- Jackson feels strongly that he's leading worship when he's singing songs about love, relationships, and family.
So, can a “country star” be a “worship leader?” Who are we to label an artist as one thing or another and who are we to say this is sacred and this is secular when we’re not the creator? Is it possible to open our minds to the idea that we’re limited by our own definitions of what leading worship can look like?
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I’ve always been an artist that… I don’t like to put labels on art and I love artists that do a variety of different things. But I grew up playing music in the church Then I started writing songs for my wife and they were stories. I actually took all the money that I could save up and went into a studio in Vancouver, Washington. I recorded these love songs for my wife and started playing it for people and they were like, Man, I love your country music.
And I was like, I had no idea this was country music. I had zero idea. I was just writing songs for my wife. And then the local country station started playing one of them, and then up and down the West Coast, all of a sudden I’m touring 100 dates a year, 150 dates a year, and all these country stations are playing my songs. And then Sirius XM, The Highway started playing one of my songs. I started traveling all over the country, signed a record deal, and I’m still just writing love songs and story songs, and I’m a storyteller and I’ve always loved to lead people through music.
And whether it’s songs about my life or as storytellers in country music, we write about a lot of other people’s lives. I love to lead people through stories in worship. We get to lead people through the greatest story of all time, and we actually get to lead them into relationship with Jesus and singing to him. So it’s funny because it’s difficult for some people to see that and they’re like, okay, there is sacred and there’s secular, and you jump from here to there and how do you walk that line? And I just don’t see it that way at all. I see it as I get to lead people through- through songs and stories And I love that you can be in the world and not of the world. And you can also sing to the King of Kings.
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Joshua Swanson is the Editor-in-Chief of Worship Leader. He's also the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Authentic Media, Worship Leader's parent company, and the former CEO and Co-founder of the creative agency GTMA. His proudest achievement is his marriage to Rachael Joy and partnering with her in founding New Hope Children. As a performer and speaker, he’s appeared on TV networks like ABC, NBC, Lifetime, and Hallmark. His companies have worked with major brands like Sprint, Pokemon Go (he was also in a Pokemon movie), Pepsi, The Latin Grammys, the Billboard Awards, Corona and over 75 national developers. He’s narrated over a hundred audiobooks and was awarded Best YA Voice twice. His companies have been Inc. 5000 three different times.