Called to worship
During the Assemblies
of God’s 50th General Council — held in Washington,
D.C., last summer — Michael W. Smith led worship at the
Turn America Sunday special gathering on the Mall on August
3. Smith has been at the forefront of contemporary Christian
music for more than two decades and has promoted worship concerts
across America in recent years. He talked with Ken Horn, managing
PE: Tell us about
your spiritual walk and what’s been happening in your
I’m learning new stuff every day. It was really a new
thing for me to actually do a worship record on a CD. I’ve
been doing worship for years. But I’ve never really done
a whole worship record on CD. We did that first worship album
in Lakeland, Fla., and it took on a life of its own. It was
one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever been a
part of. I think there is just something that, even if you listen
to it today, it’s power-punched. I try to explain it,
but at the end of the day God showed up big time and people
had an encounter with God and you get to experience it when
you hear the CD.
PE: In light of
the theme Turn America Sunday, how do you think America needs
to be turned?
I came back from a festival last night up in New Hampshire put
on by Dan Russell. He has such a passion to get people out of
our subculture and to challenge the church to be what the church
is really supposed to be. I think we kind of get caught up in
our little country club a little bit and so many of us don’t
even know who our neighbors are. What about the orphans and
what about the widows? What about the people that are incarcerated?
We don’t seem to have time for those kinds of things.
I feel like I’m supposed to be a part of not only challenging
myself but challenging the church to wake up. We have got to
get proactive and start living the life. It really is time for
a spiritual revolution among the church.
PE: How do you
hope to affect people with your music?
I have a heart to lead people into a real intimate encounter
with God and I think it can happen through worship. Worship
is more than just what happens on Sunday mornings. Worship is
24/7. It’s a lifestyle. At the same time, I really have
a heart for the lost and I think I still have some sort of platform
to be able to reach out to a mainstream audience and hopefully
to share the gospel with them.
PE: In your travels,
do you see any encouraging signs of spiritual revival in today’s
I just got back from Europe. I spent three weeks there and it’s
just refreshing that there are people who really have a heart
for God. There’s this whole passion thing that’s
happening. That’s what I’m encouraged about —
seeing people getting their passion. It’s contagious,
an intense seeking after God. I didn’t see that 10 years
ago. I’m seeing it now. You look out and see an 8-year-old
kid, hands raised in the air, weeping and crying and it’s
not just emotionalism. That’s a refreshing thing to see.