Global Worship

Friday 27th January 2006

American-born MARK TEDDER runs a pool of 40 musicianaries taking worship ministry around the world. He was quizzed by Tony Cummings.

Global Worship

Mark Tedder is one of the new wave of American modern worship leaders. The album 'Worshiplanet' by Mark Tedder & The Worshiplanet Band has just been released in the UK by Kingsway so it seemed like a golden opportunity to throw a few questions at this gifted singer/songwriter.

Tony: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Mark: I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. At an early age I accepted Christ but didn't truly understand the impact of 'giving' my heart away to him until I felt a strong sense in my heart to get involved in world missions. My main passion growing up was drums. I have played since I was five years old. I auditioned for a band (Living Sound, based in Oklahoma) at the age of 17 and joined them as a drummer and singer. I had the opportunity to travel around the world with Living Sound. I visited the USSR in 1980 and met with underground believers. That experience rocked my world!

I returned to Little Rock after two years on the road with the band, married my childhood "sweetie" (Carrie) and we moved to the UK in the mid '80s. We were youth workers (with Scripture Union and YFC) for eight years living in Malmesbury, Bath and London. Our two boys (Ben and Daniel) were born in the UK during that time. The "Wall" fell in 1990 and we moved to Moscow where we spent about a year, moved back to Arkansas for one year and then re-located ourselves in Prague for four years working for the European Evangelical Alliance. We returned to Arkansas, worked with a church for three years before moving to Colorado. We have been in Colorado now for five years. I lead worship at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs. Woodmen is a church with two campuses (one a video community) and has 6000 members.

Tony: When and how did you feel led to get involved in worship music?

Mark: It wasn't until we lived in Prague, 1995-1999, that I volunteered to lead worship for the international church of Prague. I barely played guitar! I remember putting on a Delirious CD (regularly) at our home in Prague and playing along (learning the chords) to their songs on 'Live In The Can'. However, as a drummer, I had rhythm and could sing and play at the same time which is a struggle for some. I am a self-taught guitarist but need to practise daily to hone my craft. I never led a team of musicians, so I was thrown into the deep end without the skills I felt I needed. It really made me realise how David felt when he approached Goliath with simply a sling and some stones. I continued to "hack" my way through those four years in Prague and upon our return to Arkansas I was offered a "real" job as worship pastor in a local church of 300! At times I think I would have been better suited behind the kit instead of leading from the front on guitar. God has his ways of preparing us for stuff down the road that we never envision.

Tony: What is Worshiplanet and what is the vision behind that?

Global Worship

Mark: My wife and I lead an international worship equipping ministry called Worshiplanet. We have a pool of about 40 professional "musicianaries" who travel extensively around the world working with local churches helping them in their worship development. It is incredible to be able to "touch" and learn from so many worship teams/leaders within their respective cultures. We teach on a variety of such subjects as personal worship as a leader, how to build a worship team, song writing within your own culture/context, dealing with conflict within your team, recruiting new worship team members, working alongside your pastor, worship evangelism in the public arena, etc. We have a passion for the nations and an obsession for the worship of God!

Tony: You have had quite a bit of ministry experience in the UK, haven't you?

Mark: We have been involved with Spring Harvest on several occasions. More recently we have lead worship (at Spring Harvest) in 2003 and 2005 in Skegness. Spring Harvest is such an incredible tool that God has used to allow families a fully orbed worship/teaching experience in a holiday format. Very cool! Having lived in the UK for eight years we have had many wonderful experiences and have many fond memories of ministry there. And now with our association with Kingsway, we hope that we can play a small role in helping people in their personal worship journey. I have been asked to participate as one of the worship leaders at Kingsway's Worship Experience in Eastbourne in November this year. I am honoured to be a part of this event.

Tony: What is your favourite worship song you've written and your favourite that somebody else has?

Mark: I guess one of my favourite worship songs is by Chris Tomlin called "How Great Is Our God (The Splendour Of A King)". I guess the one I have most enjoyed leading that I wrote is "Become What You Believe". I have two versions on our current CD (Part 1 and Part 2) - we have an Italian singer who does a rap on Part 1 that was a lot of fun recording. Part 2 takes you around the world as a worshiper.

Tony: Do you think worship music has become over commercialized?

