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Chris Tomlin: Songs for This Generation

By Marti Paradee and Lisa Ryan
The 700 Club CHRIS TOMLIN: I remember sitting on the edge of my bed in a hotel room, looking at Revelation 4, just sitting there with my guitar and singing, 'We fall down. We lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus,' a little, simple song I wrote about that message.

LISA RYAN (reporting): It is a simple little song that thousands of people now sing.

Chris, I understand that when you were a kid, your dad asked you if you wanted to play an instrument and gave you five minutes to decide--guitar or fiddle, just like that.

CHRIS TOMLIN: My dad came in and said, 'Chris, you're driving your mom and me crazy. You've got to do something. Would you like to learn to play the guitar, or the fiddle? I'm going out back. I'll be back in about five minutes. When I come back, I need to know.' I was like, 'Oh gosh, which one? This is my destiny right now.'

LISA RYAN: This is my destiny in five minutes!

CHRIS TOMLIN: 'I said, 'Guitar would be great,' so every day he'd get the guitar and start teaching me to play.

LISA RYAN: You hadn't really heard praise and worship music until you went to summer camp one year. How did it affect you?

CHRIS TOMLIN: I was just so moved by this worship experience of worshipping God like that. I felt so free, so open to Him, and I felt like God was really speaking to me. I said, 'God, I don't know what to say to You, but I really feel like You are speaking to me and calling me for something, so I want to say to You, here's my whole life, whatever You want for the rest of my life. I want to give you every bit of me.'

LISA RYAN: Now you are a worship leader. Did you anticipate God would lead you in that direction?

CHRIS TOMLIN: No. He has made it very evident that He was answering that prayer when I said, 'God, You have all of me. Use me however You want.' He was answering that prayer even from a young kid. I thought I would go to school to be a doctor--that's just what you do--but God had other plans. He started using little songs that I had written, just a simple song, and the church started singing these songs. It still just blows me away.

LISA RYAN (reporting): God has used Chris to write songs for this generation. Chris works closely with his friend Louie Giglio, who founded the ministry Passion. Passion is having a tremendous impact on the world.

CHRIS TOMLIN: It's an idea for the glory of God. It is rooted in Isaiah 26:8. Around Passion you will see this little thing called '268 generation,' 'become part of the 268 generation.' It's Isaiah 26:8. That's where those numbers come from. It says, 'Yes, Lord walking the way of your truth. We wait eagerly for you. For your name and your renown are the desires of our souls.'

LISA RYAN (reporting): May 2000 Passion hosted the first one-day gathering. Thousands of people came together to worship God and seek Him with abandon

CHRIS TOMLIN: They came from all over the world, and we saw 40,000 college kids on this field, on their face before God, saying, 'We want to return to You. You don't revolve around us; we revolve around you.' So it was awesome in that sense.

LISA RYAN (reporting): Chris refers to himself as an artist-worshipper, rather than as an artist. He recently released a duet with Rebecca St. James.

It sure seems like God is doing a unique thing in this generation.

CHRIS TOMLIN: I think God is just refreshing and renewing people--and using all kinds of things.

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