In a distracted and shallow society, have we become equally distracted and shallow worship leaders? Join me as I interview Matt Redman about how we can get back to a Biblically rich, theologically vibrant worship culture in our own lives and in our churches.
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Alex | (00:00)
Welcome to the Worship Ministry Training Podcast, a monthly podcast for worship leaders who are serious about growing in their craft and calling. My name is Alex, fellow worship leader. Super stoked you’re here. If you’re a new listener, I’m going to encourage you to hit that Subscribe button because every single month I’m going to give you helpful, practical guidance that you can immediately implement into your ministry. Hit that subscribe button and then go back through the past nine years of episodes and binge listen your way to a healthier ministry. If you’re someone who is really serious about growing as a worship leader, I’m going to point you to the Worship Ministry Training Academy. What is the academy? It’s an online training platform that will give you everything you need to build a thriving worship ministry. You’ll get 10 in-depth courses on topics like set building, team building, musical excellence, vocal technique, and more. You’ll get live monthly training workshops on topics that are relevant to you. You’ll get exclusive expert interviews with some of the best worship leaders in the world. You’ll get done for you ministry admin systems and audition process, onboarding documents, team training materials, and even team discipleship materials.
Alex | (01:04)
We will take care of you so you can focus on leading your team. If that sounds like something that would be of help to you, you can try the Worship Ministry Training Academy for just one dollar by going to worshipministrytraining. Com. Sign up today for your one dollar trial and I hope to see you inside of the academy. Let’s get into today’s episode. Let’s welcome the brilliant, one and only Matt Redman to the screen. Hello, Matt. How are you?
Matt Redman | (01:29)
Hey, good, thanks. Thanks so much for having me on. I’m not sure about how it’s going to feel when we’re squeezing the juice out of my juicy brain, I think you said, but we’ll do our best. Might not be as juicy as you think.
Alex | (01:41)
Yeah, we’ll do our best not to kill you while we do that. But guys, Matt was on the podcast back in, gosh, Matt, I was looking at the archives, 2017, back when we were both wee lads. We were still young men in our prime. And you had some concerns back then about the current state of worship back in 2017. And your concerns back then were primarily about us putting production and excellence above things like the fruit of the Spirit, and we were sacrificing kindness in order to get excellence. And those were your concerns back then. You have a different set of concerns today that we’re going to be talking about, and I’m going to let you set that up here. But the thing I love about you, Matt, is you’re not just concerned and complaining, but you’re like Nehemiah. You’re concerned and you’re doing something about it. And so you are actually holding a one day conference or seminar. Is it in Chicago?
Matt Redman | (02:32)
No, it’s in Washington, D. C. It’s at the Museum of the Bible.
Alex | (02:35)
Okay, in October. Yeah. So tell us about that conference. Tell us what it is. And then I would love for you to tell us why you felt led to do this. What were the concerns that you saw that you’re like, I’m going to do something about this? So both questions there.
Matt Redman | (02:51)
This conference is called Worth. We took the W-O-R from Worship and T-H from theology and the rest of the conference is all about worship and theology. We’re hoping to set up a series of these, but the first one, October the 25th, Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC. That place is a wonderful space anyway. I think it felt like such an appropriate place to have our first event. I’ve got a few people coming in. Jason Ingram, who a lot of people would know, is cowriting a ton of songs. Great are you Lord, King of Kings, Glorous Day, Goodness of God, even more recently, Holy Forever. Then Pat Barrett, who obviously wrote Good Father, Build My Life. Then we have an academic coming in to help us do some of theological heavy lifting. A guy called David Taylor, W. David O. Taylor, to give him his more academic name. He’s written some great books on worship and the arts and different areas of worship theology. A lot of people might have known him because he interviewed Bono and the late Eugene Pedson on the Psalms and then did some more interviews with Bono on the Psalms from you too, after that.
Matt Redman | (04:03)
He’ll be in as well. The idea is we’re just going to drink from the firehose for 12 hours, 9:30 AM to 9:30 PM, and just try and stir up this passion for theology, try and talk about what are some of the gaps that are missing, talk about how can we be more careful, mindful in writing songs, choosing songs, and the approach that we give. The writer, AWS, he said, and he was talking decades ago about worship. He said, Almost all of the gains have been external and almost all of the losses have been internal. I thought, That’s a really interesting comment. You could apply that today to our worship. Almost all of the gains have been external, things like production levels and taking the art of songwriting seriously in a musical way. So many of the stage stuff or the recorded stuff, you could argue there’s been some good ground taking there. There’s been some progress as people are really taking the quality of those things seriously. But then if you looked at the internal and more of the substance, the foundations, the heart things, maybe we’re not doing quite so well and maybe we really need to ask the Holy Spirit and get to grips with scripture like never before and say, Can we do this?
