CCM: How real. [Laughs]
SP: John, Paul, George and Ringo were in the front row. And they all did well. [Laughs]

I have always loved teaching. I studied voice and piano [in college at Anderson University], but was going to teach. Bill and Gloria Gaither, who are alum of Anderson, heard me sing, called and said, “Hey, we’re looking for a back-up singer to travel with us.” I said, “Let me pray about it. Yes.” So my life really took a different direction.

So one of the things I am very much looking forward to is teaching. I’m starting to teach now. I’m the artist-in-residence at Mid-America Christian University, and we’re doing a Christian Worship Arts & Leadership certificate.

CCM: Tell me some about that program and how it’s helping shape a culture of music leaders.
SP: The word “worship,” which is a fabulous word, has become very limited. When we say, “Stand and worship,” we mean stand and sing. Or [if we say] “worship leader,” we mean music [leader]. Worship is so much bigger than music. It’s how we are every single moment of every single day. Every breath we take is an offering to our Father. When we gather together in a worship setting, that’s to experience our faith in community.

Three or four years ago, I started doing a Biblical study. I’m a “why” person. Why do we gather together? Why is corporate worship important? I started to take a look at where that began in the Old Testament, in the tabernacle, and then in the temple. When the scriptures talk about who was responsible to build the tabernacle, if you were a woodworker, you were skilled and trained. If you worked with iron or gold, you were skilled and trained. No less with the musicians. [You were] skilled and trained.

So one of the things we talk about in class is, what is my job as a person who leads music in a worship setting? So often we want to go right to the leading music part. We often overlook that it is important to be skilled and trained. Skilled in your instrument. Understanding music. What does it look like to be a leader to a group of people? To facilitate the opportunity for others to encounter Christ?

I get really excited about helping empower those who are leading music in worship settings.

Sandi Patty, CCM Magazine - image

Stay tuned to for the video version of this interview & more!

CCM: You talk about facilitating the opportunity for us to worship together. Because of your precision and practice, a lot of people would think of your show strictly as a performance. But when my parents and I were at your show in Texas the other night, I kept overhearing people comment, “We have experienced worship tonight.” When you’re preparing a set list, is facilitating worship a part of your thought process?
SP: Later on in my career, I began to understand what it meant to facilitate worship. Before then, I would have called it communication and relatability.

For years, I watched my dad as a minister of music get congregations to sing better than they ever thought they could. He has this way of communicating and encouraging and being relatable. So I watched him connect and really get the best out of that audience.

Then when I began to travel with Bill and Gloria Gaither, it was a master class.

One night someone came up and put a note on Bill’s piano at intermission. This was when they were in-the-round. It was a big production. The note said, “Why don’t you sing ‘The King is Coming’ like you used to sing it when I first heard it?”—because they used to go to churches with just Bill on the piano. I asked Bill, “What you do with that?” He said, “I know enough to know that if they heard it like they first heard it, they would not like it. What they want is to feel like they felt when they first heard it.”

Technology looks different than it did thirty years ago. Concerts look different. Audiences are very wise. But we want to create an evening where they can feel what they felt when they first heard a song.


4 Responses

  1. Lloyd Peacock

    Ms. Patty, is a true Servant of God, a good and faithful one. She is an inspiration to all, not just with her voice and music selection, but as you have stated., her transparency and honesty. As a gay man, I have never heard her judge me or anyone, and for that I am grateful. Thank you Ms. Patty for all you do in HIS Name and sharing it with the world. The gems in your crown are glowing.
    Bob Peacock

  2. Pam Moncrief

    When I read Sandi’s CCM interview, my heart dropped when I read the words of the lady who stated to Patti after a concert: “Thank you for singing, but I wish you would sing it more for God.” I do not know if the concert was one on The Forever Grateful Tour, but as for as my opinion, one KNEW the WHO Sandi was singing to and for – GOD. Sandi’s body language, her voice, movements, her countenance announced God and Jesus!

    I do not know if I was actually the one in which she made eye contact in the area in which she was looking out at the audience during the Waco TX Concert on The Forever Grateful tour, but I made eye contact with her. During that eye contact, to me, Sandi was drawing me into worship of God with her! It was her saying come Pam and Worship THE King with me!

    Yes, The Forever Grateful Tour is for Sandi’s ‘ frans’, but Sandi with all of her being exclaimed: ” I am Forever Grateful to you Father God! Forever grateful to our shared God Forever Grateful for Sandi Patty for her ministry in song and witness!

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