UK church group St Marks Worship have just followed up their debut EP from earlier this year with a Christmas single titled 'King Became Homeless'. Louder Than The Music chatted with songwriter and Worship Pastor Andy Shelton to find out how the group started out, the inspiration behind their latest song, and their plans for post-COVID!
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got involved in making music?
We are St. Marks Worship a community of musicians, songwriters and producers based in Coventry. We are part of St. Marks Coventry a church planted 3 years ago by Gas Street Church in Birmingham. We all had different roads into music and into Coventry but it was clear that God was gathering a group of people with a passion to write and create music. Our church’s vision is to be ‘life in the city’ of Coventry and our part in that as musicians and artists is to bring the invisible, (our ideas, dreams, songs) to life. To make our city alive with the creativity God has given us.
Tell us about your Christmas single 'King Became Homeless' and what the inspiration behind it was?
The song was inspired by a GK Chesterton poem called ‘The Home of Christmas’. I heard it read at a carol service and was captivated by the theme. Home is at the heart of the Christmas story. Jesus left his throne in Heaven to be born in a lowly stable, He left his glorious home to become homeless incarnate with us.
I got home and started writing, the line ‘The King became homeless, so we could come home’ came first and then I built the rest of the song around that.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
Christmas and ‘home’ are so woven together, whether our experience of home is good or bad, there’s a longing in all of us for home, a place where we belong and are fully known. That is the invitation of the Gospel to come home to the Father.
My hope is that people hear that invitation from God and that their hearts are opened to him.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would say each of us bring our own history and music tastes to the table, whether it’s Hannah’s love of Taylor Swift or Stefan’s love of synths and the Killers. Worship Central have also been a big influence on us, being planted from Gas Street and many of us interning on their Worship Central Academy year.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
This might be completely unoriginal but I’ve been a big Hillsong nerd since my early teens. Stefan often jokes about my ability to guess the intro of any of their songs. To be able to write with Joel Houston or Brooke Ligertwood would be both the most terrifying and awesome experience. You better bring some good ideas to that session!
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
We were literally talking about this the other day! What does a successful life look like? What shape do our dreams and aspirations take? Even our ‘God dreams’ can have quite a worldly shape. Power, position, influence. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want this song to be ‘successful’ and reach loads of people. That can’t be the core of our motivation though, chasing after glory, isn’t that like, the root of sin? Our foundation of success has to be loving God well and being faithful with what we have and what God has gifted us with.
What does the next year hold for you?
Continue to lead worship and help lead our church through this really difficult season. Hopefully some new songs will emerge as our team process life with God through COVID.
Post-COVID we always intended to do a big launch worship night for our EP that was released back in April. It would be so good to gather the church together to celebrate when we can sing and gather in large numbers again. Hopefully one day soon!