Matthew Ward: 2nd Chapter Of Acts and Pioneering CCM

Thursday 8th February 2007

Jesus music pioneer MATTHEW WARD speaks to Mike Rimmer.

Continued from page 2

There's nothing like having confidence in one's own work! In My Second Chapter Ward shares the challenge of when he was diagnosed with cancer. People say that receiving a diagnosis of cancer is more than sobering. "You know, I guess it is," agrees Matthew. "For me the thing that I got out of the whole struggle was the fact that I really had a screwed up vision of what the Father-heart of God looked like. That's what I came face to face with. I lost my parents at a young age and Buck did the best he could at raising me but we never saw eye to eye on anything. I didn't have a good clear picture of what a father-figure looked liked and that translated into my spiritual walk as well. I always thought of God as loving me but like in a collective sense; he loves everyone and I'm included in that. Not like, he knows every hair on my head. In my case it would not be that big of a job!"

Matthew laughs as he famously began losing his hair while he was in his 20s. I, of course, am too polite to point this out. "I'll do it for you!" he chuckles. "But you know what I'm saying? I really didn't think of God as taking any sort of real personal interest in me as an individual. I kind of thought, yeah I think he does but he's a busy guy. But it was through that cancer experience that I began to learn what it really means that God does have a Father's heart toward me. That Jesus is the great intercessor. He intercedes before the Father for me. And that's a powerful image." He describes the treatment he received, "I had surgery and then I took three different types of chemotherapy. I was fortunate, I did the shortest regime that you could do at the time, which was six weeks. I got the all clear in January 1994. It's been 13 years."

Matthew Ward may not be as high profile as he was in the '70s and '80s with 2nd Chapter Of Acts but a lot of his music is still available on CD. He says, "I'm working right now on getting a lot of my solo work on kind of like an iTunes deal where they're individual songs and you can buy them for a buck. I can do that, whereas I can't re-master, re-cover and manufacture 1000 units of all those - I don't have that kind of cash flow. I wish I could! Maybe if enough people buy these MP3s I will be able to do that because that's my goal. I want to actually go back and release some originally packaged albums."

The '70s was an unusual time for modern Christian music. There were pioneers making fresh music but there was also the whole wave of God moving through what became known as the Jesus Movement. It's the nearest America has come to a revival in modern times. The great thing about Ward's autobiography is that at least his part to the story is not lost. There is little documentation of the Christian music of the period which is sad. "That's true," agrees Ward. "I think it's important because I have been in it since I was 13. I got to know, especially on the West Coast, all those bands like Mustard Seed Faith and JC Power Outlet. All these different bands that people now today would go, 'Who?!' And it's because of places like the Salt Company and stuff. Places in LA that bands would go and play and we'd get to know these guys. There are some really great stories out there and some tragic stories that have happened since then that people don't know about, and should know about. Once in a while you'll run across some footage that somebody will say, 'Hey I had an 8mm camera going when you were down at. . .' Sometimes you run across that and they'll send a copy of it to you. But by and large yeah, much of it is undocumented. But the whole scene was not all ice-cream and cookies, you know?"

I do know! A lot of people were definitely casualties on the way and not all have survived with as much grace and sanity as Matthew Ward. He sighs, "Some people really lost their way. Oh man, trashed! I mean bad!" Despite this, he admits that it was definitely a move of God rather than a PR-manufactured exercise. He says, "I think that's absolutely true. I mean, we didn't know enough to promote ourselves properly, even if we tried."

As for it being the last true moves of God in America, Ward agrees. "Well, I think so." He elaborates, "Here's what I find exciting though. I've heard preachers say this and I'm normally very slow on talking about this kind of stuff but I really think that we're on the edge of something big. I think we're right on the edge of some breakthrough. And I don't necessarily think it's going to come through the Church. I think it's going to come through just people on the streets. God's Spirit showing up and falling. Because I think we're all too callous. We've seen the TV preachers and we think that's Church but I think God's gonna start knocking on hearts. The Holy Spirit is going to start drawing men. And it's going to be really exciting! I just hope we're in a place to help them out when that happens. Because in the first Jesus Movement, the Church wasn't in a place to help but the hippies became the church!"

Finally, looking forwards, what does Matthew hope people will get from the book? "Well you know, it talks about a lot of different things. It goes in a lot of different directions. I think people will laugh at times. Maybe cry at times. But what I want people to walk away with when they've read it is a real sense of the faithfulness of God. How he's always been faithful through all sorts of different circumstances. No matter how bad things got he was always there to whatever degree and he was always faithful. I get into that a little bit in the book."

And then the conversation is over. We stand and are ready to leave as a couple of old fans walk over and begin reminiscing about 2nd Chapter Of Acts ministering in their town back in the '80s. I guess this kind of conversation happens every day for Ward and it's just the consequence of making music that has touched lives over the years. As for me, I say my farewells and head off, leaving them to it. 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.
Showing page 3 of 3

1 2 3

Reader Comments

Posted by Richard Alan Edwards in Dahlonega, GA @ 22:58 on Apr 9 2017

Dear Christian friends, I want to just say Amen to all of your comments about 2nd Chapter of Acts. Their songs had an immense impact on me as well. Thanks to the Lord for his ministry through them. I am 63 and still listen to their music. However, I would love it if they could re-unite one more time in several locations across the country to minister to us again. Thank you.

Posted by Michael Burke in Bradenton, FL @ 15:06 on Aug 25 2013

Hey Mike,
Thanks for this wonderful interview with Matthew Ward. I gave my life to Jesus in the early 70's and I am so thankful to God for immersing me in the awesome music and revival that rushed through America during that time. God called me to music ministry during that time and we formed a CCM band "Living Free" who toured and recorded original Christian music throughout the 70's later to become "Image". In the 80's everyone went their separate ways to get "serious" about their careers. Disillusioned, disappointed and divorced I found myself on a very dark path all the while holding my two sons, Matthew and Daniel close to me. I knew God had called me to music ministry and I look back at all those years and how He was always there and never let me down. God is faithful!! Five years ago I rededicated my Life to Jesus and it is amazing what He has done. We released a new record "Winds of Time" in 2012 with some of the original members of the band and my sons played on some of the tracks. My wife and I are so excited about what God is going to do in the near future. 2nd Chapter of Acts and Matthew Ward were a huge part of the foundation God started in my life and I agree with Matthew that something big is on the horizon.

Posted by Rev. Tonny Marshall in Sacramento, California @ 03:23 on Sep 27 2011

My comment is to my brother Matthew Ward:

I was born again on July 11 1979, In NTC/RTC Naval Recruiting, San Diego California, and shortly afterwards, was exposed to your music, and that Anointed voice you have. Being a vocalist myself, I was just taken with how God used your voice, and amazing enough, he began to use my voice as well, as I dedicated my life to him, he used me to sing at the chapel on base, upon request by my pastor, and while serving on ships in the Navy. I was moved to tears when I first heard what the spirit did with Psalms 61 when you were with your sisters in concert Live. You sat down to the Piano and what I heard from that point on, was just amazing to me.
I wanted to share with you how your words touched my spirit in those days and Gods hand in your lyrics guided me through life and death conditions while serving my country.
You need to know that I praise God for you, and all that you were obedient to in the Service to our Lord, and I want to have the chance to write to you, and to one day meet you before God Calls either one of us home. I want nothing other than to meet my brother in the Lord to communicate with him and share with him my testimony. In the name of our Lord Jesus.
May God continue to bless you in your ministry.

Posted by Pat Winfield in Louisville KY @ 20:33 on Aug 26 2009

Listening to 1997 "My Redeemer" today.
2nd Chapter & your music played a big part in my Christian growth. I worked at a few of the concerts as a volunteer years ago.
Today just wanted to thank you for the 'gift' you have shared with us through the years. It is still blessing me today and lifting my spirit and worship. The value of music is sorely underestimated by many.
Thanks again to you and your family.

Posted by Jenny Wells in Eugene, OR @ 04:20 on Dec 7 2008

I learned of the 2nd chapter of Acts when I was about 13. I am 44 now. My best friend and I sang "Prince song" at school chapel - we were attending a private church school. Over the years my two sisters and I had a very similiar experience, only we were singing all of Annie Herring's music around the piano while I was playing! A lot of church members at the time did not appreciate the "tone" of the music, but looking back I see the songs as being right on target, in line with God's word. From Keith Green to Matthew Ward to Pam Mark Hall - I loved them all and so much of how I have grown as a Christian I can point to their teaching in their music. Larry Norman also. I am so glad God blessed us with Matthew, Annie and Nellie.

Posted by Jessy in So. Cal. @ 04:44 on Jul 19 2008

Matthew Ward is one of two of my favorite True Christian Artist. His voice is terrific! He stand so far above the numerous groups he was mentioning in "company collection" of "money makers" that are out there selling albums instead of truly trying to reach souls and Proclaim the Word of God. Thank you Mr. Ward for beign such a blessing to me and my life Sir. I look forward to more of your music!! Thank You Jesus for blessing your people with such a tremendous singer.

