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Music

Chris Tomlin says his concerts are 'churches coming together'

| Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Singer-songwriter Chris Tomlin
CMA Media Promotions
Singer-songwriter Chris Tomlin

Most people who attend a Chris Tomlin concert come as Christians and leave entertained and spiritually revived. Others come, perhaps with a friend, just to hear music, and leave as new Christians.

Tomlin, who will perform Nov. 14 at Consol Energy Center, Uptown, says many people have told him they found faith while attending one of his shows, where it “really clicked for them who God is.” Although spiritual music is the focus of Tomlin's concerts, they include a session in which he preaches the Gospel, and tells the audience: “This is what it's about. This is what we're singing about tonight.”

The Grammy-winning Tomlin's Christian pop-rock music has a message of faith and hope, which, says the native of Grand Saline, Texas, is badly needed in a broken and hurting world.

He grew up on country music, became a Christian at age 9, and began writing songs at 14.

“Songs of worship have really become so popular,” he says. “It's really brought a fresh wind into so many churches.”

Tomlin is on the road with his “Love Ran Red” Tour, based on the 2014 album of the same name.

Tomlin says the phrase “Love Ran Red” — from his song “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” — is a beautiful metaphor about Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross, shedding blood for forgiveness of our sins.

“It's a beautiful picture,” he says. “Three beautiful words about the good news of the Gospel.

“It's just a special song,” says Tomlin, who lives in Nashville. “I write a lot of songs, but every once in a while, a song comes along that feels like it has something special to it.”

He says the song is so poignant because it sums up the Christian message.

“There is no church ... there is nothing. All of it is for naught if the cross is not true,” Tomlin says. “That's the center of our worship, the cross, hope.

“Grace is the most powerful thing in the world and force in the world,” he says. “I know from experience.”

With Christmas approaching, Tomlin's setlist will include songs from his Christmas albums, including a new one that came out this year, “Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship.”

Tomlin's career includes 12 No. 1 Christian-radio singles, including “How Great Is Our God,” along with a Grammy Award and eight additional nominations. Tomlin also has earned three Billboard Music Awards and 21 Dove Awards.

Tomlin's performing roots are in church, having served as a staff- worship leader at a few churches — including the Austin Stone Community Church in Texas and Passion City Church in Atlanta.

Nowadays, Tomlin focuses on touring, recording and family life with his wife, Lauren, and daughters Ashlyn, 4, and Madison, 1.

Although he enjoys performing at churches and pastoring, Tomlin says his concerts have become a worship experience.

“That's what our concerts are — all the churches coming together,” he says. “As far as leading a church, it's another thing; it's a whole other world. It's a full-time thing. You can't be on the road and be a full-time pastor at a church.”

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

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