ARTIST BIOS: Worship
"This time, I've followed my heart and not my head."
It's a simple statement that carries with it a powerful meaning in the life of worship artist Don Moen. One of the best-known and respected recording artists in the Christian music industry, Moen has earned a worldwide reputation for his work as a songwriter and worship leader who has helped shape today's modern worship landscape. As a platinum-selling recording artist, he has recorded more than 17 albums which have sold more than 5 million units. But it's his newest release, I Believe There Is More, which has become his most personal project to date.
I Believe There Is More is the next chapter, a new season that comes in the midst of what has been a three-decade-long career for this award-winning songwriter who has penned such worship classics as "God Will Make A Way," "I Just Want To Be Where You Are" and "God Is Good All The Time." Moen's landmark recording Give Thanks which sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.
"I'm amazed that I've had the favor I've had, that I've done the things I've done," Moen admits. "I am the most unlikely guy… I didn't plan it or go after it. But I've realized over the last few years in particular that I needed to pay more attention to what God had originally called me to be…a worship leader and songwriter."
The path to that realization has been filled with some pretty important steps along the way. Even in the midst of awards, accolades and success, it is most notably Moen's visionary instincts and strengths as a mentor and leader that industry peers and fellow musicians have recognized most. His initial recordings with Integrity Music led to a 20-year relationship with the label, during which time he served in a variety of creative roles and was eventually named president of the label.
But, in late 2007, he decided to leave his position at the label. "I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to rethink my priorities… to pursue my own calling, my own ministry," he explains. "I couldn't go another month denying that. It had taken a back seat for far too long. It was no longer a career issue. I knew that if I didn't pay attention to the stirring in my heart, I would be disobedient to God."
It was a difficult decision for Moen to make at this particular time in his life. To pursue something completely new – leaving a secure position at a company when he had a family with five children to support (three in college) – went against all logical reasoning. But it was a heart decision.
"I didn't know how to get in the boat and pursue the new thing God wanted me to do in my heart, while keeping one foot on the land," Moen shares. "But I've felt confirmed. I know I did the right thing. Integrity was my family for 20 years. It was a season of my life that I was blessed to be a part of, but seasons change, and if we don't change when the Holy Spirit wants us to change, we miss out on some of the best things ever.
"This time I've followed my heart and not my head, and look at the doors that have opened," he adds. "I would have never walked through them had I stayed comfortable where I was."
That's why Moen felt compelled to call the new record I Believe There Is More. In many ways, it's the perfect title for where his life is at the moment. "It gives me every reason to share with people who are more motivated by fear than faith. Fear says, 'God is not going to use you anymore.' Fear says, 'You're getting too old to have an impact. You're not young and beautiful.' Faith says, 'I can do all things in Christ.' Faith says, 'Doors are going to open if I take that step.' Fear sees the glass as half empty; faith sees it overflowing."
Moen stepped into the role of producer on his own album for the very first time, a task that reignited his passion for the creative process more than he'd expected it would. "I've really enjoyed being back in the studio as a producer listening to mixes. I'd really removed myself from the very thing that got me into music to begin with – the nitty gritty of working with songs, working with songwriters, getting the right band together, getting the right sounds… It's just been such a pleasure."
As part of that process, Moen has also written or co-written nine of the album's 14 tracks, something he moved away from on previous projects. "This is the first time I've written in a long, long time," he shares, "and I think I've written my best songs. Writing was always something I crammed into the middle of a busy schedule. But I've had time to live with these songs, and to be intentional about the writing process. I've not been this intentional about my writing in a long time. I really think it's the most personal project I've ever done."
Moen planned the album much like he'd plan a worship service, taking great care to place the songs in a particular order. It's why the album kicks off with the powerful worship chorus "The Greatness of You."
"I could see myself starting a concert with this song," says Moen, who strategically thought about everything from key range, tempo and ending when considering how each track would transition into the next. He co-wrote four songs with Hillsong writer Mia Fieldes, including the energetic "Thank God I'm Free" and one of Moen's favorites, "O God of Abraham."
"Mia is one of the most fun writers to work with," Moen says. "We worked extremely well together."
It was during a writing session with Fieldes that Moen penned one of his most personal songs to date, "Grace Is Enough."
"I can boast to many works/Done out of insecurity/And credit many conversations/To my immaturity/And while I'm misunderstood/You are understanding me/And showing me how grace is enough."
Moen also co-wrote two songs with renowned songwriter Claire Cloninger including the album's title track, "I Believe There Is More," a fitting theme for the album and for a new season of life.
"We resist new seasons out of insecurity and fear," Moen explains. "But we've got two choices: live our lives in fear, or live our lives in faith. When you understand that you are called to do a specific thing – when you get in that place – you can step fully into the role God has for you, and say 'This is who I am.' The more we have to lose, the harder it is to step out in faith. But I believe there is more – for the preacher who has had a moral failure, for the artist who thinks his career is on the way down, for the woman who is divorced and feels judged… there is more.
"God is still in the business of changing lives, and he'll work through you. When we make a mistake, like a GPS, God will 'recalculate' our route. He's going to take us to the place he's destined us to go. Our Plan B is not his Plan B. He's still on Plan A. He's going to get us there. That's the message of hope, and the message of this record, too!"
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