Matt Papa’s ep project “Church Songs” offers five hymns co-written with Matt Boswell and Aaron Keyes.
“Hymns take longer to write than a typical song,” says Papa. “A song like Christ The Sure and Steady Anchor took years to write because it needed some life experience, some liturgy, and a lot of theology to get it completed.”
“Another song on the project called Hollow is one I have been leading at conferences and churches for the past few years and it has taken a couple of turns lyrically but every time I would lead it, people would ask how they could get it so I knew its message was connecting and that would be a song worth chasing.”
While the evangelical church began using hymns in early days for congregational singing, many of the church’s artists and songwriters have lost hymn writing as a practice. Today’s modern church is seeing a resurgence of liturgy and hymns.
Papa has had the opportunity to teach a number of songwriting and worship conferences as well as lead disciple now events and retreats for local churches around the country. These gatherings have allowed him to mentor young songwriters and inspire church worship teams to pursue the heart of God, chase songs and to find a voice for their own art.
“Hymns have an aesthetic density that isn’t present in all of the church’s songs,” continues Papa. “They represent transcendence both as art for our culture and as a part of our sung worship of Jesus. My own focus on the Psalms as laments and the beauty of their emotional honesty brought these songs to life.” “When we sing a lyric like ‘Our sins they are many, His mercy is more’ that is a truth for all time, all places and for all generations and it is worth the effort for sing that truth.”