Tomlin changing the world one song at a time

[photopress:Tomlinphoto2.jpg,full,pp_image]

Chris Tom­lin says he has a respon­si­bil­i­ty to write songs for peo­ple to sing and wor­ship God. Tom­lin played Fri­day, Feb. 6 at the Wells Far­go The­ater. He also is nom­i­nat­ed for a Gram­my for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. Pho­to cour­tesy of CMA Media Pro­mo­tions

Bar­ry Manilow may have belt­ed out the lyrics, “I write the songs that make the whole world sing,” but in real­i­ty that song­writer my well be Chris Tom­lin, a Chris­tian rock musi­cian.

Even if you are unaware of his name or pres­ence, you know Tom­lin, or more to the point his words have been on the tip of your tongue if you have vis­it­ed a church or wor­ship ser­vice in the last sev­er­al years.

Accord­ing to Chris­tian Copy­right Licens­ing Inter­na­tion­al, a com­pa­ny that licens­es songs to church­es, “How Great is Our God,” by Tom­lin has been the most request­ed song by church­es in the Unit­ed States for the past four years. And in its August 2008 report, CCLI lists four oth­er songs by Tom­lin in the top 13 – “Forever,” “Holy is the Lord,” “Amaz­ing Grace (My Chains are Gone),” and “We Fall Down.”

Sound famil­iar now? You can sing-along with Tom­lin on Fri­day, Feb. 6 at the Wells Far­go The­ater in Den­ver. Tick­ets are $32 and $25 at Tick­et­mas­ter.

It’s pret­ty heady stuff being what Time mag­a­zine called “the most often sung con­tem­po­rary artist in U.S. con­gre­ga­tions every week,” but don’t think Tom­lin is about hold­ing airs. He’s down to earth and extreme­ly hum­ble. When asked to describe his music, he didn’t give the stan­dard respons­es of gui­tar-laden riffs or melod­ic har­monies, but, “It’s thou­sands and thou­sands of voic­es singing, prais­ing God,” he said. 

That’s it.

Tom­lin cre­ates songs for you and me, for praise and wor­ship, not for Gram­my and Dove awards or oth­er acco­lades – even though he has won close to 20 Dove Awards and is cur­rent­ly nom­i­nat­ed for a Gram­my for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. The Tex­as native takes a dif­fer­ent approach to song­writ­ing.

I feel it’s my respon­si­bil­i­ty to peo­ple to write for them,” Tom­lin said. “I don’t write for myself. I want to give a voice to peo­ple to wor­ship God. To encoun­ter God. I give them music they want to sing. Songs they can sing and need to sing.

You can write a song with amaz­ing lyrics and music, but if it’s not singable, you don’t get into the hearts and minds of peo­ple. Or you can have the most singable song but if it doesn’t speak to people’s hearts what good is that? I make some­thing that needs to be sung. I want to relate to peo­ple from 16 to 60.”

Tomlin’s cur­rent CD, “Hel­lo Love,” con­tains sev­er­al songs that have the poten­tial to move into your church’s reper­toire – “Jesus Mes­si­ah,” “Praise the Father, Praise the Son,” and “I Will Rise.” 

But singing songs is not all that moti­vates Tom­lin, who says his “Hel­lo Love” CD is about “giv­ing legs to love. Putting legs on what God says.”

It’s not enough for me to sing and write songs about God and not do any­thing,” he con­tin­ued. “Each of us can do a lit­tle bit to change a lot in this world. I’m for­tu­nate to per­form in front of mass­es and to com­mu­ni­cate in front of mass­es.”

One Mil­lion Can, a foun­da­tion Tom­lin helped start, is one exam­ple of his com­mit­ment to help­ing change the world. The foundation’s web­site – onemillioncan.com – allows peo­ple to donate to sev­en dif­fer­ent caus­es around the world from build­ing wells in Africa to help­ing put an end to sex traf­fick­ing in India is an out­growth of a col­lege con­fer­ence.

We were giv­ing a col­lege con­fer­ence at Philips Are­na (in Atlanta),” Tom­lin explained. “There were 20,000 stu­dents, and I chal­lenged them to give toward the­se caus­es. At the end of the three-day con­fer­ence 20,000 stu­dents gave $1 mil­lion. It inspired us to make that same thing avail­able to every­one, every­where, any day and any time.

This is a way to give peo­ple a chance to make a dif­fer­ence in the world. They can go to the web­site and find a cause that hits their heart. … Peo­ple can give $2, $3, $5, $100. It all adds up, and once we get to a mil­lion we can ful­fill those caus­es. This is what mat­ters in life. The Gram­mys and the awards are all nice, but it doesn’t mat­ter in the scheme of things going on in the world.”

And that is what makes Tom­lin tick, not the acco­lades, but giv­ing peo­ple a way to wor­ship through songs.

The beau­ti­ful thing is that I can reach more peo­ple with my music, and my name is not attached to it. It’s about the songs.” he said. “Peo­ple singing the songs, singing the songs in church. They don’t know who I am, and they don’t care. The songs are a sound­track to their lives. And that’s what makes it great.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tomlin changing the world one song at a time

  1. Ryand18 says:

    I think that this is great that Chris is going around to church­es around the US I love his wor­ship and have been to a lot of his con­certs I think that the work of God is in him and he is doing a great job 

  2. Ryand18 says:

    I think that this is great that Chris is going around to church­es around the US I love his wor­ship and have been to a lot of his con­certs I think that the work of God is in him and he is doing a great job 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *