BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Matt Redman Spreads the 'Beautiful' Message
By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer
British worship artist Matt Redman is a busy man these days. He and his wife, Beth, recently welcomed a new son, he just completed a new album called Beautiful News (his fifth studio release), and he is curently traveling with Chris Tomlin and Passion founder Louie Giglio for the How Great is Our God Tour, which launched January 25 in Phoenix and covers 32 cities.
Fortunately, this busy musician still had a moment to talk with CBNMusic.com. I caught up with him by e-mail . (You got to love technology!) Check out what he says about his latest album, Beautiful News, the powerful follow-up to the 2006 GMA Praise & Worship Album of the Year, Blessed Be Your Name: The Songs of Matt Redman, Vol. 1, and the exciting things God is doing in his life.
Laura J. Bagby: Tell us how you came up with this album’s theme, "Beautiful News".
Matt Redman: I'm always looking for a new way to phrase old truths; my quest in life is to express universal themes in unique ways. I wrote down the phrase 'Beautiful news' in my journal one day and knew instantly that it was the seed of a song. It felt like a nice way to sing about this amazing gospel we celebrate. We live in a world where we're exposed to so much bad news. You only need to turn on the news channel for a few moments and you're bombarded with dark, disturbing, or depressing news. But into this environment shines the gospel of Jesus Christ: It is 'beautiful news'.
Laura J. Bagby: How does this album differ from your past creative efforts?
Matt Redman: For one thing, it has a bit of a theme – many of the songs wrap themselves around the idea of celebrating and sharing the gospel. I felt so inspired by the team God brought together for the album, especially the producers 'Double Dutch'. These two young guys, Robert Marvin and Josiah Bell, brought something so fresh and I hope people will hear that on the recording. I've also got more co-written songs on this album – two written with my wife Beth, a few others with my good friends Martin Smith and Paul Baloche – so the team dynamic felt so strong.
Laura J. Bagby: This new album isn’t just music for the saved. Somehow you hope to reach those who aren’t Christians through this album also. You are doing more than leading the churched in worship; you are trying to evangelize those who have not accepted Jesus as Savior. How do you hope to see both goals achieved?
Matt Redman: Every time you sing a worship song, you're declaring something that's true. My hope is that the wonder of that truth will re-awaken many worshippers to the wonders of God and at the same time welcome those who don't know Jesus into that truth. In a couple of the songs ('If You Know You're Loved' and 'Beautiful News'), I actually spend a few moments singing horizontally rather than vertically – in other words, to people rather than to God. I've not done this before, but it just felt appropriate in these songs. And, of course, I took my cue from the Psalms, which are full of horizontal lyrics.
Laura J. Bagby: You have been involved for the past two years in a church plant in England called The Point, which is about 50 miles south of London. How have you seen God work in your local church and then the United Kingdom at large?
Matt Redman: We've been on an exciting journey. There's something special about 12 of you gathering in a front room and wondering how on earth God is going to use you to build a church plant! But all praise and glory to Him, He has. We have a wonderful church family growing, and we're starting to see more and more impact on the communities around us. England is, of course, a very secular culture now, and there's been so much bad press about the church. But I've seen just the opposite. I've grown up in the Church of England and seen nothing but constant growth, life, and renewal.
Laura J. Bagby: How do you balance the need and desire to provide nurture and worship to your local congregation with the need and desire to speak a message of hope to the entire global community?
Matt Redman: I'm on the steering group for my local church (getting involved with all the big vision stuff) and leading worship regularly there and speaking a bit, too. Then, of course, I have a young family, and travel a bit too. So at times it can be tricky to find the right balance. But I must say I have an incredibly wise wife and a very releasing pastor, so making these decisions is a lot easier than it could have been! Often what is happening locally inspires the stuff that is resourced out globally. The Beautiful News album is a good example – all the songs on it were written in the two years since we planted The Point church. I think that's why it took on the theme of celebrating and sharing the gospel.
Laura J. Bagby: Where is your heart for missions currently? Do you feel strongly about any particular country or region?
Matt Redman: We went to India last year for the first time, and this year it looks like we will be going to Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Seoul, Korea. So there seems to be a little window opening wider for us to get involved in what God's doing in the worshipping church in Asia, and I'm really excited by that.
Laura J. Bagby: What has God been speaking to your heart personally as you continue your endeavors as a worship artist?
Matt Redman: I'm realizing more and more that 'truth' counts for so much. If a worship song is going to have any deep and lasting impact in someone's life, and even have the ability to endure as a song, it must be soaked in the wonders and mysteries of our amazing God. Good music alone just won't cut it – we need deep songs that help us breathe in the revelation of God.
(sixsteps/Sparrow Records, 2006)
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