10 Questions With Stuart Townend
- Tuesday, May 27, 2003
S4W.com: What does 'worship lifestyle' mean to you?
Townend: A worship lifestyle for me means being 'God conscious' in the daily routine of life. It's something I'm really trying to work on at the moment because so much of my time and attention is devoted to the context of the congregational worship meeting. And yet when I read the New Testament, it has very little to say about our worship services, but a lot to say about a worshipping heart in the other six days and 22 hours of each week! So I'm trying to learn to give thanks in everything, appreciate his daily mercies, hear him speak as I work through the day, bless others with acts of kindness and confess my sin when I lose my cool or act selfishly. This, I believe, is the sacrifice of worship that God requires.
S4W.com: This is kind of the desert island question. What are the five ministry essentials you could not do without?
Townend: A Bible, music manuscript paper to write down song ideas (I have a terrible memory), a rhyming dictionary, a piano, and a guitar. Oh, and a guitar pick...
S4W.com: How do you explain the powerful connection between music and worship expression?
Townend: Music is clearly a powerful way to express yourself, not only in augmenting the impact of words, but in communicating on levels that words cannot. As such, it's ideally suited to the expression of truth in a memorable way, the expression of emotions that words can't contain and the dynamic of the Holy Spirit touching us in ways that words can't express.
S4W.com: Describe one of the most compelling, most powerful worship experiences you've had and tell how that affected you as a worshiper and as a leader since that time.
Townend: There was a time a few years ago in many churches, including our own, when the presence of God was so intense as we worshipped that there were many extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit. On one particular occasion I was leading worship with David Fellingham (another UK worship leader), and we reached a point not unlike the description in 1 Kings 8, where the cloud of God's presence descended and the priests couldn't minister. I stood there, not daring to move, let alone say anything, for the presence of God was so strong! It's made me realize how superficial we can be sometimes. We talk a lot about the presence of God, but if He were to reveal to us even the tiniest glimpse of His glory, I don't think we'd be singing our happy little songs. We'd be on our faces, or maybe running out of the room!
S4W.com: What compels you to write new songs for worship?
Townend: I'm really motivated by the opportunity to put truth into the mouths and hearts of people through a song. Truth is so vital-the truth about God and about how He sees us-it needs to be the foundation of our worship times. Truth brings revelation, and revelation brings change in our lives.
S4W.com: What person has influenced your ministry/your music the most and how?
Townend: I've been influenced by many people through books and sermons, as well as through personal relationships. Central in my formative years were my parents, especially my father, who was a Church of England minister. In the last ten years David Fellingham has had a huge influence, not only theologically and in leading worship, but in his passion for God, and his willingness to step out in faith and see God work.
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