Tony Cummings spoke to BRYAN & KATIE TORWALT about their vision and ministry
Few would argue that husband and wife team Bryan and Katie Torwalt delivered the worshipping Church one of the most significant and anointed anthems of the generation. Their "Holy Spirit" first emerged on the duo's debut album 'Here On Earth' and since then has gone on to impact tens of thousands of churches as well as being a recent US Christian music chart topper for Francesca Battistelli. Now the Torwalt's new album 'Champion' has been released and it is enjoying big sales - debuting at number 19 on Billboard's mainstream album charts, 12 on the Top Digital Albums Chart and number one on the iTunes Christian album chart as well as getting rave reviews, JesusWired.com enthusing, "'Champion' is an amazing worship album that showcases Bryan and Katie's God-given talent of songwriting as well as their passion and hearts to worship God wholeheartedly." I spoke to Bryan and Katie and couldn't resist commenting on their worship classic.
Brian: It's a pretty crazy journey with "Holy Spirit".
Katie: We've been so thankful and so surprised with what God has done with that song. It's just been amazing. We wrote it about five or six years ago and it still has life and it's an honour that God is using it right now. It's been really good for us.
Tony: In the past the Church has given us countless songs about Jesus and God the Father but not that many songs addressing the Holy Spirit. Was that in your mind when you wrote "Holy Spirit"?
Bryan: Partially. We had been writing songs for our local church. There was a childhood song that was about the Holy Spirit that I remember singing in church as a kid. That song was in my head a lot. It started this journey where we began a conversation we'd love to write a song about the Holy Spirit. And that really was the beginning process. Our prayer, our desire in our local church was to see the Holy Spirit moving in people's lives and to make room more than anything for our awareness of him to be there - to be aware of God's presence in our lives, in our relationships and in our churches.
Tony: It must still give you a thrill when you go to an auditorium or go to a meeting and you sing that song and indeed you feel the atmosphere change.
Katie: Yes, absolutely. I think that is what it is for us. We get questions on it all the time, you know, why would we invite the Holy Spirit, because he is of course already with us and we know that. But like he talks about in the bridge, "make us more aware of your presence." So we were in an auditorium or a stadium and we were singing that and everyone is singing out those lyrics, "Make us more aware of your presence," it's something really special that I feel happens. Everybody gets a glimpse of what it truly feels like when we're all after that one thing. It's really cool for us.
Bryan: We did a tour with Jesus Culture to different cities in the United States and we had the privilege of leading worship in Orlando where there were some crazy events that happened at the beginning of June. So two weeks after all of that happened we were leading worship and people came and packed out the room. I remember specifically we sang that song about half way through the night and it was probably the loudest I've ever heard people sing "Holy Spirit". It took me off guard. I almost started crying because it felt so powerful - all these people that had these tragic events that had just happened in their city just beginning to worship and welcome the Holy Spirit and pray that they become more aware of his presence. There are moments like that and they are amazing and we feel so privileged and honoured that we can be a part of it.
Tony: Now when I write about yourselves and about Jesus Culture generally I often use the word revivalists because I believe that's what you are and you are seemingly sparking revival sometimes in home churches but certainly in the hearts of many individuals as you go around doing what you do. Are you comfortable with that word revivalist?
Katie: I think so. For us what that means is that we are constantly in pursuit of the presence of God and what he is doing. And our prayer is to never grow complacent or be just fine with where we're at and settle with what we have but to always go after what God is doing and to be part of that. So, yes, I guess we are comfortable with that. We love revival; we want to be in the midst of whatever God's doing, wherever he's doing it and however he's doing it.
Tony: There were two prophecies made here in the UK and probably in America as well, a number of years ago. One was that contemporary music was going to be a spearhead for revival and I think we're seeing that come to pass and we are seeing outbreaks of revival happening all around the world. But the other prophecy which was made a few years ago was that alongside the revival of light there was also going to be a revival of darkness - all kinds of evil were going to manifest themselves. And tragically I think that revival has begun as well and both these revivals will happen simultaneously and there will be more and more spiritual battles and things happening in the heavenlies as both darkness and light try and manifest themselves. Now I think we're seeing that coming to pass. What do you think?
Bryan: What we've been able to see as we travel around the world is that God is moving everywhere. We've been able to go to so many different countries and so many different churches and cities and we honestly see people so hungry for him and going out for him and I think there is obviously some crazy dark things happening in the world but the media definitely blows that into crazy proportions and we never really get to see all the amazing stuff in different countries. God is so big and he's so in control, he's so relentlessly good. Being able to go and worship and talk to leaders in different nations - I think we would all be surprised about the amazing things that God is doing around the world. We get to see God move in so many ways, people get healed and transformed and all these testimonies coming from music and I think what you said about contemporary music in your own country, people like Matt Redman and Martin Smith and Tim Hughes - those are some of our biggest heroes. A song like "10,000 Reasons" has sparked revival all over the world. He is totally right on with that one, so many amazing testimonies and stories.
Katie: People are hungry and God's moving throughout the world and stuff is happening, miracles are taking place, the supernatural is taking place and people love the Lord. So that is really encouraging to us and makes us see from a different perspective I guess than we could if we just watched the news every day and didn't seek the Lord for what he was doing.
Bryan: The Bible taught us to mourn with those who mourn and there have been some tragic events that have happened in our country and globally and throughout Europe in the last while and I think we want to be praying and continually supporting and doing what we can, endeavouring to bring light into the dark places. Because God's light is so bright and it is ultimately the solution.
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