Matt Redman | (05:27)
Can we raise our game here? Can we raise the level of what we’re singing? What we’re going to look at on the day is this… There’s actually things we can measure against. Obviously the Bible itself, but even different parts of the Bible or some of the old creeds or some of the old hymn books. There’s things we can measure against to see how we’re actually doing in 2023. That’s the idea. I don’t want it to be a big, heavy burden. We want to inspire challenge. We want it to be uplifting. But we want people to walk away thinking, Right, yeah, I’m in a trusted position here. I’m dealing with something sacred. I’ve got to take this seriously.
Alex | (06:00)
Yeah. It’s almost like we’ve become too professional and we’ve lost the pastoral. It’s almost like we need to flip that back on its head because that’s what the church needs, is the pastoral over the polish and over the professional, right?
Matt Redman | (06:12)
Yeah, I like that. We’re doing carrying out several roles, I guess, when we worship lead. There’s like a prophetic role, speaking into the moment. There’s a pastoral role, trying to shepherd people out looking after them. Maybe a Priestley role. We’re ministering to God and we’re trying to encourage other people in their pursuit of that. I just think we have to take it seriously. We can’t just make up who he is and we can’t leave parts out about who he is. Now, inevitably we will. We’re always scratching the surface of the spectrum of his glory and the wonder of who he is. But we’ve got to work hard on this because, firstly, because he’s told us who he is. It’s not like we’re groping around in the dark, fumbling around, trying to figure out some hint or clue as to who God is, what he’s like. We’ve got this whole book, the Bible, and it’s absolutely pumped full of full-on descriptions of who he is, God’s ways, God’s character and nature, his attributes, things he’s done, the story of God, just the qualities of who he is. And it even gives us name upon name upon name upon name of who he is.
Matt Redman | (07:23)
My name is this, my name is this. He’s called this, he’s called that. And so we have so much to go on. There’s a part I think it might be in the Book of Acts. I can’t remember it might be Acts 15 or 17. But when Paul finds this inscription to an unknown God, and it’s an interesting one because you think, Wow, how would you worship an unknown God? I mean, you wouldn’t know where to start. You wouldn’t know what this God is like. You wouldn’t know anything about why they were worthy. But why is this God worthy? Tell me, has this God done anything? Or is this God, there’s something about this God, this nature, attributes, character that makes this God worthy of our worship. You wouldn’t know what pleased that God. You wouldn’t know what does this God desire? What does this God require? What would be the offering that’s going to make a difference to this God? We live in the complete opposite. We live in the absolute joy of a God who is not an unknown, a God who’s revealed himself. What I love about our God, he’s a God of self-revelation.
Matt Redman | (08:27)
We don’t have to go mining it for ourselves. It’s all there plain for us to see this God of self-revelation, and he’s revealed himself as a God who is holy but also close, a God who is to be feared but also will offer us friendship, too. He’s the God who thunders and whispers. He’s the lion and the lamb. We want to make sure as much as possible that we get to grips with that whole picture.
Alex | (08:57)
Yeah. You’re the king of contrast. I love how you go, He’s this and he’s that. That’s my new nickname for you, the King of Contrast.
Matt Redman | (09:04)
The King of Contrast. Paradox is our friend in worship. If you can lead people into paradox, then you lead them into mystery. That’s what you’re trying to do. So if you were only to sing about the friendship of the Lord, or all our songs were about the Father, the heart of God, or being close to God or the kindness and love of God, that’s worthy stuff to sing, and that’s actually wonderful. We need to sing that stuff. But if you first were to sing about the wholeness of God and paint this context of God who is righteous beyond the eighth degree, a God who’s perfect in every way, a God who’s powerful and sovereign and majestic and so much splendor and radiance and then on to that you project those themes of kindness, friendship, Father, the heart of God, then you have this mystery on your hands. He’s the King. Oh, here’s a good one. He’s a king whose footstool is the earth, and yet he knelt down and washed the earth off the feet of his disciples.
Alex | (10:00)
Matt Redman | (10:01)
The one who hung in agony on beams of wood that he himself had caught into being. These are the mysteries and the paradoxes and the contrast that you say that we want to lead people into because something very honoring happens when we do. But also something happens in us. The real explosive stuff when it comes to worship and mystery happens when we bring those things together.
Alex | (10:24)
Wow! One of the things I wrote down while you were talking was that we’re leaving out parts of who God is from our songs, from our sets. I said the question, and I’m going to jump ahead to that question because I think it fits with where we are in the conversation where if you could build or if you could encourage worship pastors to build the perfect worship set, what themes and what topics and how would you… Because I feel like you’re right. We’re getting one slice of the pie a lot of the time, the same slice over and over and over and over. But if Matt Redman could lead his perfect worship set, what would you weave in there? What would make sure that we’re feeding our people on a week to week or at least on a monthly rotation, we’re getting certain themes in there? Do you feel like we’re lacking or we’re one dimensional in our sets?
