Christian Artist Chris Tomlin Talks about His New Project “Arriving”
With millions singing his songs in churches each week, Chris Tomlin is considered one of this era’s top songwriters for the church.
As a popular songwriter and worship leader, Tomlin is known for incorporating hymns with contemporary worship songs. He is a regular worship leader at Passion Conferences, and he will be leading worship at Passion ’05 in Nashville, Tennessee, January 2-5.
Chris Tomlin Talks about “Arriving”
“Every time I’ve led worship, I’ve always used hymns,” he noted. “They’ve been a big part of my faith growing up. They’re powerful, powerful songs. I think hymns are extremely important because you realize you’re standing in a long line of believers that sang these songs.
“It’s sad there’s controversy in churches over music. There shouldn’t be. These songs are all songs of our faith, and I think to abandon one in choice of the other is a really wrong thing. This ‘hymn/chorus battle’ isn’t going on in other countries, especially since they’re just happy to get together to sing. They are happy to even have church. In other countries, some churches are meeting and they can only whisper because they’ll be thrown in jail if they’re heard. They’re giving their lives to Christ, and they’re not worried about whether to sings hymns or choruses. With the new songs that are being written, God is inspiring people that are in our generation and these songs are very important to our culture and to our world.”
Songs from Tomlin’s newest worship album, “Arriving” (which released September 21) are already topping the charts and being sung in churches around the country.
“I feel like this is the most accessible record I’ve had in songs for worship and the church,” Tomlin said. “Most of the records we make are completed in two months. This one took seven months, so that was a new process for us. It allows you to really get the best sound and to really dive deep into each song.
“We set out to write more songs that the church can sing, and songs that people can put in their car and sing to God. One of my favorite songs on this album is ‘How Great is our God.’ It’s one of those songs that is so focused on the bigness and greatness of God. It really causes you to sing and respond to God. I wasn’t trying to write a big anthem song for people to sing — just a response to God in my own house with my guitar and that’s kind of how all the vessels would come.”
Tomlin is currently on a 70-city tour with 4-time GRAMMY, 47-time Dove Award-winning Steven Curtis Chapman. When Tomlin isn’t on the road, he is the lead worshipper at a church he helped start, Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas.
In his spare time, Tomlin is putting the finishing touches on his first book.
“I’m pretty excited about it, but it’s been quite a challenge,” he admitted. “Hopefully it’s going to come out in January. It’s called ‘The Way I was Made,’ and there’s a song on the new record with the same title. It’s inspired from the idea that we were all made in the image of God and created to worship Him. We weren’t made by accident. God knows all of our names, and He formed us with His own hands and breathed life into us. People need to be reminded of that. They’re not an accident.
“In this book, I get to tell different, funny stories about how God’s brought me to this point and share how God has a plan for everybody. And that plan is to bring honor and glory to Him and for you to worship Him with your life.”
Leann Callaway is a Dallas-based freelance writer.