“Reuben Morgan has a passion to see the church and the world inspired to worship God.” That’s what it says on the man’s Web site, and it’s a phrase that couldn’t be more authentic. The awesome magnitude of inspiring and unleashing true worship is a daunting challenge, but for Australian Reuben Morgan, it’s a challenge he’s more than prepared to meet.
World Through Your Eyes is the Hillsong Church worship leader’s first solo album, a surprise considering his impact on churches worldwide as a writer. Morgan currently has songs on the Top 25 Worship songs chart (survey by CCLI) in six different countries, while in the U.S. he has 17 songs in the Top 500, more than any other writer. Having been the heart, the prayer and the pen behind such 21st century classics as “Lord I Give You My Heart,” “My Redeemer Lives” and “Hear Our Praises,” Reuben’s reputation as a worship leader and songwriter has grown immensely over the last nine years. Working with Darlene Zschech has helped, as has taking a leading role in the creation of the hit-factory known as Hillsong United. But the truth about Reuben’s appetite for inspiring the generations to worship the Creator is found in the man’s songs.
Take a trip through World Through Your Eyes, and you receive a gentle battering from cascade melodies, surf’s-up guitars and choruses with a genetically-enhanced half-life. “Gloria,” for example, takes off like Latin never took off before, soaring with the euphoria of eternal praise. The title track adds elements of American flavoured harmonies, British guitars and universal praise. Other standout tracks include the mighty “The Fear,” the epic “Waiting Here” and the utterly determined “Stand.” As we’ve come to expect from Hillsong, Reuben’s songs capture the personal just as well as the eternal, lining up passionate commitment with heart-fuelling melodies.
It’s clear that such songs have already made their mark on the church. Hillsong’s Sydney-based congregation tops 18,000 while global connections have seen Reuben’s songs spread across continents, receiving cover treatments from the likes of Michael W Smith, Rita Springer and Robin Mark. As for the world at large, well he’s certainly on track. With premium production and a knack for hitting emotional nerves with lyrics and melodies, Reuben’s vision looks as solid as it is bold.
Most importantly, the heart behind the words serves his songs and the congregations that sing them with a genuine, fervent purpose. “My music comes out of a burden to see people connect with God,” Morgan says. “I believe music was created to reflect the glory of God and to draw people into a deeper knowledge of Him... and that is my pursuit.”
Interview Questions: Reuben Morgan
Reuben when did you first pick up the guitar?
I started getting lessons from a friend at age 7... And then I can remember so clearly getting my first guitar not too long after that. I worked washing my parents’ cars until I had enough money to pay for it!
You have written numerous worship songs that are sung across Australia & the world. Why so long in recording your debut solo CD?
I guess that's just been a timing issue. It's been a real journey, and whilst this has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time, it just had to work with the other things in my life. Our church is my focus so I knew that it really needed to be God's timing so as not to take away from all that God's doing there.
What was a highlight of the recording process & why?
We recorded the album at our home. We had every room and bed taken for a number of weeks- it was a mad house! One of the biggest highlights for me was meal times- everyone involved would gather around the dinner table with lots of noise, great food and great company... it was incredible!
Is there a theme running through World Through Your Eyes?
Surrender- the songs just all seem to come back to that.
Tell us about your favorite track on the album?
I find that a really hard question to answer. I guess I feel as though all the tracks have their own strength. I don't know if I could say that I had a favorite as such.
What are your key musical influences?
I have a musical pallet for such a wide range of styles. Perhaps it was my parents’ influence or where I studied. I would say that I have been influenced from Miles Davis to Dire Straits to Bach... the list goes on!
What are your favorite artists?
It's pretty rare for me that I find an album that I can listen to over and over... would have to say though that Keane, Coldplay and John Mayer have been those kinds of albums for me. I don't know if I'll ever get sick of listening to Keane!
As a pastor at Hillsong Church, what kind of things does your week entail?
My first priority is our church; so week-to-week I lead worship and spend time with people. Apart from that, my time has been freed up to mostly write. I'm not the sort of person who can write on the go so I really value the space and time just to make it all work.
What is the heart of worship?
I would say that Knowing God is the heart of worship- intimacy with Him.
What motivates you to keep going?
I am definitely motivated by my family- my wife Sarah and our son Jones and then all of our incredible family- they are such a blessing! My motivation for doing everything I do though is a desire to see everybody everywhere inspired to worship our God.