Matt Redman | (11:10)
Yeah. Obviously, if you ask some pastors, theologians, different people, what is lacking? They’ll come up with some themes straight away, like the return of Christ is a big one. It’s such an important thing to sing about it. It makes a big difference in how we live, how we pray, how we evangelize. If we live urgently, if we live holy lives, the New Testament tells us that there are the implications of expecting the return of Christ. So it would be a good thing to sing about. I think in recent years it’s come into songs a bit more. It’s just great. Trinitarian theology is a big one, and that’s something we’ll definitely look at on the Worth days, how trinitarian theology of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is so important. But it doesn’t have to be verse 1 Father, verse 2 Son, verse 3 the Spirit. It. They can be, but there’s other ways to include that. Then you’ve got the stuff where a lot of people, if they were to raise a criticism at what we’re doing, quite a few people say these songs are a bit me, me, me, aren’t they? Ultimately, that is our question.
Matt Redman | (12:18)
How do we sing Holy, holy, holy in a world of me, me, me? I think that’s the million-dollar question. How do we do that? In 2023, when so many things are going in the opposite direction, there’s not much reverence in the equation in our society, less and less respect in our culture, how do we fly in the face of that and sing, Holy, and lead people into things like that in a world of me, me, me? Because you could look through some of these songs, you think this song is… I’ve had songs myself. I think I’m trying to write a song about God, and I get to the end of it and I think, Oh, this song turned out all about me. If I look through this song, it mentions me a lot more than him. I seem to be the dominant theme in this lyric. I don’t want to write like that. There’s something about the dynamic of, I take an old song, How Great is Our God? One wonderful thing about that song, we’re not really in the story. We’re not really in the equation, in the pictures. It’s just all about him and his growing.
Matt Redman | (13:20)
There’s some great songs like that. A more recent one would be Worthy of It All, which is a real throne room song, I guess, but it has that same dynamic. The other thing is sometimes we will sing aspects of God in a song, but they’re only the aspects of Him that are directly beneficial to us.
Alex | (13:39)
Right. You’re my victory, whatever.
Matt Redman | (13:43)
Yeah. We’re singing, I call it Holiness versus Helpfulness. We’re singing about the helpful parts of God. He’s my shepherd, he’s my rock. He did this for me. He can do that for me. He’s my healer. They’re all wonderful, wonderful things to sing. Absolutely. But that’s all we ever sing. There might be a problem. Let’s sing some of the aspects of who he is that we don’t even get a look in the story. Just his utter holiness and righteousness, his purity. Let’s sing some of those attributes of God that don’t involve us at all. And so, holiness and helpfulness. I think would be great things to sing about. These are some of the things I’m thinking about, and it’s about writing the songs, it’s about choosing the songs. We probably can’t do on our own. That’s one thing I realized. That’s why I’m bringing David Taylor to the Worth event. Every time we do one of these, we’ll bring in a well-studied, respected theologian in the area of worship and theology because we need to. I know I don’t have what we need for this moment. We need each other. I will often ask pastors, What’s missing right now?
Matt Redman | (15:01)
What should we be singing about? What are some of the themes? Then if they tell me about a theme I don’t really know a lot about, then I ask for some help on that. Because at the end of the day, my suspicion is that a lot of worship leaders came into this through the musical route, like I did, instead of a lyrical route or theological route. In the old days, the hymn writers were ordained past as most of them write. They’re coming in through the root of being trained in theology. You’re getting this lyrical richness. But someone like me, I didn’t come that way, so I’m going to have to make a bit of a more of an effort to make sure that part is looked after, the substance of the song, the content, the revelation, the theological side of it. I know I’m not going to be able to do that on my own, so I’m really keen to bring in some other people for some help on that too.
Alex | (15:56)
Yeah, you’re saying we should be worshiping God for his holyness, not his helpfulness. I think that’s such a key. I think both. Yeah, or both. Because it seems like nowadays it’s like God is my genie who solves all my problems, and that’s why I worship him instead of he’s literally holding the fabric of the universe together right now, and that’s why I worship him.
Matt Redman | (16:17)
Absolutely. Love that.
Alex | (16:18)
As you’re talking, I’m thinking, deep songs equal deep people, right? And deep people are able to have deep roots to weather the storms of this life. If we don’t give them deep songs, then we’re setting them up to get slapped in the face and maybe turn away, maybe fall away. What other things are at stake? If we don’t start to get away from the God is my genie songs and into more depth, what would Matt Redman say is at stake in the future of the church? Obviously, the church is in good hands, but how would.
Matt Redman | (16:53)
You answer that? One of the things would be we like to sing about God’s closeness and friendship, and that’s a brilliant thing to sing about. Jesus said in John 15, I’ve called you friends, and he qualifies that by saying a servant does not know his master’s business, but I’ve revealed stuff to you. So he’s basically saying there’s this self-disclosure, there’s this closeness. That’s a great theme to sing about. If you were to only sing about the friendship of the Lord and not sing about the fear of the Lord, then you would make a different disciple. And when the going really gets tough or maybe there’s pressure or even persecution or something around your faith, are you really going to just stay in the fight if he’s only your friend? Or are you going to live a different way? If all of you is this friend, it’s a very equal thing, then you’re going to live a different life. You’re going to create a different disciple than if the fear of the Lord is in the mix too. There’s decisions that you’ll make to live a holy life or to live an evangelistic life or different things like that where you’re making the decision based on the whole picture.
