Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Chris Tomlin is a worship leader and songwriter with 13 albums and numerous Dove awards.
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Chris Tomlin is a worship leader and songwriter with 13 albums and numerous Dove awards. The native Texan is taking a short break from his Passion World Tour, featuring his latest music from Hello Love, before he heads out again in January. In this conversation, Tomlin speaks about the greatest challenge facing the church, the state of worship music today and what he’s listening to lately.
Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges in the church today?
A. The biggest challenge would be our consumer mentality. Worshipers should be consumed by God. Instead we think, “We’ve sung this song three times this week shouldn’t we find a new one?” Or, people leave church saying, “I didn’t like this service because . . . ” We start coming to church and it becomes about us–a great question to ask is, “God did you like this? Were you pleased?” Not asking “Was I happy?” This is a really big thing that could turn things around.
Q. What do you struggle with?
A. The same thing as above. It’s part of our nature to be selfish. We need to give ourselves away in Christianity–to the poor, needy, and at church–laying our stuff down to the Lord. Our greatest joy should be in giving.
Q. What do you feels is right or wrong about worship music today?
A. There is a lot that is right about worship music. When you look at the movement that started a couple of decades ago–there’s so much great depth and teaching. Then, there is also a lot of not so great stuff. There are songs with fluff stuff that don’t speak into anything. But, then there is so much right in the way of great songwriters writing from scripture. What I love about it is, we just finished a world tour, and you realize how connected people are through worship music. It’s a beautiful thing that connects the church together. Singing the same song in Indonesia as Atlanta, Georgia. That’s the spirit of God at work not a marketing plan.
Q. How do you refuel in a life full of demands from record labels, fans, interviews, concert scheduling?
A. I’m like everyone else. I need to be more intentional with praying, trying to walk with God, and listening to Him. I also surround myself with people, small groups, praying together–these things are so important because trying to do it on your own is hard. It’s good to have people along side filling you up and encouraging you.
Q. What do you do when you have a day when you say, “Forget it. I’m tired. I don’t want to do this anymore”?
A. That’s when I realize I need a break. I’m running to hard and I’m not stopping and realizing all that God is doing. I need to gain perspective. God has called me and given me a gift. Human nature is to run. You run past where God is leading you. Then you’re by yourself. Stop. Slow down. It’s definitely life. I go very, very hard and I feel like I have one time around so you want to give everything you’ve got. There’s nothing wrong with that but you need to gain perspective again–keeping that first love of Christ and the flame lit in your heart.
Q. What’s the one thing that you want the audience of Neue to know about you?
A. Gosh, I don’t know. The only thing that comes to mind is that I’m just a normal guy that is easy to hang with, easy to get along with. I enjoy people. I love people. Sometimes when people have only seen you in pictures, in magazines, or on album covers, it builds up an idea of who you are. Most people are disarmed when they around me. I love when people stop and say something about my music. I’m gracious and grateful that God has used. I guess I’m approachable. It never bothers me when fans want to stop and talk.
Q. What’s are you listening to these days?
A. I enjoy movie soundtracks. My favorite is The Last Samari. Umm, I have a collection of worship songs from over 20 years. I really enjoy This American Life podcasts, ESPN radio. I love talk radio and politics.
Q. One last question, Houston Texans or Dallas Cowboys?