10 Questions with ... Chris Llewellyn
July 6, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Gareth Gilkeson
- Chris Llewellyn
- Ali Gilkeson
- Patrick Thompson
- Stephen Mitchell
- 2010 Organic Family Hymnal
- 2012 Homemade Worship By Handmade People
- 2013 Campfire
- 2014 The Art Of Celebration
- 2015 As Family We Go
Although most of us in Rend Collective grew up near a coastal town in Northern Ireland called Bangor, I grew up in the small neighboring town Newtownards. My earliest memories of being Christian heavily involve my church in Bangor. It's in Bangor that we used to meet as a part of a young adults Bible study called Rend. I played on the worship team with Patrick, and Gareth would speak most weeks. It'll always hold a special place in my heart as the place where I learned to make my faith my own, and what it looks like to live in fellowship with other Christians. Nowadays we spend a lot of time on the road, traveling as a band family. My current hometown is ambiguous, but my wife travels with us and works for the band so that helps make everywhere feel a little bit more like home.
2. What does a normal day at home look like for you?
We're not home much, but when we are it's usually a day off from work. I start most days in the kitchen making coffee- which feels like a real treat! I try to spend some portion of each day home writing music, it's one of the main ways I connect with God and process what's happening in my life. I try to go on a run (Gareth and I are perpetually in training for a hypothetical marathon!) and then I try to catch up with friends and make dinner with my wife.
3. What's the song that you just can't get out of your head right now?
'Between Me and You' by Brandon Flowers is real winner for me right now. The production is subtle, tasteful and at times a little unexpected but it's the lyrics of a song that always give it life for me. The chorus starts with the line " There's a power in letting go" and I think it's a beautiful, if unintentional, re-phrasing of Jesus' words that we only find real life when we lose it in Him.
4. How much do you travel, what are the challenges? How do you juggle life on the road with wanting to be home?
I would say we spend the majority of our time on the road traveling for work. It hasn't always been easy, and you're never home as much as you want to be. However, God has provided ways to make it more manageable. Like I've already mentioned, my wife works and travels alongside me, which helps tremendously. Learning to do family and marriage on the road definitely comes with its own challenges, but we've learned a lot about each other in the process and have come out stronger for it.
5. What Artist or Pastor has had the greatest impact on you?
In terms of artistry and songwriting, I have to mention Matt Redman. The way he leads as a worship leader, song writer and touring musician has definitely made him a role model for me. I learned very early on that it's nearly impossible to write authentic worship music that isn't deeply rooted in awe of the glory of God. Matt, whether he knows it or not, has been someone I look up to in this regard.
And in terms of pastors, it would be impossible not to talk about my good friend Greg Fromholz. He's the one person in my life, outside of my wife, who regularly checks in with me to see how he can be praying and encouraging me from afar. It's a blessing to have someone like that who understands the unique challenges my job and ministry presents and is praying for me.
6. What's the last book you read?
It might sound cliche, but I think one of the best books I've read recently was The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. I finally picked up the Narnia series after many promptings from my wife and now get why they're classics. One of the songs from our upcoming album, 'One and Only', is based off the creation scene from that story. It moved me so much I sat down at our piano after reading it and this whole song flowed out.
7. Funniest or most embarrassing moment on the road?
Oh goodness, there are so many! Why are there so many?! Most notably for me was on the Rock and Worship Roadshow in 2012. It had gotten to the point in the tour where all the cities started to blend together, especially for me as a Northern Irishman who was still familiarizing myself with all these American cities and states! We were playing in Minneapolis and I walked on stage and with astounding gusto said "Helloooo Phoenix!" I had never heard 15,000 people go completely quiet. It was awful. (editors note...and then they sang the song on the video below, and the place went crazy! Check it out....)
8. Give us an overview of your latest project.
Our upcoming album is called As Family We Go for the very literal reason that we work, travel and do ministry together as a traveling family. Not only do I travel with my wife, but Gareth and Ali, who head up our percussion, travel with their little boy. Family has become an integral part of what road life looks for us. We're learning to be people who forgive easily, who serve one another, and who are on this journey of faith together. The songs on this album were songs written for the journey we all are on. As Christians this world will never be our final home, we're still traveling toward our true home.
9. What organization/service group are you affiliated with?
We're passionate partners with Compassion and love what the work they do. In a world full of pain and inequality, it can be overwhelming to know exactly how to help. One of the things we love most about Compassion is that they're work offers a future for children in countries and economies where they might not have flourished. By providing health care, dental care and an education we get a chance to tangibly contribute to the future generations of the world in the name of Jesus. It's a beautiful thing and something we whole-heartedly believe in.
10. Person you'd most like to have a discussion with, living or dead.....Deities are excused from this question
Well I haven't talked to my mum in a while and she's pretty awesome! Maybe I should give her a call...
1. Favorite Bible Verse....life verse. Why?
John 10:10 is a real favorite. It's a reminder that Jesus doesn't close down our options in this life but rather opens us up to a wider, wilder , more color version of humanity. Life in all its fullness.
2. How & When did you become a believer?
Even though I grew up with Christian parents and in a Christian home, I didn't come to trust in God until early into my adult life. I had been on track to play rugby, perhaps even professionally, when I broke my collar bone and during my recovery missed my window for tryouts. In the following weeks while I rested at home I happened to pick up one of the many Bibles my mum had lying about the house and turned to Revelation (because I wanted to know what happened at the end of the story!) There I read Revelation 2 , which urges the church in Laodicea to move away from lukewarm belief in God and to either be hot or cold. It was reading those verses that I felt God speak to my heart and I decided right then and there that I was going to give my life to Jesus. I haven't ever looked back.