Meet & Greet: Matt Redman
- Debra Akins Contributing Writer
- 2004 7 Jul
Whenever I record a new album, it’s really not about saying, ‘Here’s another Matt Redman product,’ it’s more like saying, ‘Here are some songs. If anyone wants to use them, go for it.’ That’s the heart behind it – the songs,” says worship leader Matt Redman. Considered one of the most prolific songwriters in today’s modern worship movement, Redman’s name is synonymous with integrity and his songs, “Heart of Worship,” “Better Is One Day,” “Let My Words Be Few,” “Once Again” and others, have impacted congregations across the world and have been recorded by such popular artists as Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Sonicflood and more.
“I’m passionate about writing songs for the church,” Redman admits. “So what I’m always doing with an album is just recording new songs that hopefully people might find helpful in their worship—in the car or wherever they are gathered together in a congregation.”
Redman is always in songwriting mode to some degree, he says, and always on the lookout for ideas and inspiration. “I can look back on the past few years of writing songs and see what God has been doing in my life,” says Redman. “It’s a bit like journaling. It’s just part of me and it’s how I let my heart overflow before God. When you’ve poured out your heart to God in a little room somewhere, and one day you visit a church in another country and they’re singing your song, you’re always encouraged because that’s what the songs are for. It makes me more passionate about trying to write songs in a way that lots of different people can sing them. That’s the heart behind it all.”
With the release of his latest CD, Facedown, Redman has once again captured the heart of true worship with a collection of new songs that provide fresh insight and inspiration. The album was recorded live at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., as part of a three-day conference called Facedown: A Gathering for Songwriters. “Every night it felt like we had an encounter with God,” Redman recalls. “I can probably only count about eight or nine times in my whole life when I felt something like that. It felt like, ‘Wow, God is just drawing very close to us tonight.’ I think many people left changed. I know I did. There was such a sense of God’s glory shining around.”
The album’s focus is a reflection of Redman’s passion about rediscovering true reverence in the act of worship—what he refers to as “facedown” worship. It was the theme of the songwriter’s conference and became the title of the new album, a DVD and Redman’s third book, releasing this summer. “It was probably crazy to try to do all of these projects at the same time,” he admits, “but I’m really passionate about the whole theme. So much of worship that goes on in scripture is face down. And when you find a face-down worshiper in scripture, those people have seen the glory of God. When we face up to the glory of God, we find ourselves face down in worship. For me it’s like the ultimate physical posture of reverence, full of all the wonders, mystery and greatness of God.
“This theme of reverence has been like a snowball that has continued to grow bigger with me,” Redman continues. “I think we’ll never get the full expression of what we know to be true of God, in terms of how great He is. Even the little glimpse that we see—it’s very hard to convey that adequately in a song. I guess I’m on a quest to paint a bigger picture of God.”
According to Redman, seeing this year’s blockbuster motion picture The Passion of the Christ provided new inspiration in his quest to communicate through song who Christ really is. “It made me feel very inadequate as a songwriter. I’ve tried before to form a few words and somehow paint a picture of the Cross, but hen you see something like The Passion of the Christ and think, ‘Wow, I need to step up my game.’ It just painted such a picture of the, the power, the agony and the mystery of the Cross. The first thing I felt was inspired as a songwriter. I wanted to get out and write about the Cross and give it my all and try to poetically and scripturally come up around it stronger than ever.
“I think this movie gave everyone a reference point about the Cross. You might have been a Christian for years, but never seen such a graphic depiction of the Cross. I felt like it awakened something in me. I feel like in this culture today people don’t have a reference point of the Cross. So it’s a wonderful thing that so many millions of people are going to see this film who would never usually find themselves thinking about the Cross. That’s a wonderful head start for those of us in the Church. When these folks come through the door at church, they now have a reference point for what we’re talking about.”
Redman’s influence on the modern worship scene is so prevalent that it has afforded him many opportunities to help mentor other songwriters and worship leaders in the field. His participation on the Heartofworship.com website is a major priority, as well as his regular involvement with worship conferences and teaching sessions around the world.
“I’m really passionate about training songwriters, and I’d really love to do more,” Redman shares. “I teach on worship leading, but I feel more and more passionate about the art of songwriting, and how to develop that craft within church congregations. I believe if you’re going to be a songwriter for the church, you need to be a pastor – meaning you have to have a heart for the people. If you want to write for the people of God, you need to care about people more than you care about poetry. You have to really have a heart as a pastor, a proclaimer – someone who puts truth into song. The heart of a prophet. Our songs should be both timely and timeless – timeless because they’re full of truth, but timely because God might be highlighting a particular truth in that particular season.”
As Redman continues to be an inspiration in worship settings around the world, he is committed to the role God has placed on his life for this season. Whether it’s providing a new crop of songs for congregational worship or mentoring new songwriters and worship leaders of tomorrow, he has become one of the defining artists of this generation