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Intersection of Life and Faith

Catching Up with ...Matt Redman

  • Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 5 Feb
Catching Up with ...Matt Redman
Unlike your past projects, Beautiful News seems more a response to today's darker current events. Why do you think it's important to write worship about these headier topics?Matt Redman: As Christians, we can't escape from pain in this world—whether that's going through hard seasons personally or watching our loved ones do the same. But here's our distinctive: Even in the darkest and most disturbing moments, as real and as painful as they might be, we stand on an even greater reality. It's the truth of God who never lets go and never loses control. The One who never changes—always good and merciful, always strong and mighty to save. Standing on the unshakeable truth of our God, we can make it through the storms of life. More than that, we find that we have a song in our hearts. For even in the toughest times, we look at Jesus and find plenty of reasons to continue singing out His praise and calling on His name.So how does our faith in God and our worship help shine light in a dark world? How can it transcend all the other cultural messages being sent?Redman: When we lift up the name of Jesus in worship, it overflows into evangelism. My hope is this new album might do that. With a song like "Beautiful News" where Christians can celebrate the gospel, I hope it might also speak truth to those who don't know Christ. But remember, worship is not just about songs. It's our lives, so one of the main ways our worship to God can shine in this world is through lives lived out in service and devotion. As the church, we need to impact our communities, comfort the broken, free the oppressed, and feed the poor. These things are worship while also sending out a message of what the heart of God looks like in this world.On more of a personal level, what was going on in your life when these songs were written? Redman: A while back, my wife Beth and I were in a really painful situation. She had just had another miscarriage, and it happened to be the week of the London bombings. So out of us flowed "You Never Let Go," a little song of faith and trust. But here's the cool part. A while later she was pregnant again, and things were going really well. We came out of the ultrasound scan, having seen our little baby on the screen, and the idea for "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" popped into my head. Beth and I ended up writing it together as a celebration of the miracle of God's creation, and a challenge to use the lives he's given us for His glory. Back in September 2005, Beth gave birth to our fantastic little son Rocco. He is an amazing blessing. Quick takes:

Where are you from originally?
Watford, England.

Favorite place you've traveled to?
Cape Town, South Africa.

Best meal you prepare?
I am hopeless in the kitchen. Probably salad!

Pet peeve?
Spam email.

Your most annoying habit?
Constantly changing the TV channel, hoping for a better option.

What makes you laugh?
Being on tour with my friends Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio.

Your favorite web site? —I like the news coverage.

Last good book you read?
I'm just reading This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin—interesting stuff.

Last good movie you saw?
The Queen

Band/artist you're listening to the most right now?
Duke Special—he's a musician from Ireland.

Band/artist that comes closest to your sound?
My fellow Brit and close friend, Tim Hughes.

Age you became a Christian?
Age 10, at a Luis Palau event.

Your favorite Bible verse?
John 1:14

Last lesson God taught you?
Through the calm and the storm, He never lets go.

When I look at these two songs together, I see a tough journey with a beautiful ending, and I'm thankful to God for His kindness and care. I know it doesn't always end that way for everyone. There are some painful things that people carry all through their lives and never get closure on. But in every situation, we take heart that the suffering we encounter here on earth is nothing compared with the glory that will be revealed in us in heaven. And that truly is beautiful news!It's wonderful that you can find spiritual significance out of a difficult circumstance like that, but are there times when you as a worship leader feel spiritually drained from pouring so much out in a regular basis? Redman: Yes, there are. Worship is about revelation and response, so sometimes when we're finding it hard to respond, it's because we haven't been plugging into the revelation of God. In other words, we must not let our "output" exceed our "input," or we'll end up running dry. Getting into the word of God more is always a great way to fuel the fire.It sometimes seems like worship leaders are expected to create "hits" like rock stars. Do you ever feel industry pressure to deliver another standard like "Blessed Be Your Name" or "The Heart of Worship?"Redman: I don't really feel that pressure. I'm not quite sure how any of my songs ever flew around like that anyway—I can't even read music! It's a great reminder that it must have been God and not me.What was it like working with established songwriters like Martin Smith (Delirious) and Paul Baloche this time around? Redman: Co-writing is great because it's part of how we're meant to work in the God's kingdom. There are times to write a song alone, but there's no place for lone rangers in God's church. I've been learning that inviting other folk into my songwriting process can be really powerful.I'm really encouraged by the songs I wrote with Paul and Martin—certainly both people I look up to as songwriters and worshippers. I've written five songs now with Martin, all of them up-tempo with an outward looking focus. I feel like it's been a great partnership.For more about Matt Redman and his music, visit our site's artist page. You can read our review of Beautiful News by clicking here. And be sure to visit to find his albums and listen to sound clips.© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.