Through his songs, Chris Tomlin leads millions in praise and worship. That’s not an exaggeration. In 2013, CNN called the Grammy and Dove award-winning artist the “king of worship” because over 60,000 churches — with hundreds attending services — sing his songs every Sunday. That audience dwarfs the fans of even the top pop stars, but as CNN noted, “Millions know his songs, but not his name.”
And that’s OK with Chris Tomlin. This musician and co-author of a new picture book with Pat Barrett, Good, Good Father, desires that his music would be used to draw people closer to God.
Now Chris has set his attention on a new audience — one that will take decades of commitment — to cultivate hearts of worship in his children, 2-year-old Madison and 5-year-old Ashlyn.
Amazed by His goodness
Though Chris is on the road performing about 50 percent of the time, when he isn’t, he is all in with the family. After all, knowledge of Dad isn’t a relationship with him. He tries not to give his kids a reason to turn from their heavenly Father because of their not knowing their earthly dad.
“I am constantly in awe and wonder at what God has given us,” Chris says. He wants to pass his amazement on to his young children, and the only way he can do that is to spend time with them. “Even when I don’t have it all together,” Chris says, “He can work through my available heart.”
Chris says he wants his children to understand that we sing praises to God not just while attending church services or concerts. Worship is a foundational part of our relationship with God, a genuine outpouring of our hearts. Chris and his wife, Lauren, have committed to living out an attitude of praise. “Kids know if you’re not authentic,” he says.
The family sings together in the car or at home — while playing, doing chores and relaxing. “Praising God is a choice, not just something you do at church,” Chris says, though from a young age Chris loved hearing people sing at church. Still, he’s glad to see his girls are following in his footsteps.
The Tomlins understand that children can’t worship someone they don’t know. Relationships require time to get to know each other better. God is no different. At home, the Tomlins teach their girls through kids’ Bibles that have a lot of pictures. They try to weave God’s wisdom and truth into the different teachable moments of life and are grateful that their church and Christian school are places that help their girls learn about and interact with God in age-appropriate ways.
One of the reasons that Chris co-wrote Good, Good Father was to help his girls understand more about God. When he reads the book to them, his prayer is that they will understand that God is an amazing, caring, all-knowing Father. The more they know about Him, the more opportunity they will have to love Him. When the Tomlins went to their oldest girl’s first parent-teacher conference, the teacher at this Christian school said, “You are doing well in teaching your daughter about God.” That meant a lot to Chris.
Life is worship
“You aren’t worshiping just because you sing a praise song,” Chris says. Although Chris personally loves communicating with God through music, he wants his children to grasp a larger understanding of worship — that our lives should demonstrate ongoing praise to God. He tries to help his girls see that worship is how you live your life and give God credit for His goodness, regardless of where you are or how you feel about your circumstances. Chris says, “It’s a way to connect with and honor God.”