Songs That Change the Room w/ Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin sat down with Matt McCoy to talk about songwriting, worship leading and his new album Always!
Coming back to a simple place
Matt: “Your new album Always is full of worship songs. It’s a full circle moment for you. Why now? Tell us about the album.”
Chris: “It’s always been on my heart to write songs of worship and I put everything I could into this record. It’s full of songs of worship, I feel it’s as good of songs I have ever put out. The last song “Precious Love” is as good of a song as I can be a part of. “Holy Forever” is an anchor song for me of what worship is.
The record started with coming back to this simple place. During COVID when things were shut down, every Sunday would be me and my family, my girls, and we would have home church. It was such a precious time. God put the song “O Lord You’re Beautiful” by Keith Green on my heart from back in the early days when I felt God put a calling on my life in 8th / 9th grade. So for over a year I sang this every Sunday with my girls. It was so beautiful to hear them sing it. When I went to make this record Always, I didn’t know where the record was going but I wanted to start right there with that song.”
Songs that change the room
Matt: “The song “Holy Forever” you wrote with Jason Ingram, Brian and Jenn Johnson and Phil Wickham.”
Chris: “Not just because I’m a part of this song, but we need more songs like this. Right now I feel like there are two lanes of songs. Songs of deliverance and songs of transcendence. Songs of deliverance are what we sing mostly. They’re easier to write. ‘Rescue me God. I need your help. I need your grace.’ A lot of what ‘I’ need ‘me, me, me’. Which I write most songs there, there’s nothing wrong with those songs, the Psalms are filled with those songs, “Amazing Grace” one of the greatest songs ever written is one of those songs. But then there are these other songs of transcendence. There’s nothing about us in the song and it takes us to a place, it takes us to the throne of God. It opens our mind, it opens our eyes to see. I try to say often worship is more about seeing than it is about singing and I try to help people see with my songs.
“Holy Forever” is a reminder that there is an eternal song. There’s an eternal song that never ends. In Revelation it says day and night they never stop saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” That’s the song of worship whenever we lead and stand before our congregation, that is what we try to usher in. You can’t sing that enough. I’ve always tried to find songs like that, and songs like “Holy Forever” change the room. It takes people to a place that isn’t just about “me” but this is all of us together to the glory of God. “How Great Is Our God” is one of those songs. I think about the songs that I have had that stay and stay and go way past me, they’re usually these songs of transcendence. I would encourage worship leaders to always be putting these songs in front of people. It’s amazing how all the things we are going through get reoriented and things start to be healed when we make much of God.”
To hear more of the great conversation with Chris about his album and more, click the video below!