Matt Redman | (18:06)
I feel like if we only give people one side of the story, then we will create a different disciple. Yeah.
Alex | (18:16)
I’d love to squeeze your juicy brain about songwriting, more songs that are less about me, me, me, and more about him, him, him. I think part of your answer is going to be involving pastors in the songwriting process. But I’m curious, how are you going about writing deeper, more theologically rich songs about wider subjects? What are you doing specifically to write deeper songs? How would you encourage the worship leaders listening to apply those principles?
Matt Redman | (18:47)
Yes, I guess there’s two approaches. The second one I’m going to mention I feel more at home with feels more natural for me personally, but everyone’s different. But the first one would be that you take a theme and you say, Okay, well, people are telling me there’s not enough songs about this area. Fifteen years ago, 10 years ago, might have been The resurrection, actually. We were singing so many cross songs, but hardly any of those were getting to The resurrection. That didn’t feel like a smart move. It’s an important part of the story. We’re definitely doing a bit better on that, which is wonderful. But that would be one where you go, Okay, we don’t have enough songs on this, so I’m going to sit down, I’m going to write a song on this. You could definitely do that. You could study a bit and figure out something. For me, I’m not very good at writing like that because it doesn’t then have the passion side of it in the mix. Bonho, again, from U2, he said about songwriting, You can have a thousand ideas, but without emotion, it’s just an essay. I don’t want to write essays.
Matt Redman | (19:50)
I want songs that have truth, but also give you the sense of passion and a way of exploding around that truth. For me, I like the model of you just fuel up as much as you can over as long a period as you want, and then one day that thing’s probably going to find its way out. In the example would be actually, again, talking about Eugene Pits and the late Eugene Pits and again, he had a book called Under the Unpredictable Plant. It was about about Jonas. In this book, he talks about the moment in the belly of the where Jonas prays this very, very intense prayer. There’s a lot of passion involved in that prayer. But he says what’s interesting is it’s exploding out of him, but it’s not one phrase in that prayer is original. It’s actually all from the Psalms. What’s even more fascinating is it’s not just like, Oh, here’s the first half of this song, and then the second half of this is from another Psalm. It’s a big mash-up of all these different Psalms. It’s this idea, all your waves and break has swept over me. This idea from another Psalm, and this part from another Psalm, a hint of this for another Psalm.
Matt Redman | (21:03)
And it says it’s almost like he’s fed on that. And then this impassionate moment, it just flows out of him. What comes out of him is 100% passion, but also 100% guided by truth. He’s talking about that’s the ideal way to pray, Eushien, Peter, and my son. But actually, I think that might be a great way to songwrite too. I think that’s probably how I try and songwrite. If I think there’s a gap here in this theme and then I’ll get a few books on it, try and have a few conversations on it, listen to a few sermons on it. Then I’m not necessarily going to sit down that day right now. I’m studied up. Here we go. Sometimes you’re just being a moment and something starts to come out and it’s guided by that. What’s interesting about that approach is you might have a song on the cross and then the resurrection will find its way in there because you’ve been feeding on it so much. That’s the approach that I enjoy has worked best for me. I find that anything I write that feels just completely cerebral doesn’t really connect so well. You could say that about some of the old hymns.
Matt Redman | (22:13)
You could say they’ve got a lot of strengths and they’re ahead of us in a lot of ways, but sometimes some of them get so cerebral, but they don’t actually give you a way to respond to the truth that you’re singing. That might be, and probably that’s why some of them have been rewritten with choruses. There’s something about the verse, chorus pattern of modern songwriting, which is so helpful in worship because you can put your revelation in the verses and you can put your response in the chorus. It takes you into this beautiful cycle of revelation, response, inhale and exhale, breathing in the wonders of God and then telling in what we think about that. Actually, if you think of some of the classic songs from the last 20 years or so, Here I Am to worship does that. Verses, The one all for love’s sake he became poor. Choir, So here I am to worship, that’s my response. How great is our God? Again, he wraps himself in light and darkness tries to hide. And then so in the course, we breathe out as reply. How great is our God? King of Kings would be another one.
Matt Redman | (23:13)
So much revelation, so much of the story of God in the verse is there. But then in the course, praise the Father, praise the son. That’s a great pattern to get into. I like to think about songs as classrooms and chapels. Most often how I’ll build the song is the verse will be the classroom and the chorus will be the chapel. The verse will be the description of God. The verse will be the devotion towards God. The verse will be telling us something about who he is and his story. Then in the chorus, we get to tell him what we think about that.
