Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Matt Redman - The Heart of a Worship Leader

  • 1999 11 Nov
Matt Redman - The Heart of a Worship Leader
[Editor's Note: This month God presented us with several features all centered on Worship. I think He's trying to tell us something We hope you enjoy this interview with Matt Redman, the first of several features from Jeff Deyo of SONICFLOOd, as well as Paul Guffey's column on Developing Students To Lead Worship! - Scott A. Shuford, Musician Resources on The Music Channel at]

By Bruce Adolph, courtesy of {{Christian Musician}} Magazine

When I reviewed {{Matt Redman}}'s latest worship CD, ==The Heart of Worship==, I knew that it was something special. There was a stripped-down honesty about the record that I appreciated. I gave it to some pastor friends, and their reaction was as positive as mine. They not only loved the music but the "get real with Jesus" approach to the lyrics really ministered to them. It's the kind of worship record that you can let play a couple of times through and it doesn't get old. I found myself wanting to dwell in it for a while.

With the combined responses of myself and my pastor friends, I thought it might be high time to introduce you to {{Matt Redman}}, a 24-year-old worship leader at Soul Survivor Church in England.

CM: You're writing well-crafted and intensely personal songs of worship with themes about holiness, intercession and intimacy in worship, and you are just 24 years old. What is your musical background and who influenced your sense of worship?

MR: I don't have much of a musical background at all. I can't even read music. Around the age of thirteen I was really starting to get a hunger to worship God through songs, and I felt like I'd like to learn the guitar so I could play the songs at home, and maybe even lead worship at some point. I had an old guitar that I'd played for a bit a few years before, so I got started pretty quickly. Probably the biggest influence, in terms of gaining a sense of what worship through music can be, is the {{Vineyard}} movement. I'd never heard such powerful, personal, yet Biblical songs before, and had never realized that we could actually meet with God as we sing to him.

CM: The song "Heart of Worship" was born from a time of real soul-searching at your own church. Tell us the story behind the song.

MR: It seemed like we'd lost something at our church. There's a dynamic that occurs in worship when people throw themselves into it, bringing an offering to God, and he inhabits our praise in a wonderful way. It felt like we'd lost that. So the pastor made a brave move: he "banned" the band! For a while we just led worship with an acoustic guitar, or sometimes just voices. One time, we decided to worship without music altogether. Even though music is such a wonderful way of expressing our devotion to God, we wanted to see what would happen without it once. I guess the point of all this was to strip everything away to check where our hearts were at. As the song says, "When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come, longing just to bring something that's of worth, that will bless your heart. I'll bring you more than song, for a song in itself is not what you have required. You search much deeper within, through the ways things appear; You're looking into my heart." The song was birthed at that time, just as it felt like we started to come back to the heart of worship.

CM: Your music and the music of {{Delirious}} share some common ground. Martin Smith even sings a song on your album. How did this come about?

MR: Martin produced the first couple of albums we did, and we became friends. He and the Delirious guys have been so supportive over the last few years.

CM: You also travel and lead worship seminars. What do you try to convey to those who attend the seminars?

MR: One of the things we talk about is heart standards. It's good to talk about musical and practical things, but there's no point if they're not grounded in good heart standards. I remember a quote by the late John Wimber (of the Vineyard Movement) saying that the test in these days isn't going to be in the writing and performing of great new worship songs, it's going to be in the godliness of those who deliver them. That's powerful.

CM: What do you do week-in and week-out at Soul Survivor to keep the worship fresh and avoid a formula?

MR: I try to find space, and that's hard. If your output exceeds your input then you're going to be in trouble. I don't really even like talking about it in those terms, because in the end we're talking about a relationship with Almighty God, not the fuel tank on a car or something! But this is always the "big" one: trying, in all the busy times, to remain a Mary who sits a Jesus' feet spending time with Him, rather than a Martha who spends so much time "serving" that she didn't spend any time with Jesus.

CM: Where do you see the modern P&W movement going?

MR: It is encouraging that there seems to be a load of fresh new worship music around. But we need to remind ourselves that this is not the main thing. It's not the objective or the goal. The heart of what we bring is always the main thing. You can worship God on some out-of-tune bagpipes, and if you're giving Him your heart, and it's coming out of a life of worship, it will be what He delights in and requires. Think about the widow whom Jesus watched putting a couple of tiny coins, worth nothing in the world's eyes, into the temple treasury. Jesus said that she had put in more than anyone else, because she had given out of all that she had. That's a lesson for us. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Read more about {{Matt Redman}} including his biography and all the news and features here on on the {{Matt Redman}} At A Glance page now. Just click his name!