by Stan Self
Matt Redman is one of contemporary Christian music’s most well-known worship leaders and song writers. He has written songs such as 10,000 Reasons, Better Is One Day, Blessed Be Your Name, and the list goes on. If you engage in contemporary worship, you probably sing his songs frequently.
In 1993, Mike Pilavachi launched Soul Survivor Ministries that was on the leading edge of modern, contemporary music with its use of worship arts and multimedia. Matt Redman was Soul Survivor’s worship leader.
Over time, something interesting and unexpected happened. The members of the congregation pivoted from active worship participation to silent, passive observers of worship. Worship was happening but, at its core, something wasn’t quite right. In Mike Pilavachi ‘s words, “We seemed to be going through the motions. Our hearts were far from Him. We needed to take drastic action.”
So, as the pastor of Soul Survivor Church, he did something radical. He removed everything from the worship services, including the microphones, drums, guitars, and the entire sound system. He even got rid of their worship leader, Matt Redman and his worship team. Now, all the pieces of what is associated with contemporary worship was no longer part of the service.
The church that once pulsated on Sundays with the beat of guitar strings, keyboards, and drums accompanied by flashing lights and graphic images was now mostly silent and bland. At first, they, as a church, weren’t sure what to do. Over time the congregation rediscovered their voices, the silence vanished, and the period of passivity passed. Little by little the equipment was returned. But no longer was the equipment more important than the congregation’s voices.
As for Matt Redman, he didn’t go away upset or angry. Instead, he used this liminal period to reflect. He reexamined his role as a worship leader, as a person, and as a follower of Jesus. And out of that reflective time, during these very quiet services at Soul Survivor Church, he wrote one of his best songs, Heart of Worship. It opens like this:
When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
As you and I gather for corporate worship this Sunday, and all subsequent Sundays, we would do well to remember what Matt Redman learned about worship. It’s all about you, Jesus. Selah.
* To see Michael W. Smith joined by Matt Redman sing Heart of Worship, click HERE.