There is this weird love/hate/love relationship between worship leaders and Chris Tomlin in the church today. I’m not sure if it’s that we love his songs but hate his popularity, love his songwriting but hate his (perceived) simplicity, love his songs but hate his success – I don’t know. There are lots of blogs, articles, websites out there dedicated to tearing down Chris and his shallow ministry – I was sent one again earlier this week and reminded at how we seem to be so, so willing to grab at any piece of inadequacy to try and tear apart someone’s success.
Listen, I’m no rah-rah cheerleader for Chris Tomlin but I do know this: more often than not, if I do a Chris Tomlin song with our church they are singing their hearts out for the glory of God. As a worship leader, what more could I ask for? Why do I care whether the last word of each line rhymes? Why do I care whether the melody is simple or not? Why do I care whether his range is three steps too high for any normal male to sing? 🙂
All I care is that I am putting words in the mouths of the people of this church which give God glory, stir the hearts of people toward Christ and proclaim the gospel to those who don’t know Him. If it takes famous songs, unknown songs, songs you’ve heard on the radio or songs you’re writing in your basement, I don’t care – I’m going to find a way to get my people to sing them.
As I was reading that article this week which talked about the absolute shame of Chris’ writing, someone sent me another link. This time it was a video of Chris and his band leading “How Great Is Our God.” If your church is like ours, you’ve sung that song a million times and you’ve probably questioned whether or not you should actually sing it half of the times that you did. But.. give yourself a few minutes and watch this video. Hear the song again for the first time, if you can. I know that’s what I did when I watched it earlier this week.
Forget, if you can, that it’s Chris Tomlin who wrote that song. Imagine it was (insert your favourite songwriter here) or someone from your church or someone from your family. Wouldn’t you be on your knees thanking God that He had delivered that song to the writer and now you are able to share that song with your church? That was honestly the response I had this week when I watched that video.. God, thank You for Chris Tomlin, for his talent, for his dedication, for his willingness and eagerness to see the church give You praise.