Flying in from the States to play Cross Rhythms is WAYNE DRAIN. One of America's best known worship songwriters, Wayne will be ministering with those pioneers of prophetic praise, Springwood. Wayne spoke to Mike Rimmer.
The transatlantic telephone line crackles with Wayne Drain's chuckle before he responds to my admittedly impertinent enquiry. No, it's not a made up name! Everett Wayne Drain dropped the Everett at the age of six. Drawls Wayne, "I'm sort of like Johnny Cash's 'A Boy Named Sue' - that name's got me into quite a few fights down the years."
The memorably monickered musician is married to June and has three children. At 43, he is the senior pastor of the Fellowship Of Christians in Arkansas. The church grew out of a housegroup that began to meet in his lounge during the Jesus revolution. The year was 1972 and Wayne was playing in evangelistic bands in his home state. He hung out with 2nd Chapter Of Acts and Phil Keaggy. Russ Taff, a fellow Arkansas boy, had a rival band; both of them played covers in coffee houses. Wayne began to write outreach songs of his own to evangelise. It was only in 1975 when his little housegroup became a church that he began to think about writing songs of worship to God. It was out of necessity; his young church needed songs to sing!
In 1979 Wayne made his first trip to the UK. At the request of John Noble and Gerald Coates, he went to visit a church in Cardiff and his association with Springwood began. Says Wayne, "We're friends and they're just great musicians and they really inspire the old creative juices in me and we've written some songs together." Wayne has played in Britain every year since 1979 and this year he will be teaming up again with Springwood to tour including a performance at the Cross Rhythms SW festival. As a big Beatles fan, his only regret is that the Liverpool festival won't be happening this year!
From 1981 until 1983, Wayne wrote exclusively for Scripture In Song. These days he mainly writes for his brother's publishing company but continues to write on a song-by-song basis for Scripture In Song projects. I wondered how the association started. "I was invited to do an Easter conference in New Zealand in 1981 and I hadn't heard of Scripture In Song or Dave and Dale Garrett. At one of the places I visited, Dave and Dale were there and they really liked my music and talked to me about it. They were really interested in the prophetic side of some of my songs."
Wayne's time in the southern hemisphere helped inspire one song that has become very popular in Britain. "Showers Of Blessing" was written as a result of a difficult situation. Wayne tells me, "We were doing a concert in the evening in a Baptist church in Melbourne. The pastor came to visit our rehearsal and said he didn't want us to lift our hands or speak in tongues or to move in a way that could be construed as dancing. He left and we were bummed out and I just started strumming those chords and we danced all over the church and wrote the song in that afternoon. That night 1200 people showed up and we did not move and we did not lift our hands but when we played the song, everyone started dancing in the whole place and ultimately the pastor did too."
At another memorable meeting, Wayne's worship was interrupted by the president! "Bill showed up at a place where I was leading worship one night. A friend of mine is in government and brought him over into the back of the room. There were about 1200 people praising the Lord with all their might and Bill came in. We saw him and invited him up. He gave a little impromptu speech about God and country and joined in with us clapping his hands and seemed to have a good time." So, any plans to feature Mr Clinton's sax on Wayne's next album? "We haven't got to working that out yet, he's been a little busy!"
Wayne's album 'The Time Is Now' was released by Alliance last summer. I wanted to find out about the title track. "I was on vacation with my wife in January 1993," says Wayne. "On the last day I was praying and asked God if there was anything he wanted to show me. For the next 30 minutes he began to show me he was going to pour out his Spirit in the earth and there was going to be a tremendous revival and he kept saying, 'Prophesy that the time is now.' I wrote the song in about 20 minutes. Over the next few months I felt the leading of the Spirit to gather songs from around the world. I wanted the album to be representative of what was happening in the earth. I felt the direction of the Lord to record the tape more as a prophetic statement that the time is now. I had no idea this Toronto thing was going to happen, who could have foreseen that? The album was released in May and Gerald Coates visited from England to tell us what was happening over there and since then the same thing has been happening here."
As a worship leader, Wayne acknowledges that the move of the Holy Spirit has changed the way in which he leads worship. "It's become a moment to moment thing rather than running to the end of the set and making an appeal. You may be planning to do 10 songs and only do one or you may be going out with some songs in mind and end up doing songs you haven't planned on. I enjoy it. It reminds me of the early days of the Jesus Movement where you were just trying to be led by the Spirit all the time so you're much more dependent on being close to the Lord rather than doing songs because you know them."
After 45 minutes on the phone, it's clear that Wayne Drain is excited to be alive because God is moving. My final enquiry was how he saw music fitting into the move of the Spirit. "Music has always been used in every move of God through church history. Music has been dull over the past few years and now suddenly it's coming alive and I don't think it's a coincidence that there is this move of God. I think music is always right there and it's a great time to be a musician if you're in a good place with God."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.