure there’s something beautiful about that moment that’s not going to happen today, and something beautiful about this moment today that may not happen in any church on Sunday.
Matt Redman is one of the artists appearing at Big Church Day Out this summer. Head over to bigchurchdayout.co.uk to find out more. If you can’t make it this year, don’t worry – tune into UCB 1 or UCB 2 to hear great music from many of the artists who’ll be there this year.