Award-winning singer/songwriter Roma Waterman has been at the forefront of Christian music in Australia for more than 20 years. A speaker and author, she also directs missional organisation Sounds of the Nations Oceania. She talks to Warcry about why music in worship is more than just a genre.
How do you define ‘worship’?
Worship is more than just music; it’s a lifestyle, a posture that looks towards God, wanting to please him in all we do. When we worship with music as our expression, what we are really doing is reflecting what is already in our heart. I think the most beautiful worship moments in church come from hearts that worship Jesus in their day-to-day living.
What preparation do you take before you lead worship at a church service?
Honestly, it is a lifestyle of worship that allows me to prepare for leading. Of course there are practical aspects like learning songs—form, melody and words. My worship leading is an extension of my relationship with God.
You have accomplished many things in your career. What has been your highest and lowest moment?
I have had some great highs—touring with bands like DC Talk, Michael W. Smith and Jars of Clay, performing at festivals across the globe, recording albums, writing books. I’ve also had some lows too—one of my biggest struggles was learning to understand what was ahead for me as I got older—I discovered that the art of reinvention is a real thing.
In recent years you’ve spent more time teaching churches about worship, rather than creating new music for yourself. Why is this?
The last 10 years for me have been a wonderful (but also challenging) journey. The main thing I unpacked in all my searching was how much I loved resourcing other people, providing training, creating books and courses to help others either do what I do, or do what they do better in their creative streams.
At first, I actually felt guilty, because I loved it more than touring and being known as an artist. I often asked myself ‘What’s wrong with me?’ ‘Why don’t I love the stage as much as my other peers?’ Eventually I came to realise the outworking of being creative looks different for different people. I stopped comparing myself to others and started to do what I love and what refuelled me.
What inspired you to create Sounds of the Nations Oceania?
Sounds of the Nations Oceania (SOTN Oceania) exists to empower artists to release authentic expressions of worship in their own style and sound. Our mandate is to find ‘The song of the Lord in the sound of the people’. We do this by providing training and equipping for churches and artists across the globe.
When I study the stories of spiritual revival across the Earth, I see clearly that every revival had a sound. John Wesley had Charles Wesley, Billy Graham had Ira Sankey, and modern- day examples are Planetshakers and Hillsong. It seems it’s not just a message, but the songs, the creativity that carries a heart for revival, an authentic sound that is released with humility and passion.
Our goal at SOTN is to assist churches and communities to find out what their unique expression of worship is, and, in doing so, help foster a culture of revival.
We have countless stories where we have seen churches transformed as we travel! I have loved watching communities be released to love Jesus in their own style.
As told to Jessica Morris and romawaterman.com
For more information on Quantum Physics, DNA and the power of sound in worship, check out Roma’s book The God Artist—The Quest for Supernatural Creative Influence.