Posted by Stu G on 17 February 2014

He brought the big guitars to Delirious, was Goose to Martin Smith's Maverick and left the stage telling us 'there's more where that came from'. It's about time we invited Stu G into the Clinic to tell us more about what's in his head and heart.

 

All right then Stu, what do you know about the role of the worship leader that you didn't know five years ago?

Hmmmm... I think an increasing sense of the necessity of being sensitive to the Spirit and the needs of the congregation. I am learning this specifically from my brothers in OSS (One Sonic Society) Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury, and also from leading with David and Leslie from All Sons And Daughters. I am also more aware that to lead people, we need to be working on our own worship and prayer life. Also the need for community... we are not meant to form our philosophies and theologies in isolation.


What's the biggest rabbit trail you see worship leaders and songwriters going down today? 

That's easy! The biggest rabbit trail is the desire to write the next church "hit" and see that CCLI money come in. As a professional Christian of over two decades I’m also guilty of this. When I wrote Majesty (here I am) it was from a place of experiencing a moment of grace; it was what I needed to sing. I showed it to the guys and Martin and I tweaked it into the song we recorded and led for many years. Then I saw the impact it was having and the money it earned, and I've wanted to write another one ever since. The wrestle for me is getting back to that place of "what song do i need to sing regardless of if anyone else sings it?" 
I have many friends who are extremely successful at writing songs for the church. All of them without question are gifted, humble people who have been graced by God to do what they do and I cheer them on.


Having just spent time in the Holy Land, do you have a sense of how it will change the way you write songs?

My visit to the Holy Land was a profound experience both from being a pilgrim visiting the holy sites, and being a student. I went there to learn about life in Israel and Palestine, and I wanted to hear both narratives. The stories of life, pain, struggle, joy, despair and hope have had an impact on me that I know I’m not fully aware of just yet.
In an extremely personal and powerful way, I found resurrection there. So, yes it will have an impact on my writing both for the church and otherwise but I do not know how just yet.

 stug2

I guess that makes it hard to know what the next song that you're going to write will be about?

Well I'm working on a book and music based around the Beatitudes. The next song I will attempt to write will be around the theme of being poor in spirit. 

 

I can now hear Matt Maher on KLOVE, and it reminds me that things are changing within our little pond. What are the next barriers that you think will be taken down? 

Well everything is changing. I'm so excited for folks like Gungor, The Brilliance, John Mark McMillan and All Sons And Daughters, worshipers who are truly being themselves. There are many more. Maybe they will never be "mainstream" but they are being true to their calling. Like I said before there is a formula. First you become a "worship artist" then you have a label then the label tells you what songs are "good" then you record them and make sure that you have at least a couple that can be played on radio. Then you tour which takes you away from leading in your own communities.... the thing that gave you life in the first place. I'm trying not to sound cynical, but this is what happens - and don't get me wrong I am a "road dog for hire" and i love it :) - but there's something sacred about bunkering down in your own church and playing a different game. I think we are starting to hear the stories of those who might never be famous and hear their contribution to sacred music at large.

 

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