Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • Updated Apr 28, 2023
"So easily—even as Christians in the realm of ministry—we confuse the difference between success and significance. We think that if a lot of people know about it, it has some significance. I really think that true significance is in the eyes of God."

by Mark Smeby for Crosswalk Music

While last year Twila Paris did about 100 concerts, she's actually only done one concert in 1998. And that was back during the summer, when she did a one-time only concert that was taped and released in October as Perennial: A Season of Worship, the companion video to her amazing last album Perennial: Songs for the Seasons of Life.

"Usually when you film a concert it's at the end of the tour—and that's nerve-wracking enough. But for the Perennial video we filmed a tour that hasn't even started yet." Fortunately, Paris says that the tour will most likely occur in a year from now, most likely after another new album is released.

One concert in a whole year? Does that leave more time for gardening at her smalltown Arkansas home? Not especially. She's been on the road for most weekends of the year co-hosting all of the Aspiring Women conferences with 700 Club's Terry Meeuwsen.

"I was unprepared for what a wonderful thing it really was," Twila admits. "I had understood the concept before I got there, but I was still blown away. Every once in a while you go to an event where God has clearly pulled together each person, for their particular role. It's so multi-dimensional—music, drama, speaking, laughing, crying—you take in so much. The other thing is that if you're a 24 year-old single woman, or a grandmother, you're going to relate to it."

Twila, together with her co-host Terry, felt that it was very important that the event not be just, as she says, "a warm-fuzzy for women."

"If you came in as a victorious woman, involved in ministry for years, or as someone who has fallen away and is trying to come back, that you'd be met where you were. Nobody would be left outside. There needs to be an opportunity for restoration and healing. And then you present a challenge—what are you going to do with your gifts, so you can serve God and his kingdom? Part of the reason people find themselves falling away is a lack of understanding God's purpose for your life, and your significance. We want to say to women that there is something you can do—some way to pass on what God has done this weekend, or this morning in your quiet time. As we do that, we grow and we are fulfilled, a lot of the distractions fall away as we focus more on the Lord."

Twila explains that she doesn't necessarily mean starting a ministry, or something on a grand scale. It could something extremely personal. Like for herself, Twila describes how she is constantly being reminded about the importance of being the fragrance of Christ in every situation.

"It helps keep me in check when I think about how I am coming across in different situations. Was I the fragrance of Christ... or was I an unpleasant odor?"

One of the main ways that Twila seeks to maintain her "pleasant odor" is through worship. "God does so many things in and through us using worship. One of those is the fact that our hearts are prepared to hear his word, whether in the bible or hearing someone else speaking. It also prepares our hearts to minister to other people. We spend time worshiping before concerts, because he inhabits the praises of his people, whether it's one heart or a whole room. It's amazing the focus and the joy and purpose that comes into our hearts."

Twila Paris is committed to making a real difference in people's lives, not just being a pretty picture, or a nice songwriter. "So easily—even as Christians in the realm of ministry—we confuse the difference between success and significance. We think that if a lot of people know about it, it has some significance. I really think that true significance is in the eyes of God. You can be working in a tiny corner of India, and your name be completely unknown, and be so significant in the eyes of God."

"More and more I think I am coming to the place, that I've always known in my mind, that there is no value in the praise of men, or in earthly significance, or in things that even appear to be a successful ministry. You can't necessarily tell those things from the outside. Whether it ends up being pleasing to the human community or not, I want what I do to be pleasing to God. And pray that it really does make a difference for eternity."

How can we know we're on the right track with what we spend our time doing? Twila says that while there are a lot of things that are good that we could spend our time doing, she feels that it comes down to spending enough time with God. "I don't think He necessarily speaks to us in the same way—He has a way to speak His will to each of us. But it really does have to do with, as my dad said a long time ago, seeking His face. If you seek His face, you will know His will."

"Just as we are created in His image, and need friends and need to be loved, God yearns for friendship and fellowship with us. If we learn to love spending time with Him, and to sit at his feet and let Him do the work in our hearts, He realigns our priorities. And we end up over time, whether it's a dramatic revelation, or a growing sense inside of us, knowing His will."

"It comes down to obedience—doing exactly what God wants me to do. People's lives could appear to be changing, but there might have been something even more important that I could be doing."

As for 1998's Christmas tour, Twila describes it as being a little more intimate in its approach than previous holiday tours. "Sometimes at Christmas it's wonderful to experience something very family and warm, as opposed to the extravaganza. This will sort of be the other side of the Young Messiah." She said that with fewer artists on the docket, they will each get to do more than one song, something that she's looking forward to, because it allows the audience to get to know them a little more than just one song would allow.

Even still, for Twila Paris it's not all about letting people get to know her, it's about pointing people to Who she knows. "While it's music that I hope has artistic integrity, and is entertaining, ministry is still definitely the most important."

from November 1998

Further Reading:

10 Amy Grant Songs and Quotes to Build Up Your Faith

What Can Sheila Walsh Teach Us about Faith Amid Struggles?