INTERVIEW – MATT OSGOOD
Here is the forth interview with my friend Matt Osgood.
Please can you tell us about yourself and what do you do?
I’m the full-time worship pastor of St. Stephen’s Church, Twickenham and have been there for 3 years. More importantly I’m husband to Bonnie and dad to Jemima + another one arriving in June! I’m also one of the co-founders of www.RESOUNDworship.org, a free worship song web-site that aims to offer quality songs to local churches worldwide for a bargain price of absolutely nothing.
How and when did you become a Christian?
I was brought up in a Christian family (both my parents are ordained) and grew up believing in God. However going away to Uni like for many people caused me to question my faith and calling as I had to choose whether I was going to take my faith on as my own. Through a chance meeting with someone who I hadn’t seen since they had spoken God’s guidance into my life a few years previously at a conference, I was reassured that God really did exist and had a plan and a purpose for my life.
What song personally means the most to you and why?
This changes quite regularly! :) At the moment it’s probably Brenton Brown’s ‘Strength will rise’ – I love the fact that it’s pretty much pure Scripture set to a great melody.
What books would you recommend as ‘must reads’?
Worship Matters – Bob Kauflin
Worshipping Trinity – Robin Parry
God Songs – Paul Baloche
To know you more – Andy Park
Simply Christian – NT Wright (and pretty much anything else by NT Wright for that matter!)
… I’m assuming the Bible is in the list as number 1!
What are the most important things you think every worship leader should know?
You’re not responsible for making people worship, you’re only helping create an environment where they can engage with God. After that it’s between them and the Holy Spirit. So relax!
Also don’t stress too much over song choice. Yes, do make songs flow from one to the other according to theme and musical style, but don’t get yourself in a panic that ‘if I don’t choose the right song, people won’t be able to worship’. There are sometimes particular songs that capture a moment better than any others, but I’ve found the majority of the time that if I choose songs that the congregation can sing and that are full of truth about God, they will praise Him.
And you’re a servant. You’re there to serve the congregation by enabling them to bring their own offering to God through music, prayer, dance, prophecy, whatever. The moment that your own preferences and desires get in the way (whether that’s by choosing a bunch of songs that you like that no-one knows, or refusing to use an older song because you’re bored of it, or being musically self-indulgent) then they need to be submitted again to God. I like to hope that however long I’ve been doing this job I won’t ever become so deluded that I think I’m too ‘important’ to coil cables or get a jug of water for the vocalists!
Any other words of wisdom?
The most important thing is your own relationship with God. I’d love to claim I’ve got this sorted, but like most people I go through times of great passion for God and other times where I’m so busy I find it hard to pray – but I know that the more I love God, the more deeply I’m rooted in His Word, the more I’m open to His voice, the more I am able to lead others into a place of engagement with Him. NOT that it’s ultimately anything to do with me, there have also been many times when I’ve led feeling worthless and useless, and those have ended up being incredibly powerful times. So it’s a balance, on the one hand I must pursue God with all my heart because he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Heb 11:6), but on the other hand I must humbly recognise that it’s about Him and His kingdom, and not about me.