Interview: Mark Tedder

Jun 03 2009

Louder Than The Music has had the honor of speaking with Mr Mark Tedder, with his new album out "The Door", Mark answers our questions about his work in China and his new site worshiplanet.com.

You have just recorded a new CD "The Door" in Mainland China, what was the reason behind this idea?

We've been serving Beijing International Christian Fellowship for two years and really felt the time was right for an outward expression of worship in the for of a DVD and CD to be released in mainland China. The church in Beijing is made up of over 40 different nationalities. Every weekend we meet in several locations throughout Beijing. We asked the entire BICF body to come out for this recording which truly expresses the breadth of the body of Christ in Beijing (including about 50% Chinese nationals!)

Did you come up against any Government problems regarding the record?

We asked permission for this recording to take place. The fact that it was right before the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, they were a bit hesitant on recording a CD and resistant against recording a DVD for fear of TV broadcast. Take into context that every week we meet in a theatre in the centre of Beijing. Every person who attends our services is checked by a government official and has to produce either a foreign passport or a form of I.D. from a foreign country. Since half of our congregations are 'returning' Chinese, (i.e. Chinese nationals who have lived abroad and returned to their home country) it makes a project like The Door so much more strategic - it will literally go out into towns, villages and cities all across China. So, in regards to your question, and given the backdrop of our church in Beijing, we were able to record and film the event - and quickly get the hard drives out of the country. There was also a very real threat of the entire project being shut down - even minutes before we began on that Sunday morning. But, due to the prayers of people around the world who knew about the recording as well as local believers, we were able to get the project recorded in our two Sunday morning services. Check out www.musicwithintegrity.com/thedoor. This will give you a bigger picture of the project and all that went into it!

The sense of worship comes across on the album are you happy with it as an album and DVD?

We simply wanted to capture the essence of what we get to experience every Sunday at BICF. Worship is a lifestyle to most of our congregations and therefore, we feel that this was an outflow of what happens each week. Living in a place like China is difficult at best. Many of our congregations are working in the spheres of education, banking, environment, government, etc. Therefore, as worshipers in a foreign land, our only desire was to lift up Christ and make his fame known.

How did you get into music/leading worship in the first place?

I grew up playing drums, and then later played professionally for a couple of years with a touring band. My wife, Carrie and I were youth workers for years throughout Europe, working alongside Youth for Christ, Scripture Union and a couple of other youth projects. We eventually ended up as a family in Prague, Czech Republic. God opened up a unique door for us to lead worship (out of necessity) for the International Church of Prague. This resulted in me picking up an acoustic guitar and 'cramming' by playing along with Delirious' "live in the can" CD. The first songs I led were mostly form that album - and I repeated them several weeks in a row. Carrie and I always had a love for music and observed how God moves particularly when His name is exalted. So form those early days in Prague till now, God has allowed us some very unique opportunities to lead worship in places and venues where his name is rarely heard. This really prompted us to established Worshiplanet which is a worship equipping ministry that Mobilizes, Equips, Models and Networks worship leadership around the world.

What's your song writing process?

Like most other writers will say, it varies; sometimes a thought, a line or scripture text will come to mind and then the melody follows. Other times, I'll get a loop or hook in my head and create around that rhythm or melody line. Often times I'll work on a song and get about 1/3 into it then Ill tend to lay it down for a while (week, month or so) and then come back to it to see if I can finish it. Songs are funny ways of communicating. Sometimes it's the simplest tune or lyric that captures a thought, emotion or feeling. To me, what makes a song 'good' or what makes a song 'work' is when a congregation can easily worship with it.

Which do you prefer playing Live or recording albums?

I much prefer Live. Particularly with worship, you never know what God may be doing or which direction he may want to take things.

Any planned worship events this year?

Yes, we'll be in the UK in November for a conference and a couple of worship events; Thailand and Singapore in August (touring The Door record), and a possible trip to India to set up a 2010 tour. We'll be working alongside Integrity in Asia and (hopefully) Europe to set up some events for 2010.

What's on your I pod at the moment?

Sigur Ros, Keane, U2's new one, Onerepublic (my nephew Ryan Tedder is lead singer for that band), Tim Hughes 'Happy Day', Seal, Sarah McClachlan, Redman, Dave Matthews, John Meyer.

You're stuck on an island, its hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3. What track is it?

You Never Let Go - Matt Redman

What does the next year hold for Mark Tedder?

We're going to tour The Door. We want to get the word out to everyone to let them know what God's doing in China! We hope to encourage and motivate people to break out of their comfortable zone (that most of us live in) and GO to the nations. There are tons of opportunities for people to get their hands dirty for God. Much of what we're about is mission. Just for instance, there are lots of opportunities to be a 'musician' - using your musical or artistic skill in mission all throughout China. There are organizations working in China who would LOVE to have young people assist in bringing hope and love through music and other art forms to that thirsty, hungry land. Please visit us at: marktedder.com or worshiplanet.com - and don't forget to pick up a copy of The Door - I hope it 'takes' you to China and breaks your heart for that nation.

You can purchase the new album from Mark Tedder, The Door here. Please also visit Mark Tedders website click here

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