Delirious?' Martin Smith on Life, Worship, and Making History
By Hannah Goodwyn
CBN.com - "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?" "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever". These are just two of the worship song staples written and produced by English Christan rock band, Delirious? Frontman Martin Smith and his bandmates disbanded a few years ago, but their influence is still strong in church services today. Wanting to share his story, Smith sat down with co-author Craig Borlase and penned Delirious: My Journey with the Band, a Growing Family, and an Army of Historymakers.
The busy father of six and founder of CompassionArt recently spoke with CBN.com about his biography, with particular emphasis on his life before, during, and after the band, about true worship, and making history for Christ.
CBN.com: You talk in your book about when you first picked up songwriting. It was when you were a teenager and you thought you weren’t very good, correct?
Smith: Yes, I guess it was. It was then, when I was writing cheeky love songs about girls. I suppose that's when I started writing, but more so when I was 19, I really had an experience with God that opened up that whole worship song thing…. But there were some early songs. I'm glad some of them didn't get out.
CBN.com: You write that, “They lived and died in your bedroom.”
CBN.com: There was a point in your life, when you had to choose between the sports you love to play and going to church. Not too long ago, Delirious? laid down the mantle. In retrospect, what do you think of that choice?
Smith: Well, I made the decision really for my family, to be honest, and for my children. I’d been traveling for quite a few years and it was time for me to be at home and rebuild the foundations of my family. I‘ve been so pleased I've done it. It's been a fantastic freedom being at home more. I don't regret a thing, and I trust God for the future on what will happen. So I think all things are good.
CBN.com: Growing up, you lived in a faith-filled home, which led you to starting a walk with God at a young age. For some who has walked in faith for so many years, how can you not just maintain, but grow your relationship and keep that first love even as you’ve hopefully become wiser in the faith?
Smith: The main thing is that our faith in God is real, that we don't fake it. It's meant to be a friendship and a relationship. It’s not a set of rules. I think that your children watch you and how you do that and hopefully learn from you, that this isn’t about doing all the right things. It is about being one with God. And so hopefully we're teaching them that, and they'll grow into people who will be comfortable in their skin and have a great friendship with God, too.
CBN.com: How would you define worship?
Smith: Worship is saying “Thank you” with a capital “T” and saying it over and over and over again, throughout the day and throughout the night. We are incredibly blessed that God even thought about us in the first place. So worship, at the heart, is saying “Thank you” and saying how great He is.
CBN.com: In Delirious, you talk the concept of being a worship leader as a career choice and the “worship industry”. Could you explain what you see happening in the Church?
Smith: Increasingly so, we have letters from people saying, “I want to be a worship leader, how can I do this? I want to get a career out of this.” And that's OK, but I think it's something we have to be wary about. This is a particular ministry that you need to be called into, to lead people into the presence of God…. But ultimately, this is not a career or a job, this is a way of life and so as long as that's in the middle of it, all that's fine.
CBN.com: You’ve been writing songs since age 19 and I'm assuming that your talent didn't cease when you stopped making music with Delirious?. What do you do with the songs that you come up with now?
Smith: I've been writing with lots of different people. I've been writing with Chris Tomlin and Tim Hughes and people like that. Songs we've written have appeared on some of those records, so that's good. I’d love to record some of my own this year. I've got a website, www.martinsmith.tv. So I’ll keep people included on that.
CBN.com: In the book, you wrote about how you thought the cheering was nice when you performed, but that you preferred the silence. Then you said, “I love the fact that when I played something had happened, and that something had to do with God.” Is that something you truly miss?
Smith: Yes, It's amazing when music is played or people lift their voices as one to sing to God. It's an incredibly powerful thing, probably the most powerful experience that we can have on the planet really. And so yes, I guess for me getting back to that place of simplicity and seeing the presence of God come, touching people, miracles happening, and I'm on that journey.
CBN.com: Is there something in particular you've been writing about lately that God's been showing you?
Smith: Yes, I've been reading a lot from the book of Song of Solomon, and writing about that whole theme of being intimate with God. So some of that language is in the songs. So yes, I'm excited. I hope people like this stuff when it comes out.
CBN.com: Where are you in life when it comes to your work through CompassionArt?
Smith: The great thing is that the songs exist in the trust. And that's so exciting that they are now raking in all this money for all these projects around the world. Hopefully, that will continue to build in time, that will continue to get greater. Time will tell whether we do another one of those projects. We certainly think and talk about it all the time.
CBN.com: Have you read any biographies recently, ones that just have been inspirational to you?
Smith: That's a really good question. I can't think off the top of my head, one that I've read recently. I'm not a great reader, because I've got so many young children. I'm always busy at home. But now I must do that more. I must read more of those things.
CBN.com: You mentioned one of the reasons Delirious? stepped down was that you wanted to spend more time at home, having “space”.
Smith: Yes, space is something that you don't realize you need, when you don't have it. When you do have it, you think, “Wow, this is such a blessing.” I have had that; I have more space to think and to slow down a little bit in terms of my pace. I think the songs have been strong before but more than that, I think that the relationships that I've got around me are much stronger for it, too. It's been great.
CBN.com: Martin, you dedicated the book to your wife Anna, “light and love of my life.” You've both been on an incredible journey together.
Smith: Yes, of course, yes. We've been married, it’s coming up 17 years; and without her I could never have done what I've done with Delirious? And so what's exciting is that she has also written a book, and she's written about her side of the journey, too; and that's called, Meet Mrs. Smith, and that’s out along with my book too. So it's great. She's doing really well and growing in that, too. And so it's a good time.
CBN.com: Delirious? always came across as a band deeply interested in inspiring people to become history changers. What would you like future history pages to say about Martin Smith?
Smith: That he loved people and wanted the best for them. He encouraged them to go on and do great things of God, and to never stop dreaming of hope in what God can do in our nations.
Hannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.
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