[INTERVIEW] Christy Nockels, 'Stop and Remember Jesus'

Worship leader Christy Nockels took a different approach when she recorded her latest album Let It Be Jesus. For the singer who tries to “be authentic to whatever season [she’s] in,” the new record was naturally going to evolve from the singer-songwriter style of her last album Into The Glorious.

“Until I sit down and write and really start praying … it’s kind of scary, honestly … like, ‘Lord really? Are you gonna be able to do this?’ because as a mom of three, I’m thinking, to me, like 10 songs seems like climbing a mountain.”

Rather than confining herself to the studio, she took the suggestion of husband Nathan and brought the music of Let It Be Jesus to Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Recorded just before Christmas 2014 for a room full of friends, family and volunteers, she shared the intimacy of her latest album with the people closest to her.

“The Spirit that was in the room, the Spirit of God that was around me at that moment in those songs, I know will translate and already has,” she says. “So it was just such a sweet, sweet intimate thing and really special.”

Collaborating with artist Ellie Holcomb on the track, “Everything Is Mine In You,” the song has become one of her favorites on the album. “[Ellie] came walking in all smiles with her guitar and her Bible. I immediately knew that I was going to love this young lady! I think one of us actually shed tears within 10 minutes because we just connected.”

Basing their work off Romans 4 and 1 Corinthians 3, the song was written for women in a season of waiting. She says, “We wanted to write a song of truth to be able to sing inside of any storm and any circumstance, [a] song that is true of who we are as God’s child.”

“We wanted to write a song of truth to be able to sing inside of any storm and any circumstance, [a] song that is true of who we are as God’s child.”
Unlike her previous work, the title track “Let It Be Jesus” was not penned by Nockels, but rather Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin. After performing it live on the Passion album Take It All, it became the obvious title for Nockels’ latest record. “As a songwriter, you have to let your pride be crushed a bit and be like, ‘OK, I didn’t have anything to do with this song, and this is going to be a big moment on my record,'” she says, “it’s become an ‘adopted daughter’ in my life. I can’t imagine it being something that I’m not singing right now.”

The Worship Circle
Best known as a member of the Passion worship team since its inception in 1997, Christy and husband Nathan were part of the founding movement that has since swept over the globe. Seven years ago they joined counterparts Tomlin and Redman as they moved to plant Passion City Church in Atlanta. It was this experience that solidified them as more than a team, but rather friends.

“At first you would think, you know, that we kind of grew into this, but in the beginning we were all doing our individual thing, and it was … interesting trying to see those pieces like all fit in.” Today as they reflect on the 2015 Passion Conference, she is thankful they have grown into a family. “It’s so much more beyond the music and the careers, and even as special as the conference is, it’s like we do that now out of a real genuine friendship,” she says. “At the end of the day we’re all just so grateful still that we can sit around a dinner table together when we get to see each other and reflect on all that God’s done, but also we just know that He’s not done.”

Aside from her work with Passion, Christy has also taken on the role of mentor, working as the leader of the first women’s group for online coaching and mentoring program Worship Circle with friend Todd Fields.

“A friend of mine asked me the question one day, ‘Christy, what are you doing to raise up the next generation of leaders.’ Honestly, I was a little defensive inside at first, which is usually a good sign that the Lord is nudging me about something.”

It was when Fields mentioned his idea to establish the mentoring group that Nockels knew she needed to step up. “We are six months in, and I am blown away at how God has used Worship Circle already in my life and in the lives of the women I have been able to coach,” she reflects. “The sweetest part is that the community aspect really did happen and these leaders truly lift each other up and are now authentically friends. It has become a great joy in my life to get to lead these women.”

The Language of Family
At the core of Nockels’ life is her love for God and her devotion to family. Married for two decades, her husband still produces her records and their partnership provides her with the inspiration needed for her music.

“Music is just part of our language, we don’t even think about it anymore because it’s just so much a part of our lives and how we connect,” she says. As parents to Noah, 14, Ellie, 12, and Annie Rose, 7, this has also naturally broadened the couple’s creativity. “When our children came along, it was this whole other ‘deep well’ to write from,” she shares. “Getting to be the first one to show them the world we live in and most of God’s love for them.”

An established voice within the worship realm for the last 20 years, Christy Nockels has much to celebrate. Let It Be Jesus is an opportunity to go back to her love of corporate worship, capturing a pivotal moment in this season of the singer’s life. “It felt like a timely group of songs that we could experience together … I just challenged us to stop and remember Jesus together.”

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For more about Christy Nockels, visit christynockels.com. Let It Be Jesus releases today, April 28.