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Intersection of Life and Faith

Catching Up With ...Tim Hughes

  • Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 30 Apr
Catching Up With ...Tim Hughes
How has your life changed since "Here I Am to Worship" went huge?Tim Hughes It's been a crazy and wonderful journey. Life has definitely become a lot more full and busy. I think one of the key things it has done is to allow me to step out in what I'm passionate about, leading worship and writing songs for the church.One of the main things I do now is to lead a school of worship called "Worship Central." The vision is to train and equip worship leaders and musicians to be a blessing to the local church. We run training days, retreats, a website, as well as other resources. It's been amazing, and "Here I Am to Worship" has definitely paved the way.Is there a downside to writing a worldwide smash?Hughes Perhaps the only struggle at times has been getting caught up in trying to replicate the success of the song. You can put a pressure on yourself and feel disappointed when other songs don't match "Here I Am to Worship." However, I now feel happy with the fact that different songs are used in different ways.I had an e-mail from someone who went through a major brain operation; it was very much touch and go. All through the ordeal he said a couple of lines from another of my songs were running through his mind giving him strength, hope and courage. For me that's amazingly encouraging. My role is to be a worshipper, writing songs out of the overflow of my heart. As long as I continually push myself to be the best songwriter I can be, then how the song is used is up to God.Quick takes:

Where are you from originally?
High Wycombe, just outside London.

Favorite place you've traveled to?
South Africa

Best meal you prepare?
Baked beans on toast!

Pet peeve?
Arrogance. People totally full of themselves get under my skin.

Your most annoying habit?
Correcting my wife. Why, oh why do I do it?!

What makes you laugh?
The Office, Peter Kay, Dumb and Dumber, and my wife.

Last good book you read?
God on Mute by Pete Greig

Last good movie you saw?
Little Miss Sunshine

Band/artist you're listening to the most right now?
Arcade Fire

Band/artist that comes closest to your sound?
Coldplay and The Killers (although I think it's more that I come closer to their sound!)

Song you wish you'd written?
"Fix You" by Coldplay

Age you became a Christian?
I grew up in a Christian home, but became serious about following God when I was 11.

Your favorite Bible verse?
Psalm 34:7

Last lesson God taught you?
A phrase I've been chewing over recently: "I am loved by God and I love God, therefore I'm successful." My worth and success will never ultimately be found in what I do, but being loved by God and responding to that initiating love.

On Holding Nothing Back, you went for a louder, more rocking approach. Why?Hughes It captured both lyrically and musically the place I'm in. Worship is about surrender, holding nothing back and giving our all in response to the One who gave his everything for us. These are the days to be daring, exuberant and passionate; these are not times for half-hearted, apathetic worship. In the way I lead worship and in the songs I've been writing, I've been trying to push myself—to be more honest, raw and authentic in my response to our great God. Musically I was keen to push things out as well. Going into the project I had what I called the three E's—I wanted the record to be edgy, epic and emotive. So every arrangement, every vocal, every guitar part, we were trying to push it to the max. I hope that passion is captured in the album.You've expressed frustration at worshippers who simply go through the motions. What's the cause for apathetic expressions of praise? Hughes I wonder if partly in the West we have so much that we don't need God as much. I mean we've got our nice houses, great careers, flashy cars, exotic vacations and designer clothes. These in themselves aren't necessarily wrong, but if we're not careful it can dull our passion for Christ. Often when I find myself becoming apathetic, I realize it's because I'm relying on myself, rather than throwing myself on the mercy of God. Nothing fuels worship more than realizing the wonder of our Almighty God and recognizing our total need for him. When we recognize God for who he is, we can't help but respond wholeheartedly.What can worship leaders do to shake up apathy?Hughes I think we need to step out and lead with our hearts on our sleeves—to model true worship in the lives that we lead and in the songs that we sing. The great evangelist John Wesley was once asked to explain his secret. He simply said, "Every morning I wake up and set myself on fire for Jesus, and then I go out and people watch me burn." Imagine that—thousands of worship leaders burning with zeal for Christ. That would certainly shake things up!For more about Tim Hughes, check out his artist page on our site. You can read our review of his latest, Holding Nothing Back, by clicking here. To listen to clips and buy his music, please visit© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.