Do you ever wonder who wrote the modern songs we sing in worship each Sunday? Did you realize the people who write these songs are called to do so, just like God called you to do what you do? Knowing what you sing–specifically, where it is referenced Biblically, and who wrote it, are all key ingredients in educating your congregation…and yourself!
Over the next few weeks, ChurchMusicToday.Net will be compiling the bios of several well-known worship leaders and song writers. Let start with some “mainstream” folks…
Co-Author/Composer of songs such as: Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), Holy is the Lord, How Great is Our God, Jesus Messiah, and countless others…this post from ChurchMusicToday.Net shows his influence over the past decade.
Tomlin is from Grand Saline, Texas, United States. He is a former staff member at Austin Stone Community Church and is signed to EMI’s sixstepsrecords. Tomlin also leads worship at many Passion events. He is currently a lead worshipper at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia with Louie Giglio and Christy Nockels.
from his label’s website:
“I just love that God uses me, but my role isn’t to grab as much attention as I possibly can, but to really point people to God. I don’t spend my time trying to think about how to make myself more popular…”
Here are his recordings:
- 2001: The Noise We Make
- 2002: Not to Us
- 2004: Arriving
- 2006: See the Morning
- 2008: Hello Love
- 2009: Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship
- 2010: And If Our God Is For Us…
Bob Kauflin is the Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries. His main tasks include equipping pastors and musicians in the theology and practice of congregational worship, overseeing Sovereign Grace Music, and being one of the worship leaders at his church, led by Josh Harris.
From his website:
“After receiving a piano performance degree from Temple University in 1976, I traveled for 8 years with the contemporary Christian group GLAD, as a song writer, speaker, and arranger. I left the group in 1984, but continued writing and arranging for them until 2007. Our most well known recording is The A Cappella Project, released in 1988. I left GLAD in 1984 to pursue active involvement in the local church. In 1997, after 12 years as a pastor, I moved to Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland to serve in my present role.”
Also from his website, here is a little info about his music:
“The primary goal of Sovereign Grace Music is to produce and promote congregational songs that are theologically substantive, reflective of the gospel, and musically creative. We call it sound+doctrine. I have the joy of working with a team of songwriters that includes Mark Altrogge, Steve & Vikki Cook, as well as others. Over the years we’ve produced over 20 CDs, three songbooks, and over 300 songs. Our better known songs include I Stand in Awe (Mark Altrogge), I’m Forever Grateful (Mark Altrogge), Before the Throne of God Above(Vikki Cook), and I Will Glory in My Redeemer (Steve and Vikki Cook). Songs I’ve written include The Glory of the Cross, Let Your Kingdom Come, Grace Unmeasured, and O Great God. We make all our guitar charts and lead sheets available for free download.”
This singer first began his interest in music after being introduced to The Beatles at an impressionable age. Growing up in a French Catholic family, Baloche learned how to play guitar during his junior high school years. After high school, he performed in and around the southern New Jersey club circuit… At the same time, he met his wife Rita, a country and western singer. During this time, both Baloche and his wife had born-again experiences and moved to California. Baloche studied music at the Grove School of Music where he met popular Christian musical artists… After four years of working and creating, Baloche and wife relocated to California to become the music pastor of the Community Christian Fellowship.
Paul is one of the most acclaimed worship artists and songwriters of our time. A two-time Dove Award winner and multiple nominee. The artist of radio standards including “Because of Your Love,” “Hosanna (Praise is Rising),” and “Our God Saves.” The writer of top-ranking CCLI songs and modern-day classics such as “Above All,” “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” and “Your Name.” In short, Paul writes songs that the church sings. It’s a calling he doesn’t take lightly.
Now Paul is celebrating 20 years as the worship pastor at Community Fellowship in Lindale, Texas. It’s a testament to Paul’s commitment to community, in both the local church and the body of Christ.
Rick Warren has said, “Paul Baloche has the hand of God on his songwriting and worship leading. His music is a great gift to the Body of Christ.”
You can find free resources for Paul’s songs here.
Bio taken from mattredman.com)
Matt Redman is married to Beth and they have five children; Maisey, Noah, Rocco, Jackson and Levi. Based in Brighton, England they are part of St Peters, a new church planted out of HTB in London. Previously they were part of Passion City Church in Atlanta, USA with pastors Louie and Shelley Giglio, and continue to work alongside the Passion movement.
Matt has been leading worship full-time since the age of 20. His early compositions include ‘The Heart of Worship’, ‘Better is One Day’ and ‘Once Again’. More recent songs have included ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ and ‘You Never Let Go’ – both written with wife Beth and encouraging us to worship God through the storms of life. Most recently Matt has written songs such as ‘You alone can rescue’ and ‘How Great is Your faithfulness’, plus the song ‘Our God’ written with Chris Tomlin and Jesse Reeves.
You can find free chord charts and background song information to many of Redman’s songs on his website.
Personally, I am being lifted up more and more by Redman’s songs. My children are singing them, the congregation is singing them with passion, and each time I listen, God uses something different to challenge me. Also, not to be overlooked, as he is from England, his accent brings a different “tone” to the lyrics that we Americans are unaccustomed to. The mere accent alone draws our attention to the lyric, showing us that little things draw our attention from the norm. We should work harder to alter the “normal” singing of a hymn to refresh it in our eyes, ears, and heart.
Keith & Kristyn Getty
(pictured with me, just because….)
This blog shares a TON about Keith Getty…why? Because churches of all shapes and sizes needs to hear his Biblically supported, theologically founded, and beautifully written modern hymns. Keith has paired with other writers along the way including his wife, Kristyn and Stuart Townend.
