[INTERVIEW] Chris Tomlin, 'It’s a prayer for God’s revival in our churches'

Chris Tomlin’s worship songs have been sung by millions of people all over the world; in fact, TIME has even said he is “most likely the most often sung artist anywhere.” Songs like “Everlasting God” and “How Great Is Our God” have been quintessential to the language of the Church, overcoming denominational differences to bring Christians together in one voice. So what is next on the agenda for the Grammy-winner? Well, he’s bringing Worship Night in America to three major cities across the nation this summer, and it’s more than a feel-good concert.

“The idea is bringing the church together, from the Catholics to the charismatics in the USA, in a special way,” shares Tomlin about what he hopes will be the first of an inaugural event. “I feel like we have so many … different flavors of our churches and the way we do things. What’s amazing though is we’re singing a lot of the same songs across these denominations.”

Tomlin is uniting some of the most well-known worship leaders and pastors of our time – including Matt Redman, Hillsong’s Reuben Morgan, Kari Jobe, Matt Maher, Kim Walker-Smith, Phil Wickham, the Rend Collective and Grammy-winner Israel Houghton – as one band to deliver the songs they penned and lead a country toward revival.

“I thought, what would it be like to bring some of my friends together who are writing some of the most influential songs around the word today, and songs that are being used in church? What would it be like for us to come together in one night?” Tomlin says. “Have one band, and have all these different leaders up there together singing song to song to song and leading together as one.”

Aside from leading people in worship, teaching will also play a fundamental role in the event as Max Lucado and close friend Louie Giglio deliver the Word. “Worship Night in America to me is another step in a sense of we’re going to be praying for the nation and our country. That doesn’t just start with praying for the nation. I feel it starts with individuals, our own selves, our own hearts, and our churches.”

“We have so …. many different flavors of our churches and the way we do things. What’s amazing though is we’re singing a lot of the same songs across these denominations.”
In light of the precarious political and spiritual events that have been taking place in America, Tomlin feels now’s the perfect time for this event, which has been in the works for two years. “I just feel like in God’s providence this is so on point,” he says. “I feel it just riveting, amping up and momentum growing like crazy for this because of this moment in our nation. I just feel like these nudgings from God, from the Holy Spirit has just been right on at every step, at every single place.”

This has been a very big year for Tomlin, topped off by receiving the award for Male Artist of the Year at the K-LOVE Fan Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House in May. “Awards are tricky anyway in the genre of music, especially when you’re in worship music. … I really appreciate them so much, I think K-LOVE awards especially, because it is through people, through just the people who love the music. It’s not a company. It’s not an industry. It’s just people that hear the music, and it’s their vote.”

In this, Tomlin sees the value of his craft. “It means so much,” he says. “It means more than anything. I’m very honored by that. I was full-hearted, thankful. It just tells me that the music means something to people.”

Tomlin has also been using his platform to bring awareness to and raise money for a cause close to his heart: CURE International, which helps provide medical and spiritual help to children with physical disabilities in the developing world. The spring leg of his Love Ran Red Tour (his biggest to date) raised more than a million dollars for the organization. “I’ve never done anything like that on a tour,” he says. “I’ve toured for 15 years and never done anything like that in my life.”

Since joining the board of CURE International with his wife last year, Tomlin can’t speak highly enough of the organization’s work. “They share the love of Christ with the families, and the love of Jesus and the Good News and the grace of God,” he shares. “They’ve already seen over two and a half million kids around the world for surgery in their hospitals. It’s unbelievable.”

The Love Ran Red Tour will continue this fall as Tomlin’s friends the Rend Collective join him again. “They bring a great joy to the stage. They bring a great atmosphere. They engage the audience so well.” Bringing them over from Northern Ireland several years ago, he remains one of their closest supporters in the U.S.

“They just fit perfectly with my music because they’re very different to me … It’s very different, but the same heart of worship. We had this huge spring leg together. I felt, let’s keep this going in the fall. I’m looking forward to being out with them again.”

Starting at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 8, before heading to an already sold out show at Denver’s Red Rocks on Aug. 13, and finishing at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena on Aug. 15, Worship Night In America will be a pivotal and poignant event for a country striving to seek God.

By bringing together some of the most iconic names in Christian music and teaching, Tomlin also hopes to bring the country together. “It’s a prayer for God’s revival in our churches and not just be status quo, but to really follow Him.”