Tim Hughes has been leading worship for 23 years. He has released 5 studio albums and led thousands in worship across the world. Tim is the writer of “Here I Am To Worship”, “Beautiful One” and “Happy Day”. He is currently training to be a vicar alongside his work at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) with Worship Central.
1. What has God been teaching you recently?
I think God has been teaching me a lot about how we’re living at such a pace. There’s so much going on in our world. There’s so many ways to communicate, email, texting... There are so many pressures and life is getting faster and faster.
I feel we’re in danger of missing something of what God is doing because life is so fast. God calls us at times to step back. In 2 Corinthians 6:11 it talks about God calling us to a spacious place. For me, what God is wanting to do is call us out, for us to hear what he’s saying and to understand what he’s doing so we can live differently from the values of this age.
2. What’s the best Christian book you’ve read?
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. It’s a book I keep going back to on prayer, worship…I tend to skip the bit on fasting [laughs]. He talks a lot about solitude and silence.
3. How did Worship Central Start?
I joined HTB about 6 years ago with a real vision to start a school of worship. Me and Al Gordon had the idea. Our vision statement is we want to see people encounter God, be equipped as worshippers and see the church empowered.
4. You’ve been touring the UK with Worship Central this spring. What message have you been communicating?
The theme is spirit break out. We want to see God break out in our lives and in our culture. The main thing we want to say is if we want to see God break out, we’ve got to allow him to break in and allow ourselves to receive his love. Sometimes we’re so busy, we miss what God is saying.
5. What have you learnt about leading worship?
The thing I’m learning and constantly struck by is how there’s always more to keep learning! I know hardly anything. The more you [lead worship], the more you realize what happens within the context of sung worship, the more you’re aware of the areas you need to grow and are aware of your limitations and God’s endless possibilities.
I want to encourage people that we’ve barely scratched the surface. Let’s not for a minute kid ourselves that we understand God. He wants to break out, surprise us and startle us.
6. Why do you emphasise creativity in worship?
If you’re in relationship with God, it’s impossible not to be creative. The very first thing God did was create. If we are made in God’s image it goes without saying that we are creative people.
The church and people in relationship with God have always been creative. You could say ‘why don’t we just sing God is great, we don’t need to sing anything more than that, it will last us for eternity.’ But when you start to fill your mind with God, there are endless words and endless pictures.
We’re [Worship Central] trying to use creativity, lights, music and visuals to broaden people’s expression and understanding of God. It’s not creativity for the sake of it, it’s to help us. I think we need to be watchful. Sometimes I haven’t got the right balance. The challenge for us is if we leave a place and we haven’t impacted, encouraged, prayed for and blessed a city then we’ve really messed up.
7. Are you concerned about the celebrity culture that appears to be developing in the Christian world?
The church is so impacted by society and society is all about celebrities. On Twitter, I’m following Michael Owen, ‘oh my goodness, that’s a picture from his house to his garden’ and I’m in awe of it and you just think ‘this is just a guy, he’s actually pretty small. He’s come to the end of his career’. But we elevate these people.
We’ve taken this into the church and we elevate people. Although I think it’s dying out a bit, there’s the celebrity of the worship leader. We remind people on a Sunday; ‘we're not here to hear a fantastic talk, although we hope you do, you’re not here to hear great music, although we hope you do. We’re here to worship God.’ We need to keep pointing people back to Jesus.
Tim leading worship during the recent Spirit Break Out tour (c) Igor Demba
8. Is it fair to say that HTB is spearheading a lot of what the Anglican church is going at the moment? Both Alpha and Worship Central have come out of the church, it’s clearly having a big impact.
Our vision is to play our part in the evangelization of the world and transformation of society. We’re one small bit of a massive jigsaw. One of the most exciting things about HTB is the church plants we’ve done.
Last week St Luke's Oseney Crescent in Camden was launched. 150 people there. You know the church is going to have a huge impact in that area. St Peter’s in Brighton, the church was going to be closed down. Two years ago there were very few people there, but there were 650 on Sunday. That’s the exciting thing. Local churches rising up. We’re all playing our part, no one has all the answers.
9. You are normally interviewed about worship, so we thought it would be good to ask you about something else for a change! What’s your opinion on the debate over women bishops?
Biblically I think there is a place for women leadership. I don’t believe God would say: 'Men the opportunities for leadership are endless and women can only go so far.' I totally appreciate and understand why some people might struggle with it, but I wouldn’t have a problem. There are amazing women who are gifted leaders and God is calling them to leadership. Biblically, I would take the line that there is a place for women leaders.
10. What does 2012 have in store for you?
I’m studying and training to become a vicar. I’ve got lots of essays to write. We’re beginning to travel a bit with Worship Central, we’re doing a bunch of stuff in India, Asia, Netherlands and Europe.
We’ve just released the Worship Central course, seven sessions, it’s free and anyone can run it in any local church anywhere in the world. We’ve already seen 392 courses registered in 45 countries.
Worship Central are going to record again hopefully in October, although it’s not official. Probably a live album.
March 14th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes