CCM: Who are some of your own musical influences?

JG: I’ll give you three big ones. Jeff Buckley, for sure. When I discovered him, I was almost sad because I thought I’d lost so much time. I almost thought it wasn’t fair that nobody showed me any Jeff Buckley songs. I didn’t discover him until I was a late teenager. But my whole life has been pretty well acquainted with the catalogs of Billy Joel and Rich Mullins. Those three guys are big for me.

You described your dad as a worship leader and singer-songwriter earlier. You’ve had earlier independent albums, so I’m curious if you ever save a song for a certain kind of album or whether they blend together?

I’m definitely mixing them together. I think you’ll find that on this record, too. I don’t get a sense that we’re required to make every song that we sing universally accessible. It comes back to wanting to write the most honest thing that I can between the Lord and me. When I pick the songs for the record, I do try to pick songs that I think will have a ministry impact, regardless of whether they are congregational or not.

CCM: For the songs on Worthy of It All, were they written for your church?

JG: I would yes and no, but I would lean more toward yes. The only reason I hesitate is because when I write, I don’t always write thinking that it will be a congregational song. But because your community plays such an important part and impact on what you’re learning or how you’re growing in the Lord, a lot of times what I’m reading or studying or a teaching series we’re going through will have an impact on what I’m singing and writing about. Generally when I’m writing, I don’t think, ‘I’m going to make a congregational worship song.’

If I get to a certain point while writing a song and I realize it’s a bit more singable or accessible, then I’ll keep that in mind. I try to never force it, because my goal still is to make the best song I can ever make. I’m a big fan of that approach that I think Martin Luther hit on well when he said that a Christian shoemaker isn’t a Christian shoemaker because he puts little crosses on his shoes. He’ll be a Christian shoemaker by making the best shoes he can possibly make.

For me, I’m not always aiming to make a song for corporate worship. A lot of the psalms in scripture are just heart cries between the psalmist and the Lord. There was no stylistic requirement put on the song. I feel like if the song naturally goes naturally in that direction, however, I will keep them in mind.

CCM: When it comes to leading worship, what’s most important for you in terms of your own calling or mission?

JG: What I’m passionate about when it comes to leading worship is guiding people to see worship as more than any event or experience. My hope is that when people listen to God-centered or Christ-centered lyrics, they internalize and memorize truths about who God is and that impacts the way they live.

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