Alex | (23:48)
That’s so good. Head and heart, spirit and truth, emotion and intellect, revelation and response. You’re right, it’s got to be both of those things. That’s what God wants. He wants us, our whole being, to worship him. That point you made about Eugene Peterson and the book, you’re so right because songs are really just prayers set to music, right? Absolutely. As a worship leader, worship pastor who trains other worship leaders, I can tell which of them are in the word because when they pray during the set or after at the end of the set, there’s scripture all intermingled with their prayer. I’m like, Okay, that person’s in the word. I came from a youth pastor background, and I think youth pastors, maybe it’s just because this is my background, but I think youth pastors make really good worship leaders because they’re not so concerned about the art and the creativity. They’re more concerned about shepherding and worshiping and doing it with a balance of the music and the lyrics.
Matt Redman | (24:48)
Yes, that’s so good.
Alex | (24:49)
I want to respect your time. By the way, guys, Matt is such a good dad. He’s not just a great songwriter, great worship leader. He’s in Chicago right now helping his child assemble furniture. Frustratingly difficult to put together furniture.
Matt Redman | (25:02)
It may not be that difficult. It’s just that I may be very terrible at it. I think it’s average level, but I’m so far below average that it takes me longer than the average person.
Alex | (25:12)
It must be a worship leader thing because I’m horrible at that stuff too. My wife does all that stuff for us because I’m like, I.
Matt Redman | (25:20)
Can’t do this. Yeah, my wife begs me not to. She’s like, No, just get someone else to do that. It’s not going to be have experience and my table is going wonky.
Alex | (25:29)
Oh, my gosh, that’s funny. It’s like an angled table. So where can the listeners sign up for this conference? It’s October what? October?
Matt Redman | (25:39)
October 25th. Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC. All the details are you can look on my social media. It’s all over there right now, which is Instagram would be Matt Redman Music. Twitter would be Matt_Redman or Facebook just Matt Redman. But the best place to go would be worthworship. Com, the website, worthworship. Com. Everything’s on there about the contributors, about the day and all the ticketing and stuff. Yeah, super excited about this. Love people to come. I’ve keeping encouragement from people. I think this is important, this thing. So if you can’t afford it, get your chest to send you. I’m sure they care about the glory of God. I think it’s worth fighting for. You might even live a flight away. You never know. Maybe they’ll send you on a nice little couple of days, day in the museum, a day with us. Actually, during the day, we’ll have a couple of hours in the museum. But I’m encouraging people, wherever they can, why not come for a bit longer and spend a bit longer in the museum itself? That would be a good plan too.
Alex | (26:44)
I’ll link it all up. I’ll put all your socials in the show notes and the YouTube description and I’ll put the worthworship.
Matt Redman | (26:50)
Com. You’re so kind, love that.
Alex | (26:51)
I love that title too. The worship part of Worth and then the theology part of Worth. It’s like what a great combo. That was a brilliant move right.
Matt Redman | (27:01)
There, Matt. Thank you. We got a little graphic on the trailer where it comes together, the two words to worship, to feel like it’s. And I was pretty happy. I was like, Yeah, whoever did that, you’re smart. I had the idea and the W-O-R and the TH, but I didn’t know how to express it visually, so it was great.
Alex | (27:19)
Awesome. Well, I’d love to have you give a final word of encouragement for the podcast section, and then we’re going to move into our Academy Q&A just a short time so that we can get you on your flight that’s coming up soon. But do you have just a final pastoral word for us for all the listeners listening or watching about this topic or just something that’s really on your heart for us?
Matt Redman | (27:42)
Yeah, I think what I would say is very hard to talk about these things and not for it to feel like a heavy burden. You don’t want it to feel like a heavy burden. You want it to be a challenge and something that inspires and something that, Come on, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us with this. Let’s work hard. Because at the end of the day, this is something pretty amazing we’re involved in. This is one person described worship as a glorious feast on the perfections of Christ. That’s what we’re doing here. Don’t look at this as a chore. If you’re going to jump into more study or more concentrated songwriting or bring in a pastor or a wordsmith or theologian to help you with the songwriting or starting to really think about what you’re singing over a period of time at your church, don’t look at that as a chore. This is a glorious feast on the perfections of Christ. This is a wonderful thing. This is a banquet with the King of Kings looking at and beholding the splendor, the Majesty, the mercy, the kindness, love, grace of who he is.
Matt Redman | (28:46)
Let’s not forget that along the way.
Alex | (28:49)
Yeah, that’s so good. Matt, thank you for being with us. We’re going to move into our Academy Q&A. Usually I say goodbye to all the listeners who are going to be listening after the fact. But this time I actually want to open it up so that they can hear what it’s like to be part of the Academy and be able to ask people like Matt their own questions. So for the Academy members who are watching live, we have quite a few of you. Actually, this is the most we’ve ever had, Matt. So you’re obviously the most popular guest we’ve ever had. So, Academy members, now is our time for the live Q and A, where you guys get to submit your questions. Matt’s got about maybe 10 minutes-ish that we’re going to take your questions for him. So why don’t you take a second in the YouTube chat box and type your questions for Matt. I’ll put them on the screen and Matt will drop some wisdom bombs on us.
