Meet & Greet Kathryn Scott
- 2003 19 Nov
Kathryn Scott saw ministry close up from an early age. Her parents worked full time for a traveling evangelist with "Dad doing all the PA and recording of radio programs, and Mum as the soloist who also wrote her own songs," she says. As a result, she decided to follow Jesus at the age of three and never looked back. Perhaps inspired by her mother's creative output, Scott got an early start at songwriting as well, penning her first tune when she was just nine years old. But while her course may have seemed set, there were many twists and turns ahead before she would become the world-renowned worship songwriter and leader she is today.
First among the hurdles was Scott's lack of desire to lead worship. "[It] was the last thing in the world I wanted to do before I started," she says. "I had played in lots of worship bands and occasionally led the odd song or two, but I was dreadful at the leading part! I just thought it was something I would never do, and that that would be a good thing for everyone."
But marriage, a move to Glasgow and a persistent senior pastor forced her to rethink that. At her pastor's request, she gave worship leading another go. Not that she didn't still have doubts. "In fear and trepidation I took it on," she says, "and the Lord in His mercy showed up."
Brian Doerksen also made an appearance around that same time, changing the course of her life in ways she couldn't have imagined back in 1997, when she accepted a chance invitation to a day retreat for songwriters. Despite her love of songwriting, she and her college sweetheart, Alan, both had theology degrees and were set on a life of church planting. But something changed that day.
"As soon as I heard [Doerksen] speak, something started to burn in my heart," she says, adding "I have never experienced anything like it before or since. I simply knew that God was calling me to a similar thing as Brian." Secure that God would bring to pass what she felt she had heard Him promise on that day, Scott went about her daily life and waited for the doors to open.
And open they did. Doerksen agreed to mentor Scott, along with nearly a dozen other Vineyard worship leaders in the U.K. and she was on her way. Her song "Hungry," written after a three-year dry spell, became the title track to a popular worship compilation and it seems a worship CD can't come out of Great Britain these days without at least one of her songs on it.
Despite the way her music has been embraced by churches around the world, Scott spends most days living quietly in the town of Portstewart, on Northern Ireland's North Coast. While she sets aside two days a week for songwriting, much of her time is taken up tending to an inquisitive two-year-old and to the needs of Causeway Coast Vineyard churches, which she and Alan pastor. "So I sort of lead a double life," she jokes.
It was those responsibilities that almost made her pass up the opportunity to record a disc of her own. "I wasn't sure if it was really for me—life is so full already!—and so I almost turned it down," she says. "But then, I heard the voice of the Lord quietly speaking to me. I spent many months after that, seeking Him to make sure I wasn't getting it wrong. During that time, He spoke so many times and through so many different circumstances and people, that I just knew I had to take it forward."
The result of all that prayerful consideration is Satisfy, a thoughtful disc of songs that came out of a particularly prolific period that changed the way she approaches songwriting.
"Until I started to write for this album, I always waited until I had something to say. As a result, I wrote about 1 song a year," Scott explains. Knowing a whole album would require her to be a bit more productive, Kathryn began setting aside weekly time to write. But she was skeptical that this sort of "inspiration on demand" would work. "To be truthful, I didn't think that the discipline thing would work... but I was shocked to pieces by what happened!" In a period of seven months, she wrote 13 songs, six of which wound up on Satisfy.
In ways, Scott's career as a worship leader and songwriter has been a bit of whirlwind, and no one is more surprised by the way it's taken off than her. "I'm chuffed to pieces with everything that has happened so far. None of it was on my 'planning radar' so I tend to think of everything that comes my way as a total bonus."
So maybe it's not such a surprise that music doesn't necessarily factor into Scott's future plans. When asked where she sees herself 10 years down the road, she plans to still be firmly planted in the Irish soil, "a little older, with older children, pastoring a church that has planted many more, still in love with my husband, still hungry for God in a way that consumes my life."
Not that there isn't room for surprises, she agrees, adding "who knows what else. The unwritten chapters belong firmly in the hands of the Lord."