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CCM Artist Interview

Aaron Gillespie: Join the Anthem Song

By Hannah Goodwyn Producer Best known for being the former drummer for metalcore band Underoath, Aaron Gillespie is marching to a different beat these days. When he’s not working with his current alt-rock band, The Almost, Gillespie is worshipping the “one and only King”. Songs of praise are what he wants to share with the world through his new solo project, Anthem Song.

Leading worship isn’t foreign to this Florida native; he started leading worshippers into God’s presence when he was 15 years old. Recently, Gillespie spoke with about what it means to truly worship Christ and his inspiring trips to Africa and Haiti. I read somewhere that you've wanted to do a worship album for almost 12 years. Why now?

Gillespie: I got called away. I don't really know what happened or what went where. We just ended up doing the rock 'n roll thing for so long. Then, I went on a mission trip this past year to Africa. God just really grabbed a hold of my heart.

Yes, it was timely. We really started talking about making worship back in 2006; it was our first Almost record album. The producer and I had a conversation that we wanted to make a worship record. But you know, things get busy and things happen, and we never got a chance to do it.

So after that trip to Africa… I saw people worshiping God because He exists, because that's what we were created to do. I believe everybody worships something, whether it be your job or your family or a relationship or whatever. We were all made to worship just one, and that's Jesus. And it really, really messed me up, seeing these African people who have nothing worshiping God, just because He exists. It gave me the fuel to go and do this record and also convicted me to leave Underoath and to pursue this ministry area in my life. You are quoted as saying, “in our culture, our worship is so circumstantial”. What made you say something like that and why is that?

Gillespie: Because it's true. I wish it was a more poignant, robust answer than that, but we do worship God here so circumstantially. We have so many things and when those things get disrupted, we're, "Oh God, we worship you, help us out." Or when things are really great, and you've got your new Maserati and your tax return check came back, and you get $20,000 instead of $5,000, it turns into, "Oh we worship you, because you're so good." It's never just we worship you because you created us, and that's what we were made to do.

Look at the story of someone like Job, who literally gets pooped on; and he ends up worshiping God because he realizes, he lifts his eyes to the hills and where does is help come from, it comes from the Lord. We must realize that our heart beat, and our life, and our existence and everything that we are, comes from Jesus. The beauty of the heartbeat, the rhythm of the dance of your lungs in and out, the cleansing power of your kidneys, that flush all the trash out of your blood, that's Jesus. That's not a service that's gratified by you existing and by you being a piece of human science and a biological ebb and flow. It’s because God is real and because He drank that cup of shame, that human shame He took it upon himself. He took our grief and our sin and all of our garbage on himself. That's why we should worship, not because we do or do not, or because we have or have not, or because we are or we are not. You say this new worship album is, in part, aimed to get to the people who think church is a country club.

Gillespie: Yes, the record is aimed to anybody, but I think a lot of folks won't set foot in a church because they don't feel like they even have the clothing to go in, because they don't feel good enough or worthy enough or capable enough of waking up and going there. That's not the way God intended it to be. Jesus said that sick people need a doctor. Most of your fans are probably in their teens, and you’ve said that some teens don't understand what true worship really is, thinking it's not cool.

Gillespie: We've got to learn as humans what worship is. Everybody worships something. What do you put first in your life? What is the most important thing to you in this life? That's what you worship. Maybe it's your spouse. Maybe it's Facebook. Maybe it's that sexual relationship that's outside of the marriage that you shouldn't be having anyway. Maybe it's your job. Maybe it's your bank account. It can be a billion different things. But we were created as a worshipful being. That's what we were intended to do.

Think about it, everyone has something that's more important to them than anything else in this life, and that's what you worship. If you weren't created a worshipful being, you wouldn't find one thing is more important than the other, would you? You would just exist. You'd be in a vegetative state at all times. People always say when they get home from work, they want to watch something thoughtless to shut their brain down, and that's what that’s about. You constantly work all day at what you worship. Is that your career? What is it?

I really want to explain to people that we were created to worship, but we were also created to worship just one. And when we began to put all our priorities on Jesus, we put all of our concern and everything that we are on Jesus, we'll begin to see actual ebb and flow and actual balance in our lives as opposed to this crazy hustle and bustle thing that is sickening the American life. A couple of rockers have gone the worship album route. What makes Anthem Song, you? What was your inspiration for these new songs?

Gillespie: I don't know that anything that particularly quote, "me". So much of my life, I’ve spent my time making record deals, I just really want to make Jesus famous while we’re here. So that's what we're doing. The new song, "Your Song Goes on Forever," speaks to the revelation you had that since the beginning of time, God has established His anthem and that we are a part of it.

Gillespie: Yes, that's it. Like I mentioned before, everybody is a worshipper. No one isn't a worshipper. It’s do we have our priorities straight? Are we worshiping the only One who is to be worshiped or are we worshiping something else?

God said in Hosea 6:6 that more than He wants our sacrifice and offerings, He wants to know us. He wants us to know Him. He wants to have absolute communion with His people. That song literally is about grabbing the little piece of that anthem that exists in this life and singing along, as hard and as loud and as robust as you can. You recently went to Haiti. What God revelations, experiences did you have there?

Gillespie: We got back a couple weeks ago. It's a crazy thing down there. You get there, and you realize that it’s beautiful, like a jewel in the Caribbean, a cruise ship town, but the people are so broken and have been broken forever. And the earthquake obviously just made it 10 times worse. But it's just such a beautiful place that’s extremely mismanaged. They’re beginning to see their need for God down there, beginning to see that God has been using other people in their lives to do a huge, huge thing. It's just really a hard place.

I've been all over the world and I've never seen a place as hard as Haiti. It’s a hard place. Things have been mismanaged so bad for so long. But the more you talk about that, the more you find hope there, and the more you find Christ there…. It’s pretty awesome.

Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.

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