Matt Redman | (29:37)
Matt will try and drop.
Alex | (29:40)
Some wisdom. I know I always put so much pressure on my guests, but… Okay, while they type, because sometimes it takes a while for YouTube to send the questions through to this software, I had a question that just popped into my mind. What are you most proud of in your life, Matt? You’ve done a lot of things, but what are you most proud of? The thing that just.
Matt Redman | (30:01)
Brings you the most pride? That is a good question. I don’t know if I’ve ever been asked that. That’s a very interesting question. Obviously, I don’t know if it sounds cheesy, but I don’t care. Obviously, my kids. I’ve got five kids, and nothing gives you more joy than when you see one of your kids excelling in something or following hard after God or doing something super kind for someone or having a great idea, I don’t know what it is, or achieving something that they worked hard for. I’d have to say that. I think what I love most is when you see a quality that one of your kids has that you don’t really have. I was talking about assembling that piece of furniture. I’ve got a couple of my kids who would have done it in half the time and I just love how their brain works. One of them wouldn’t even look at the instructions. He’s like, Forget that. He just already knows. Or one of them just such an amazing gift to any age, any culture, any person, he could walk into a room and engage with that person. I don’t really have that in the same way.
Matt Redman | (31:04)
Or some of them will just go into a group of 20 people, don’t know anyone, and they don’t feel any nerves about it. They’re just super excited. For me, I’d be terrified about that. I think it’s a long answer, but I’d have to say my kids for those reasons.
Alex | (31:19)
I thought that’s what you would say because there’s nothing more important than our families, really. I want the worship leaders listening to think about that. Matt has Grammys. He has probably Platinum songs. I’m not sure how it all is measured, but he’s probably the most prolific or one of the most prolific songwriters that has existed in our era. And what is his answer about what he’s most proud about, kids. I just want all of us to not put our worth in the things that we do, but the relationships we have. Thank you for exemplifying that for us. Okay, we have some questions. Coach Kelly. This is Kelly. I forgot where Kelly is, but I think she’s out in the Midwest. But one of our academy students, Kelly, is asking, How would you suggest dealing with the pastor who just wants to sing about the love of God and not dig deeper? It’s a real struggle for me, and I want to get to the meat. To the meat. The M-E-A-T.
Matt Redman | (32:18)
Yeah, great question. I think you’re going to have to pray a lot. It’s a very interesting thing when you’re under someone’s authority but you feel like you have a different direction or something to bring. Now, partly that’s just the inherent frustration of being a leader. There’s always going to be a frustration to be a leader. I’m not downplaying here. It can be really tough. It can be really stressful. It can take a lot of perseverance, and you’re going to need maybe one or two friends to confide in as you do that thing. But you have to remember that. In our moments, I remember, I’m frustrated, Richard. Now, frustrated now because I’m the leader in this area of worship and worship music. I’ve got the vision before anyone else does. If everyone else knew exactly what it’s all about and have the same vision, we wouldn’t need a leader. But I’m the leader because I’ve seen some way God wants to take us, but we’re not there yet. That’s super frustrating and honestly, a bit more frustrating if those in authority of you aren’t carrying that. You’ve just got to walk that dead-tight road of never being rebellious, being humble might be painful at times, honestly, but just keep choosing to respect and serve, come under authority.
Matt Redman | (33:44)
But whenever you have the moment or the possibility of speaking into that moment, into that situation, do it and pray for those moments and try and exemplify. Here’s a song that I really love right now and why I love this is I’d love us to sing as a church because it helps us see a real big picture of God. Almost so that when we sing about the love of God, it’s going to amplify that because singing about the love of God is amazing. But if you first sing about the one who holds all things together and he’s in all things and he’s the maker and creative, always sustains all things, you paint this massive picture and then you say, How could a God like that love us? This is crazy. This is amazing. If you really value the love, you’ll sing the other stuff because it amplifies the love. It makes the love appear even more amazing. So a long answer and not an easy one at all. But the last thing I would say on it is don’t overestimate in these moments what you can achieve in a couple of months and don’t underestimate what you can achieve in a couple of years.
Matt Redman | (34:51)
Sometimes these things are the slow journey and but you can look back sometimes over a few weeks and you think we’re in the same place. We look back two years and think, No, we’ve really moved on. We’ve really grown in this area and now we’re seeing this more and we’ve more freedom in this area. So try and encourage yourself by that thinking too.
Alex | (35:13)
Yeah, thank you. Okay, Joe Edd from Canada is one of our academy students. He’s asking, How do you handle focusing on making it all about the Lord, yet at the same time being acknowledged for how well you are pointing people to God? I think he’s talking about when we’re leading on stage, how do you handle compliments? I think that’s, Joeed, if I’m misrepresenting your question, please let us know in the chat. But how do you handle focusing on making up about the Lord while still being acknowledged? Especially, I think he’s asking for you. You’re very accomplished. How do you handle all the influence that God’s given you and keep fighting down the pride and pointing it back to God? Maybe that would be an.
