Or maybe you don’t.
We’ve been doing some of his songs for worship at church, so I just tend to assume that means everyone else is doing his songs too.
But if not, let me introduce you all to Kristian Stanfill, another worship leader to… uh… lead you in worship.
About six months ago, we started doing the song “Jesus Paid It All” by this mysterious guy named Kristian Stanfill during worship at church. It’s a really powerful song, so powerful that it made me think, “Hey, I should get more of this guy’s stuff.”
But then Monday rolled around and I forgot all about him. That is, until I had my “Too Many Free Downloads” crisis with emusic (read about it here and sign up for a similar experience here). It was during that crisis, where I was forced to download a few hundred free MP3s within a few weeks, that I remembered Kristian Stanfill and downloaded his EP Hello.
Kristian Stanfill is a worship leader, and his music falls pretty comfortably into that mold. Worship songs with soaring choruses, intense bridges, and straightforward, singeable lyrics. Guitars, drums, bass, vocals, and lots of programming niceties (curiously, nobody on keys…). His band consists of Alex Nifong (guitars and vocals), Joe Thibodeau (drums and programming), Matt Melton (guitars and vocals), and Tim Gibson (bass). Together, they and Kristian create some solid worship music along the lines of Hillsong, Delirious, and the other U2-influenced worship bands out there.
I wanted to give you a short bio in my own words, but I thought he said it really well on his MySpace, so I’ve plopped a bunch of it below:
i am a worship leader/songwriter. i haven’t always been a worship leader. when i was a kid i didn’t even know what worship was, but i knew that i loved music. i remember the first time that music moved me. i was riding with my dad in the car and we were listening to the eagles. the song was hotel california and i had never heard anything like it. more than that…i was fascinated by how this music made me feel. something deep in me was awakened and i’ve been pursuing the song ever since. after i devoured the eagles record i moved on to billy joel (songs in the attic, the stranger).
then i discovered christian music. i started with steven curtis chapman and dc talk. i was and still am a sucker for a good hook.
pretty soon after that i found my dad’s old guitar and he taught me a few chords. i immediately started writing songs…they were awful songs, but i couldn’t stop writing. there is something so special about songwriting…like you’re tapping into the supernatural or something like that.
about that time i ended up at a summer camp with my youth group and God changed the course of my life forever. i felt this inexplicable call be on stage and lead people to love God through music. i didn’t know what that was all about but i started leading (i use the term “leading” loosely at this point…it was more like surviving) songs in my eighth grade sunday school class. it was mostly a disaster scattered with a few really cool “only-God-could-do-that” moments. those few cool moments was enough for me to realize that there was something deeper coursing beneath the world i could see and feel. it was that realization that sparked a huge desire to continue leading worship songs.
i continued leading through middle and high school at my church in marietta ga until i graduated high school and went to birmingham al to attend samford university. i met kerri at samford…whoa momma! it was there i decided i wanted to be a pop signer instead of a worship leader. i started writing songs about life and love. this was a good stage for me because it taught me how to write songs. that lasted for a few years until i had some wise friends say, “i think that maybe the pop singer thing isn’t for you.”
around that time an opportunity arose for me to start leading at north point community church in alpharetta ga. i was 18. i am now 25 years old. the steps that have led me to today have been unplanned and unpredictable. i wake up everyday and shrug my shoulders and say, “what’s gonna happen today God?” it’s been quite an adventure and im almost positive the future is going to be a lot of the same…cool!
From what I can tell, he definitely has kept himself from falling into the rock-star worship leader trap (read more about it here). I love it when worship leaders act like they’re just regular guys and girls like you and I. Even though we really know they’re Hindu gods to be worshiped by sacrificing small mammals. Seriously, he seems like a regular guy. On his blog, someone asked him how he became a world-traveling worship leader and his answer was “I have no idea.” I love the down-to-earth honesty.
Kristian Stanfill is great at leading worship. He seems really passionate about God, like he’s really worshiping and not just singing songs. Listening to him inspires me to worship God just as passionately. Read another blogger’s thoughts on that here. Kristian’s songs may not be breaking any creative/artistic molds, but you can’t beat annointed worship that draws you closer to God.
Have fun with these two songs:
Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week