UK Press Release for “Glorious” CD
Posted on October 5, 2009 by Paul | 4 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below
Intimacy in Community – Paul Baloche
by Jo Brazier
From ‘Open the Eyes of My Heart’ to ‘Above All’, the songs of PAUL BALOCHE have blessed, encouraged and challenged the church for more than fifteen years. Though passionate about his music, Paul is clear where his loyalties lie as he shares his heart for authentic community and explains why it’s not all about the songs.
Paul came to Christ as a teenager, a budding guitarist for whom rock music was synonymous with excess. “I thought I’d have to give it up,” he remembers. “I’d never heard modern music mixed with Scripture. It was club rock’n’roll or high church music; I didn’t realise there was something in between.” The first time he experienced modern worship, Paul recognised his calling. “I thought it was awesome, it really affected me. I wanted to be involved in something like that, and it was very exciting to begin to explore the possibility.”
A Soundtrack to Worship
“I think music itself is a mystery,” Paul admits. “People are just drawn to this mysterious combination of beats and sounds and rhythms and melodies and lyrics. You go on a subway in New York and almost everyone has ear buds in their ears, listening to music. Everybody seems to be creating a soundtrack to their lives.”
Music plays a huge part in the life of the church, but Paul’s ministry goes deeper than that. “There’s a big difference between leading songs and trying to pastor people. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Feed my sheep.’ God is looking for people who will love His people, so I view songs as tools to inspire and strengthen people, to help them draw near to God and become healthier in their relationships with Him – and with the people in their lives.”
Letting Our Guards Down
This last point is more than just an afterthought. For Paul, healthy relationships between believers are crucial for a healthy church. “I think a lot of times we come into church quite guarded,” he says. “Our walls are up and we put on smiley faces, but if we’re going to try to grow, and to help each other walk through the hard stuff of life, it requires us to let our guards down. Otherwise we’re showing up and singing songs and sort of pretending.”
Paul believes an individualistic church culture can hurt the body of Christ. “Our connection with God should lead to a greater sense of community, and our times of corporate worship should create a greater intimacy, causing us to become more vulnerable, transparent and authentic with one another. We are blessed by the Lord so that we can be a blessing in His name.”
Faithfulness in Ministry
Paul’s commitment to fellowship is evident in collaborations with songwriters as diverse as Matt Redman, Graham Kendrick and Michael W Smith. “I love the relational aspect of writing with other people,” he says. “Throwing ideas back and forth, drinking coffee and praying together, and, out of that, being able to create something together to serve others with.” Even when writing alone, Paul says he is always conscious of the end goal. “In the back of my mind I can picture a couple in my church or a teenager I know – I can picture these songs being sung by the church and that shapes the final outcome. It’s not about me singing; I want to give people something that they can sing, something that can be a help to them.”
The title track of Paul’s latest album, ‘Glorious’, focuses on the need to look beyond the cross and see the risen Christ. “The cross is vital,” Paul explains. “But it’s important that we understand that, right now in 2009, Jesus is alive in us and wants to express himself through us.
“I think God wants to teach us to keep both hands on the wheel, so to speak, and to be faithful in what He’s called us to do until He says to do something different. Our church has gone through a lot, and many times we’ve felt, ‘Maybe it’s time to get out of here’, but the Lord hasn’t released us. And now we look back and see fruit in the relationships we’ve cultivated over the years, and we’re glad. Faithfulness is about picking up your cross daily, getting to know the risen Saviour and taking up this adventure – the adventure of following Christ.”