Matt Redman | (35:55)
Interesting way to approach that. Essentially, you just have to fight to make sure it doesn’t become part of your identity, because very easy as human beings to feed off that stuff and then you want it to continue. You’re like, Okay, that made me feel good when someone said that about me. So then you want more of it. Then if you’re not careful after a while, it becomes your identity. I only feel right when people are saying nice things about me. It’s really important. Here’s how I do it. In the really great moments and the really encouraging moments, something fantastic happened in ministry or something. We had a wonderful service or we finished a song that you’re so happy with, or someone gave you a huge compliment that’s way more than you needed or deserved. Those are the moments where at the end of the day, I’ll just take a moment, sometimes get down on my knees and just remind myself, Okay, that was really nice, but I don’t want to feed off that. Like Jesus, humble myself. I’m going to remind myself it’s all about you. That wasn’t for me. I don’t even think I did that.
Matt Redman | (37:04)
That was probably you. You just take a moment to remind yourself to make sure that you’re not taking that on in any unhealthy way. I think that’s what I’ve done. Sometimes God provides these opportunities for you. I remember years and years ago, I was leading at Wembley Stadium in England with a few other worship teams, and it was this beautiful day in the UK, tens of thousands of people in the stadium. But I’d already been scheduled before that to be part of this streets mission the next day, which would be in some town center with people walking by and we just singing some worship songs. I just thought that is so God to bring me back to reality so quickly. Actually, you remind me it’s not about numbers or it’s not about these big things. It happens quite a lot. The the night where I won a couple of Grammys, the next morning I was in Los Angeles, I opened up an email and it was from a lady who said, My uncle passed away last night and there was about 30 of us in his room singing 10,000 reasons over him as he went to be with Jesus and took his final breaths here on the earth.
Matt Redman | (38:19)
It was just like God’s way of reminding me, Yeah, that last night was cause, and I trusted you something. I guess it’s all part of the entrustment. Great, but this morning, this is what it’s about. This is bringing me back. This is giving me perspective. Anything like that, sometimes you have to do it yourself. Sometimes God so kindly does it for you. But those moments where you just take a step back, get perspective, remind yourself who this is about, who it’s not about. You know the really cool thing, it’s a long answer, but just to add, the real great stuff is when you see God do something that’s immeasurable. You couldn’t claim any part of it anyway. Like if someone becomes a Christian when you’re leading worship, that wasn’t me, that was the hoax. Or something gets the breath of God on it and gets momentum to it. You just know that it’s not me doing that. I love those things. I love the stuff you can’t put on a chart. A lot of things we do, you can say there’s this many people in the service, or I led this many times this week, or I’ve written this many songs.
Matt Redman | (39:26)
But I love the stuff you can’t put on charts and graphs. I love the stuff you think, Wow, that’s the hand of God. I wouldn’t dare go near claiming that was me. Let’s just get on my face, remind myself that was Him. Also say thank you Lord for trusting me with being a tiny part of this. Thank you for letting me be around something so sacred and beautiful.
Alex | (39:47)
Yeah, that’s so good. If you want to keep perspective, everybody, go to a lot of funerals. Nothing puts life in perspective like funerals. Also, try to do a lot of ministry where you’re praying for people who are really hurting and broken. Be at the front desk of your church and take phone calls and pray for people. That’s a good way to- That’s so good.
Matt Redman | (40:05)
To add to that, do some things that are unseen. I don’t care if it’s picking up trash, wiping the toilet seat. I don’t know what it is, but do something where only you and God knew you did it and you’re not going to get any applause or acclaim or even encouragement. That’s pretty healthy if you’re doing a lot of stuff on the stage.
Alex | (40:24)
That’s good. Okay, let’s do a quick question from Solomon. He’s from Texas, one of our newer Academy members. He says, How many people should be involved in a songwriting session? You can make this just pretty short. What’s your favorite number?
Matt Redman | (40:37)
Well, I love three because you get some lovely flow of ideas, but also you don’t get into this voting thing of like, Well, we’ve got two ideas here. Which one are we going to go for? When you’re writing with two people, you have to take more care in that area. But Three, always someone’s going to get outvoted, so you move pretty quickly. I like three. Four is great too. I still write on my own sometimes, but I so value writing with other people. If you’re not cowriting yet, find your people. If you’re strong at melody, find some strong words. If and vice versa and just get in a room and sharpen each other. It’s a great thing to do.
Alex | (41:22)
Yeah, that’s good. As you’re answering, I’m looking through the questions. There’s a lot. We basically got time for probably one more. I’m trying to pick the ones that I think will hit the most amount of people, guys. Forgive me if I don’t pick yours. I love you, all of you anyway. Let’s see. Tiago from Brazil, he is one of our academy students. Love you, Tiago. Glad you’re here. What are your views on local church composers, songwriters making more of what is sung in their communities rather than playing the Spotify top 10 hits? I guess local writing versus using what’s out there, I guess, is the core. Would you have any thoughts about that?
