Martin Smith was a part of the band, Delirious for nearly two decades. Together, they created such hits as, “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever,” “Shout to the North,” and “Majesty (Here I Am).” After the band disbanded in 2009, Martin became a solo artist. Risen interviewed Smith to talk about how he got his start in songwriting and why he is passionate about challenging people to live out their faith.
Smith reflects on how he went from playing sports to developing a love for songwriting.
“We were a big sports family so there is no music in my family whatsoever, even in the generation before, so it is quite strange how it happened. We grew up playing cricket and futbol and all sports all the time; my dad was really into that. By the age of 12 we moved to a new church and my dad decided to help run the youth group. He said, ‘I think we are going to need to be able to sing some songs so you better learn.’ [Laughter] So he bought me a teach-yourself-to-play-the-guitar book and within a week I learned one song and we played that one song over and over again in the youth group. I learned the three chords and that was it. That’s how it started and then as I grew up, the songwriting side definitely grew in me. As strange as it seems I began to make melodies out of the air and words and stuff like that. To me it felt quite normal, but looking back it is slightly an unusual way to write. I left home at 17 and that is when it really started to grow because I went and worked for a recording studio as a tea-boy, like making coffee for people; I don’t know what you would call it [in America]. That’s where I got really immersed in music because every day I was sitting in the studio listening and it felt like a training period really.”
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5
Smith shares why he feels that it is important to challenge people to live out their faith and be agents of change.
“I suppose naturally we like comfort, don’t we? We’re all geared up for making our lives as comfortable as possible. So we don’t like it when we’re out of that zone, but unfortunately that is the place we have to be to reach people. Especially as the world has gotten more complex—there is more brokenness, there is more abandonment, there is less family, there is less of everything we have known and loved. I certainly do not have all the answers, but we are grappling with a new way of how to reach the world. I have a feeling it has less to do with being instructive and more to do with relationship, friendship, grace, and looking after people.”
Be willing to serve others. Whether it is going to get coffee for a co-worker or cleaning up after the youth group, be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Sometimes, we reach a position or job and we think that “we have arrived,” and that some tasks might be beneath us. Yes, you might have a new role and responsibilities, but it is always good to make sure that our attitude is that of Christ’s and be willing to serve when necessary. Take time this week to review verses on servant leadership. Look at how Christ washed the feet of the disciples and what that symbolized during that time.
Get out of your comfort zone. God is going to call each of us to different opportunities, ministries or jobs that are going to be out of our comfort zone. It is through this process that he wants to increase our faith and dependence on Him. Rather than try and walk in your own strength or stay in what is comfortable, turn to God and ask Him to help you with the circumstance. Take time this week and pray about an area that is a challenge to you. Ask God to help you identify where you need to have faith and ask Him to increase your faith so that you can get out of your comfort zone.
Be an agent of change. God wants to use us to inspire others to change the culture for Christ. This can be as simple as sharing an encouraging word with a stranger, helping a co-worker out, or inviting a friend to an outreach. Ask God to show you how He wants to use you and be willing to do it! It can be fun to gather a group of friends or your small group and serve together at an outreach or volunteering at a ministry. Afterwards, talk about what you learned and how you were able to be an agent of change.
To read our entire interview with Martin Smith, click here.