From gettymusic.com written by Emily Kohl:
A multi-talented instrumentalist and composer, Keith first learned to play guitar, but later began to study flute which included a summer masterclass under renowned Irish flautist Sir James Galway. Ironically, it was Keith’s piano – not flute – arrangements that most intrigued Galway and helped open the world of the music industry to him. Keith has since orchestrated and arranged more than 200 projects for recordings, concerts, theater, television and film, including arrangements for Michael W. Smith’s 2004 Healing Rain album, as well as producing and composing (with Kristyn) various projects for the internationally renowned African Children’s Choir.
Though he was raised in a Christian home in Northern Ireland, it was ultimately a yearlong study of the life of Christ during his time at university that affirmed and crystallized Keith’s faith. Since then, he has carried a passion to communicate the basic tenets of Christianity through music in a universally appealing way. Now, after several years in various aspects of the entertainment industry, Keith has returned to his roots to use his gifts for the benefit of the Church.
“I was challenged by a pastor in Belfast to perhaps try and bring some of what the old hymns of the faith had brought to the Church through the centuries to the contemporary Church,” Keith remembers. “I didn’t set out to create the modern hymn. I wanted to write songs that contemporary, traditional and liturgical churches could all use.”
The Getty’s released their first album, “In Christ Alone” in 2006. This is a MUST OWN CD for music leaders everywhere! Their sophomore release, “Awaken the Dawn”, came out in 2009. In 2011, the Gettys will release a Christmas CD based off of their successful 2010 Christmas Tour across the US. Married in 2004, the couple just this month (March 2011) welcomed their first child).
Stuart is well-known in the US for his song, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” and for his collaboration with Keith Getty on songs like, “In Christ Alone”, and “The Power of the Cross”.
from his website:
Stuart was born in 1963, and grew up as the youngest of four children in a Christian family in West Yorkshire where his father was a Church of England vicar. From an early age Stuart played music with his brothers, beginning to play the piano at the age of 7, and teaching himself the guitar as a teenager.
It was while living in West Yorkshire that at the age of 13 he made his Christian commitment. Then at 18 he moved to Brighton to study literature at the University of Sussex. It is here he met Caroline, whom he married in 1988, and they now have three children; Joseph, Emma, and Eden. Stuart has attends and regularly leads worship at CCK in Brighton, one of the new Frontiers network of churches headed up by Terry Virgo. The church is also home to a number of well-known figures in the area of worship, including Paul Oakley, Lou Fellingham, Phatfish, Simon Brading and Dave Fellingham, who has played a significant role in mentoring Stuart. The church also runs a training programme for worship leaders and musicians called the Worship School.
Townend’s discography includes:
- Classical Praise Piano: Come Holy Spirit (1995)
- Say the Word (1997)
- Personal Worship (2001)
- Lord of Every Heart (2002)
- Monument to Mercy (2006)
- The Best of Stuart Townend Live (2007)
- There is a Hope (live) (2008)
- Creation Sings (2009)
(photo and bio taken from NRT’s website)
As a pastor on the Hillsong church leadership team, Reuben works alongside Darlene Zschech to create an atmosphere of praise and worship that draws people into God’s presence and helps soften hearts to Jesus’ salvation message. Reuben is an integral leader of the Hillsong church worship team, teaching often at the Worship and Creative Arts program. Leading worship on a weekly basis at Hillsong church, Reuben was the Youth Music Pastor who helped to establish ‘Hillsong United’- currently one of the most sought after youth praise and worship bands having appeared at Creation, Edmonton and Soul Survivor in 2003. He was one of the major producers on four of the United albums including Everyday, Best Friend, King Of Majesty and To The Ends Of The Earth. With a congregation of over 15,000 people, Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia is potentially the nations largest local church with a TV program that reaches over 125 different countries across the globe. Hillsong has been instrumental in providing a platform for contemporary praise and worship for the wider church.
Popular songs from Reuben are:
- Lord I Give You My Heart
- My Redeemer Lives
- At the Cross
- I Will Follow
- Mighty to Save
Mark Hall (Casting Crowns)
(photo from http://www.hopehilarity.com/promos/index.html)
This bio of Mark also includes the beginnings of his band, Casting Crowns from sing365.com.
Casting Crowns began as a student worship band in Daytona Beach, FL in 1999. After 2 years of serving at First Baptist Daytona Beach, God called Mark Hall (lead vocal), Juan DeVevo (guitar and vocals), Melodee DeVevo (vocals and violin), Hector Cervantes (guitar and vocals), and Darren Hughes (production manager) to Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, GA in October of 2001. After arriving here, the Lord led Chris Huffman (bass guitar), a former student from FBC, Daytona, and Megan Garrett (keyboard, vocals, accordion), to join the band immediately. Then about a year later, Andy Williams (drummer), joined the group.
At the core of Casting Crowns is Mark Hall, a man who never would have thought leading a band into the wilds of the business of music would enter into his calling. His place, he thought, was to serve young people.
“I’ve been a youth pastor for about 12 years, and every church I’ve been in, music’s always been a part of it,” Hall says. “We’d usually start up a band made up of students so we could lead worship in our Wednesday night programs, and as the student ministry started to grow, the band would go off and play and do things in the area.”
“I had the thought that maybe I could write for other bands,” he says, “because traveling around playing was not something I thought I wanted to do.”
Some insight to Mark can be found here from the Casting Crowns website.
Popular worship songs from Mark Hall include:
- Voice of Truth
- Who Am I?
- Living He Loved Me (O Glorious Day)
Many choral publishers have made arrangements to many of the Casting Crowns songs and several praise band charts can be found at sites like http://www.LifeWayWorship.com.
Keep watching for more info on our series called, “Who wrote that song?”. There is a link to our posts in a series at the top of the main page. Click the “Blog Series” tab at the top of the home page to keep up with these articles!