Matt Redman | (42:03)
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s cool when you’ve got these songs that you know the whole church is singing. I remember when the song Waymaker came out of Africa and started flying around the world and it flew around the world so quickly. I just thought, Oh, this is really cool. We’re singing a song that’s written in Africa and it seems like the global church is singing this right now in so many streams of the church. There’s something lovely and valuable and special about that. But I definitely big fan of writing things for your own congregation. If you can write something that’s Biblical, congregational, poetic, relevant, but it’s also family. It’s like your family song. It’s like everyone knows this is great because this is all the same truth we always sing, but this was written by our congregation, by our family. It came up from within our midst here. There’s an extra special dynamic about that for sure and I would love that. I think the question is so right that if you do that, it’s actually a great way of making sure you’re thinking about what you’re singing to because you can fill in the gaps and you can really work hard to do that.
Matt Redman | (43:11)
I definitely think it can be a danger sometimes if some song is coming out and they’re so appealing and on a musical level that they get past all our filters because we think, Oh, I’ve got to sing this. The classic one would be the opening song. We’re so desperate for those opening songs and those up-tempo things that as soon as one comes along this half-decent, we’re all over it. But it’s really important still to think about what we’re singing in those songs. Yeah, that’s a great question.
Alex | (43:44)
Matt, do you have plans to or do you already have some songwriting course because you got to do something?
Matt Redman | (43:52)
That’s a good question. At some point we might do a little three-day thing with these word things where we have time for songwriting as well. I would dearly love that. But we’ll see if we get some momentum with this thing. Then my favorite things are being around songwriters. I’ve been teaching songwriting at Bioley University here in California for a little bit. We’re not here because I’m in Chicago right now. Whenever I can be around some songwriters and stir each other up, I love that so much.
Alex | (44:23)
Well, let’s make you a real legit online course that you can distribute globally and impact the world and raise up the whole next generation of songwriters. We’ll pray that into existence. I want to acknowledge Pete and Jalisa, Heather, Melissa, Jared, and Chester. Sorry, and Jesse. Sorry, I didn’t get to answer you guys’ questions. I also want to acknowledge Matt. Thank you, Matt, just for your faithfulness to day by day, step by step, obeying the Lord, walking through the doors he’s given to you, being faithful to each opportunity. Not that you did it perfectly because none of us do, but just for your consistent faithfulness. Thank you for being a forerunner for so many of us. I mean, all of us grew up with your music, and all of us have been impacted by your music, and all of us have used your music to impact our churches and to disciple our people. I just want to acknowledge you and thank you so much for your impact on me, for your impact on us and for your impact on the world and all glory to God, obviously. But thank you for being faithful to Matt. I’d love to pray for you and send you on your plane.
Alex | (45:36)
Welcome. So, Academy members, if you’re joining me live, let’s pray for Matt right now and just pray that God continues to use and bless him and guide him. So thank you, Father, for Matt. Thank you that you knew him before the foundation of the world. Thank you that you ordained every day of his life, Lord. Thank you that you pre-planned good works for him, that he might walk in them, and that you’ve given him the strength each day, Lord, to step into your purpose and your plan for his life. I pray you would continue to unfold your plan for Matt’s life, especially as he’s moving into this global initiative of helping worship leaders get back to theology. And I pray God that there would be so much positive fruit from this that it would really gain steam and momentum, and that even if it doesn’t have as big of a hit initially that he thinks that he wouldn’t lose heart or grow weary of doing good, Lord. So just give him the strength to snowball this thing because it’s worth doing, pun intended. And so, Lord, I just pray God that you would bless Matt.
Alex | (46:40)
Thank you that he’s not just a godly worship leader, but he is a godly father helping his children today. I pray God, as he travels, that you would protect him. I pray you bless his family, bless his kids, bless his marriage, God, and continue to use him and continue to protect him. And Lord, protect all of us, God, because we all have giant targets on our backs and our foreheads from the enemy because we are helping people commune with you and he hates that. So protect us all. But protect and bless Matt today and for the rest of his life in Jesus’ name, Amen. Amen. Matt, thank you, academy members. Thank you, guys. And we’ll see you later. Thank you. Thanks for tuning in today. I hope this episode encouraged you, helped you and pushed you forward in your ministry. If it helped you, can you take a second and help us by sending it to just one person that you think needs to hear this? If you’re feeling extra nice, leave us a nice shiny five-star review on Apple Podcasts or like this video if you’re watching it on YouTube. If you want to discuss this episode or ask questions, we do have a free section in our academy where you can post comments and questions and chat with other worship leaders just like you and also sample some of our courses.
Alex | (47:49)
You can go to worshipministrytraining. Com/free to join us inside the free portion of the academy. If you’re looking for more, check out the full Access Academy. You can get 15 days for just one dollar to start and try things out. Again, you can try all of it for 15 days for just one dollar by going to worshipministrytraining. Com. Hope to see you inside the academy or else I’ll see you next month for another helpful episode.