Posted by Angelina in OCALA, FL @ 03:38 on Feb 25 2008

I really was blessed by your interview with Matthew Ward. The LORD has led me recently back to my roots in Christian music in the past few years in the past few months has led me to brother Matt. Truly his words are so true for I am feeling so much of what he shared, about what has happened in the ministry of music... Matthew and his sisters truly were Worshippers of God.
Thank you for this interview.

Posted by Panayioti Gianaros in New York City @ 05:30 on Jul 29 2007

I grew up listening to Love Song, Phil Keaggy, and of course 2nd Chapter. It was amazing if someone told me when I was a teenager that one day I would go to the same church that Matthew Ward was attending. Well I just visited in 2001 and he gave his concert of a new album at that time. He gave all of us a free CD actually. And what impressed me is this man's meekness, gentleness, and attitude of worship of Jesus.

That was a highlight of my time in Colorado actually, even though I also attended an RC Sproul conference there.

When will any members of the 2nd Chapter of Acts come to present a program for us Christian culture starved New Yorkers??

Posted by Keith Mohr in Franklin, TN @ 06:41 on Feb 17 2007

Wonderful interview Mike. I met Matthew one time.. when I was in the group Harvest. I was in a recording studio in Lindale, TX.. Matthew was producing the Harvest record called "Mighty River." I walked into the control room and Matthew had his feet up on the recording console. He asked me who I was, and I told him I was working with Harvest.. He passed some wind and said.,. "I'll give you a year and you'll be gone".. and wouldnt you know it.. he was right. I called Matthew the "gassy prophet," because he called that one! Its good to hear he is doing well.

And yes.. I agree.. the Lord is calling His minstrels.. those who are commited to the call and dedicated to service. The age of christian idols is almost over. There is a new wind blowing.. Its called INTERDEPENDENCE.. This is where artists who are not signed to a record contract come together to serve one another and help one another in their music missions.

The work I am doing with is a part of this new movement. And it all started when I was in Lindale, TX back in 1991. God is moving! The industry as we know it is crumbling. The old stadium is being torn down and a new game is being played.

Watch the coming changes.. labels as we know them will not be the same in the next few years..

Reply by Patricia Wilson in Newberry, S.C. @ 03:48 on Jan 27 2009

Hey Keith,
Remember me, from the Harvest concerts and stuff? I just wanted to say hi and tell Cheryl hi for me too. Would love to hear from you.
patricia Wilson

[report abuse]

Posted by Verne Bullock in Brighton, Colorado @ 14:27 on Feb 11 2007

I became a christian thru the ministry of The Salt Company, in LA, in 1970. I met Annie, Buck, Nellie and Matthew one morning when a girl I had met at Hollywood Pres, invited me to go meet some friends of hers "waiting on God to do a music thing with them." Our drive into the Hollywood Hills ended at Annie and Buck Herrings home, where sitting around in their kitchen, we got to know each other a little...

What Matthew says is so right on...and I can't wait to see him again. I heard he lives in Colorado Springs, CO now, and we have a mutual acquaintence, It won't be long, and we will be face to face again...

The Lord is up to something, just like Matthew said. Two weeks ago, I attended the 70th birthday party for Don Williams, the pastor under whose ministry, The Salt Company began in Los Angeles. All of my friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, who came to know Jesus then, were together again, in the same building, and it was more than just a birthday party, I think and hope it was the birth of the next movement...finishing the work that was started in the 70's revival, calling the elect together again, and anointing us for service, on the streets, in the Starbucks coffee shops of the world, surrendering ourselves to Christ, letting Him do His work.

For by Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things, to Him be Glory forever...

Thanks for the article....come to Colorado and let me give you some more information Mike...I'd love to talk to you...Verne

Reply by Angelina in OCALA, FL @ 04:06 on Feb 25 2008

Brother Verne,
Amen to your comment and brother Matts word that the Lord is doing something in his people.I to was Saved in the 70s have been experiencing the same draw back to my first love. And that God will finish what he started in the 70s. Like Matt said in the streets through His church.

[report abuse]

Reply by Traci in Brighton @ 19:19 on Mar 1 2007

I enjoyed reading your story. Wondering if you might be able to direct me in some way. My daughter (6 years old) is definately a child of God. She would like to become an active part of Christian Music and I am just not sure where to go with this. I told her I'd check on the intranet today ~ and that's when your story showed up.

[report abuse]

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

Add your comment

We welcome your opinions but libellous and abusive comments are not allowed.

We are committed to protecting your privacy. By clicking 'Send comment' you consent to Cross Rhythms storing and processing your personal data. For more information about how we care for your data please see our privacy policy.