Jul 11, 2010

Chris Tomlin...kinda like our John Wesley or Barry Manilow

Thanks for several of you who posted comments on my blog or Facebook page letting me know that you actually do read my blog. It inspires me to be more active in writing my thoughts.

This past week, I had the privilege of taking my three boys to a concert with Chris Tomin and TobyMac. It was their first real concert experience and a great treat. While worshiping with Tomlin, I was reminded how fortunate we are to live in the current church age. One of the biggest benefits to the current state of the church has been the evolution of our forms of worship and the godly, spirit-filled worship leaders that currently lead this movement. One such leader is Chris Tomlin.

My first exposure to Chris Tomlin was in the mid-90's when I took my students to a Dawson McAllister Student Conference in Jackson, MS. Dawson announced we were going to hear a new kid who just graduated from Texas A&M named Chris Tomlin. This young 22-year old kid with a baby face came out and sang 3 or 4 songs that sounded like Christian Country music. Some years later, I would see him hitting the emerging scene of camp worship leaders. He also began to play at the popular Passion events being led by a guy named Louie Giglio. A couple of the songs he wrote and played with Passion like Forever and The Wonderful Cross began to circulate and be played by other worship leaders and churches. Tomlin's influence and art for writing gifted worship songs began to grow and expand.

In the summer of 2002, my students and I were at a Student Life Camp in Ruston, LA with Tomlin and camp pastor Wade Morris. I distincly remember Wade Morris saying that Chris Tomlin was "the hymnwriter of our generation" and that he was writing the songs that the church would be singing for years to come. I began to think of Tomlin as this generation's cross between John Wesley and Barry Manilow. Like Wesley, Tomlin is writing songs of deep worship and theology that could prove to be timeless and last for generations. Stick with me on Barry Manilow. In 1975, Manilow recorded the song I Write the Songs which said "I write the songs that make the whole world sing."

That's what I think about every time I hear a new Chris Tomlin album. This guy is writing the songs that define worship for this generation. Many of the songs he has written and recorded are timeless. They are played thousands of times each week in churches across America. Tomlin's music have given a voice of worship to an entire generation of people. His songs are timeless. Take a look at some of the songs that Tomlin has written and recorded in the past 10 years:
The Wonderful Cross
Famous One
Holy is the Lord
How Great is Our God
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Glory in the Highest
Jesus Messiah
I Will Rise
Our God

In addition, Tomlin has recorded and made famous many songs written by others like Your Grace is Enough, Indescribable, Everlasting God, and God of this City.

Between camps, passion events, and concerts, I have seen Tomlin leading worship more times than I can count. I have almost 100 of his songs on my Ipod. Doubtless, there are many more worship songs to come. I look forward to seeing how God will continue to use this servant in the years to come. In the meantime, I encourage you to express thanksgiving to the Lord for the influence that he has given Tomlin and the opportunity to witness a historic time in the life of the church.