Mark: As a worship leader in a local church, I experience this weekly. I lead a congregation of 6000 "individuals" who have their own context of music and in particular worship music. We are bombarded every day with conflicting messages from TV, radio, motorway signs, work and school. However, we must fine tune our hearts to the chief musician who is calling to us daily to draw near to him. One of the things that I have to teach our congregations is that it's not always about what (current) songs we sing. Rather, it's about our heart's posture. (Did we come "worshipping" to church or did we come to church to worship?) Do we as the body of Christ see worship as living the life of a worshiper or do we see worship as an "event" that we come to? I read something from GK Chesterson the other day that says, "We are taller when we bow." Worship leaders must follow the example of the Old Testament leaders. We are simply to point the way to the Father. To exult him and to lead his people in praise of the living God! We must instill in our congregations that it's all about realising how big God is, and how small we feel when we look up. Worship leaders have been entrusted a platform. Therefore, we must respect and honour this calling in Christ through what we do, say and how we lead from that platform. The more we get "out of the way" the more people will see and experience Jesus - the one who is worthy. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

Reader Comments

Posted by Star Jambaya in Surrey. UK @ 20:52 on Jul 31 2010

I would like to order a CD/Tape especcially the one you recorded from china. I watched you from the God channel for an hour and I was blessed. I wil try and look for the CD from the christian book shop here in Surrey. You remind me of Hillsong Australia. God bless you.

Posted by Ivan Baleeta in Jinja Uganda @ 08:15 on Nov 28 2008

Dear Pastor,
I thank God for people like you who lead us into His throne room, this is the real heart of worship. Feels great to visit and know your ministry.

Posted by PASTOR KYAKULAGA DAV in IGANGA, UGANDA, EAST AFRICA @ 08:33 on May 27 2008

Helo Friends,
This is PASTOR KYAKULAGA DAVID pastoring a church in Iganga Town one of the towns in the nation of UGANDA.please we need people like you to extend your ministry to Uganda and we organise leaders and all believers conferences and you come tobuild the kingdom of God.
We have seen many people come to Christ even though the place where we are is mostly occupied by moslems but many of them accepted Jesus as their lord and Saviour.
In this area we have faced many challenges like POVERY- most of the people are very poor and are leaving under the poverty line and as you know the result is because the parents can not manage to take their children to school and even can not manage to feed and cloth them the some parents become thieves to be able to survive and the boys do the same and some go to the streets and the girls become prostutes selling sex to any body and this cause HIV/AIDS to spread the more..And another challenge is HIV/AIDS -many people in thie area are affected by this epidemic of Hiv/Aids.
God has led us to begin many activities to save the situation like aprogram called DIVINE WELFARE PROGRAM where we save our money as asmall Bank and we give small loans to people to begin small businesses to be able to survive and we also begun DIVINE CARE FOR ORPHANS AND THE NEEDY to help such people and we do this by just contributing money ,food and clothes to help them.And we have even begun a primary school for the orphans and the needy called DIVINE FINISH EDUCATION CENTRE and we need support in this school. But the burden have become so big to us that is why we are requesting people like you whom the lord has called and put aburden to serve him to allow us be connected to you that we may work to gether to advance his kingdom even here.
we will be very gratefu to hear from you soon.

Posted by Tony Gray in Colorado Springs, Co, USA @ 15:24 on Nov 25 2006

I attend the church that Mark Tedder led worship at in Colorado Springs. Mark leads me to worship the target of worship, Jesus, the Spirit and God. Since he is ministering in China I have missed him, but we all must understand that it is our Lord and God that we worship and any worship leader can do that, Mark just has that gift of bringing my spirit to worship. I am looking forward to his new album "PILGRIMS JOURNEY", which is currently available in the UK and soon in the US.

Posted by Dave Umphress in Colorado Springs @ 17:25 on Sep 19 2006

I've gone to the church that Mark Tedder leads worship at all my life and I think that he's one of the most amazing worship leaders that I've ever worshiped with. In addition to his skill, he's so incredibly set on giving all of the glory and honor to God and accepts none of it for himself. He's also an amazing writer. I love a number of his songs. He's great! Pick up his cd!!

Posted by jess in grimsby @ 11:33 on Jan 31 2006

i heard him at spring harvest both times he lead there and i must say he was one of the only worship leaders thats eemd to be on the older teenagers level of worship

Posted by dMac in USA @ 22:00 on Jan 27 2006

I picked up Mark's Worshiplanet CD and DVD. It's awesome. Powerful songs performed with skill and heart. Plus the arrangements are within easy reach of the average weekend worship team. Highly recommended.

Thanks for the interview. Great to hear Mark's passion for the nations.

Posted by Rita Kamya in USA @ 11:02 on Jan 27 2006

I sing in the worship team at my church. I like Mark's last comments about leading worship, "...honoring that position and getting out of the way so that people may experience Jesus." You see, it is not about us. It is about God. We are just vessels used by Him. So we should lay down our lives, crucify our flesh in order to experience the presence of God. Then and only after then, can we be able to lead the congregation into His presence.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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