Matt Papa


1. What makes for a good hymn?

In two words — to invoke John Wesley on what makes a good sermon — “sublimity and simplicity.” There needs to be some arresting beauty, and then some tangible truth. In three points, I would say a good hymn has a lyrical and theological density, an aesthetic and melodic beauty, and a congregational singability.

2. What’s your earliest music-related memory?

I just remember the old living room piano in the house I grew up in. Escaping there.

3. Many churches emphasize either musical innovation or theological nuance. How can Christian musicians be excellent at both?

This is a situation where I think the question is the answer. We need to remember our propensities, and graciously defer to and learn from others. This is crucial and should be an ongoing practice in our church communities. It is also much of what it means to be truly the Body of Christ. No one does this incarnational balance perfectly, but we strive toward it as we worship Jesus.