Episode 66

A Conversation with Jenn Johnson

We need the local church.

In a recent interview, songwriter and worship leader Jenn Johnson, renowned for her award-winning song Goodness of God, shared insights into her perspective on worship, the role of the local church, accountability, and the songwriting process. Johnson, who received the Song of the Year award at the 2023 Dove Awards for Goodness of God, opened up about her personal journey and the profound meanings behind her music.

Worship: A Multifaceted Lifestyle

When asked about the meaning of worship, Johnson described it as a multifaceted concept. Drawing on a vision she had, she explained how worship involves magnifying God, receiving His declarations over nations, and, importantly, becoming like the object of worship. Johnson emphasized that worship extends beyond musical expressions to encompass one’s entire life, from public stages to private moments.

Balancing Worship and Accountability

The conversation delved into the challenge of ensuring that worship leaders don’t end up worshipping the act of worship itself rather than God. Johnson emphasized the importance of avoiding self-absorption and shared an analogy of an elephant and a mouse crossing a bridge to illustrate the need for humility and a focus on God’s glory rather than personal accomplishments.

The Role of the Church

As a church leader, Johnson expressed her deep appreciation for the local church. Reflecting on her upbringing in a small community church, she highlighted the beauty of a church focused on bringing the lost to Christ and caring for its members. Johnson stressed the significance of being planted in a church community, emphasizing the biblical principle that those planted in the house of the Lord flourish.

Accountability in Leadership

Discussing accountability, Johnson shared that it is one of her top priorities. She underscored the value of correction over encouragement and spoke about her personal experience of being corrected by her mother-in-law, Benny, whose love and guidance played a crucial role in shaping Johnson’s life. Johnson advocated for creating a safe space for leaders to be vulnerable and transparent about their struggles.

Songwriting: A Journey of Inspiration

Johnson revealed that her songwriting process involves seeking inspiration from God. Whether facing natural disasters or personal challenges, she turns to the Lord and asks, “What are you saying?” She shared stories behind some of her songs, including You’re Gonna Be Okay, written during her husband’s nervous breakdown, and the powerful anthem Goodness of God, born out of overwhelming gratitude for God’s faithfulness.

Encouragement for the Next Generation

In closing, Johnson offered words of encouragement for the next generation. Drawing inspiration from the biblical story of David, she emphasized the importance of staying faithful to one’s current assignment and allowing God to elevate individuals in His perfect timing. 

Jenn Johnson’s insightful and heartfelt conversation provides a glimpse into the heart of a worship leader who seeks to inspire and guide others in their journey of faith. From the multifaceted nature of worship to the vital role of accountability and the profound impact of her songwriting, Johnson’s perspective offers wisdom and encouragement for individuals navigating their own spiritual paths.

Please subscribe to our social channels for more information and great content surrounding building a lifestyle of worship. This podcast is brought to you by Authentic Media and Worship Leader Magazine. Our host is Joshua Swanson and the show’s co-producer and editor is Matt McCartie. More episodes can be found here.

Read the transcript here 

Who is Jenn Johnson?

Jenn Johnson is a co-founder and President of Bethel Music and Bethel Music Worship School, headquartered in Redding, California. She is also a musician, a songwriter, singer, speaker and author. Jenn has been an integral part of 16 albums by Bethel Music that have influenced the culture of worship across the global church. Jenn has written and been a part of several anthems sung by the global church such as “Goodness of God”, “You’re Gonna Be OK”, and “God I Look to You”. Jenn is the founder of “Lovely by Jenn Johnson,” a lifestyle brand intended to inspire, equip and engage women of all ages to thrive. She has written her first book, All Things Lovely, which released in November of 2021. Jenn, along with her husband Brian, reside in Redding, California, with their five wonderful children, Haley, Téa, Braden, Ryder Moses, and Malachi Judah.

Jenn Johnson at the Dove Awards 2023

What Is Planning Center?

Planning Center is a set of software tools to help you organize information, coordinate events, communicate with your team, and connect with your congregation.


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