Chris Tomlin: Songs For the People
When worship artist Chris Tomlin looks back on 2011, it holds significant milestones, among them the birth of his baby girl and the release of How Great Is Our God: The Essential Collection, a long-awaited compilation of his best-loved songs. Yet as 2012 gets underway, it's obvious the Texas-born artist's contribution to worship music has only just begun.
He's gearing up for a March tour in Canada, which will take him to eight cities, including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary. This trek is the latest leg of Tomlin's successful "And If Our God is For Us Tour" and will feature All Sons & Daughters as the opening act.
Of course, these days Tomlin is still basking in the glow of Passion 2012, a four-day gathering in Atlanta which drew 42,000 students from 31 countries. Responding to the call to "do something now," attendees donated $3.3 million in support of more than 20 projects dedicated to the prevention and rescue of more than 27 million people trapped in slavery around the world. In addition to monetary gifts, students donated 150,000 socks and 36,000 towels to Atlanta’s homeless shelters – enough to supply them for more than a year.
For those who missed this year's event, sixstepsrecords will release a new live record March 13 featuring performances by Tomlin, David Crowder*Band, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels and Kristian Stanfill. Passion founder Louie Giglio announced that Passion 2013 will again be held in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
One of the highlights came when worship leaders from all over the world joined Tomlin to sing “How Great is Our God” in their native languages. (Here’s the YouTube clip.)
The performance gave Tomlin a chance to recreate one of the most compelling moments on The Essential Collection. The hits package features “How Great is Our God (World Edition),” a new version of the well-loved worship anthem featuring an international cast of worship leaders.
"I don’t think I’ll ever record anything like it again in my life," says Tomlin. "I just bawled listening to it, thinking [about] writing this years ago and now to be listening to it in all these languages from around the world... it’s one of the most humbling things in my life and continues to be. Every time, I get chills.”
The Essential Collection is a 15-track disc that includes “Forever,” “Our God,” “Jesus Messiah,” “Holy is the Lord,” “Indescribable” and other songs that have defined the worship movement during the past decade. However, Tomlin doesn’t view his latest release as a greatest hits project. Instead he is genuinely thankful and amazed at the impact his songs have had on the church.
"You are looking at songs that for the most part aren’t really attached to me as a person," he says. "They’ve just become songs people have sung in their church in whatever country or language and that’s so powerful. It’s been awesome to be able to have songs on the radio and to have that kind of success as well, but it goes deeper than that. There’s a whole deeper way of measuring when you are thinking of the kind of impact these songs have had in the church.
"I really just stand in awe of it and I know that it’s just God’s favor. It’s just His hand upon these songs. I always say that He is the greatest publisher, the greatest agent, the greatest manager because He puts songs in the church. He is the wind in the sails. It’s really, really humbling. I look at these songs and their impact and just kind of shake my head sometimes that I get to be a part of it."
After having been at the forefront of the modern worship movement for a decade now, where does Tomlin see the music heading in the future?
"I feel that where worship music comes from is the church," he tells watchgmctv.com. "It’s unique in that it’s not an industry. It’s not pop, rock or country or a genre. It’s your heart pouring out to God. It’s unique to the church and it should be... When I say ‘church,’ I’m talking about people. I’m not talking about a building or bricks or signs. I’m talking about people and the heart of the church just to worship God. That’s the essence of it. I just want to keep that spirit about myself and 10 years from now, it probably won’t be exactly the same sound I had 10 years ago. Styles come and go, but the spirit of it is everything.”
After a decade, Tomlin still feels like he has far to go. “It’s just the middle of the journey,” he says. “I’m still on the same path, wanting to write songs. I feel like God has given me a gift to do this. He is in control and ordering my steps, so I’m just trusting that for the next decade as well."
Copyright 2012, watchgmctv.com. For permission to repost or reprint, click here.
About the Writer
Deborah Evans Price has covered Christian/Gospel music for Billboard magazine since 1994. She also contributes regularly to CountryWeekly, CMA Close Up, Devo’Zine, Christian Single, HomeLife, BMI Music World, and other publications. A Nashville resident since 1983, Deborah has held editorial posts at Radio & Records, Country News, American Songwriter and Billboard. Amy Grant, Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, Charlie Daniels, 3 Doors Down, Third Day, Don Henley, Bon Jovi, Chris Rice, Sandra Bullock, Mercy Me, Alan Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Steven Curtis Chapman are among her many interviews. Additionally, she's a sought-after music industry analyst who has been interviewed on CNN, MSNBC, TNN, The Today Show, and ABC PrimeTime Live, among other outlets.Deborah is a member of the Gospel Music Association's board of directors and a graduate of Leadership Music. She resides south of Nashville with her husband, Gary, and son Trey.
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