This praise chorus was written by Chris Tomlin and J.D. Walt while both were working at The Woodlands United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. Their hope was to break Watts’ hymn into the younger generation so they could own it and feel like it was their hymn, not just the hymn of their grandparents. It was performed for the first time by Tomlin and Matt Redman at the first One Day Passion event for college students outside Memphis, Tennessee. As they were singing, two men started processing through the crowds of 30-40,000 people with a large cross. As they brought it to the front, people started running out behind it and throwing themselves down before it, or reaching up to touch it. Hundreds gathered around the cross as the music continued, and J.D. Walt claims it was one of the most powerful worship moments he has ever been a part of.
Laura de Jong
Author and Composer Information
J.D. Walt has spent much of his life as a mentor to musicians. He has served as a pastor and mentor for the Passion Movement, and is involved as a theologian at Worship Central, the worship equipping and training ministry of Tim Hughes and Al Gordon in London. A licensed attorney, he now serves as Associate Vice President of Advancement at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, where he has served on the administration for eleven years. He now lives in Wilmore with his wife, also an Asbury graduate, and their four children.
Chris Tomlin (b. 1972) grew up in Grand Saline, Texas. He wrote his first worship song at age fourteen, and has gone on, according to CCLI, to become the most-often sung Christian artist on Sunday mornings. He joined Louie Giglio in leading the Passion Conferences in 1997, and has toured with contemporary artists such as Matt Redman, Delirious?, Steven Curtis Chapman and TobyMac. Tomlin released his first solo album, The Noise We Make, in 2001, and his 2013 album Burning Lights debuted at No. 1 on Billboard 200, the 4th ever Christian album to do so. His more well-known songs include “How Great is Our God,” “Jesus Messiah,” and “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone).” Tomlin and wife Lauren have one daughter.
Jesse Reeves has travelled and recorded as Chris Tomlin’s bass player since 1997. Born in Arlington, Texas, in 1975, he became interested in music at age 15. He has now co-written nearly thirty songs, mostly with Tomlin.
Laura de Jong
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