It is a privilege to get to connect with Steve Taylor, former songwriter because that the Christian rock bank Newsboys (among other accolades) and also current Assistant Professor of film and creative Media at Lipscomb University. A special thanks goes to my brother, Kenny Doberenz, a film student at Lipscomb, for interviewing and recording Steve because that this interview.

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Newsboys has been a favorite band of mine due to the fact that my household “discovered” Christian music at some point in the early on 2000s. Your quirky style and also catchy beats quickly uncover its way into her heart—and your mind with your fine choice of earworms. As I’ve obtained older, however, i’ve noticed how much affluent theology is located behind the stunner lyrics. Particularly, plenty of of their songs have actually a strong sense the mission, evangelism, and also the prominence of the Christian witness in the world.

After hear to mine Newsboys playlist on Amazon Music, I had actually some questions about how good theology and ridiculous rhymes come together. Luckily, thanks to my brothers Kenny’s link with Steve, I gained to find some answers. This write-up combines the interview through my own thoughts ~ above theology in their music.


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Courtesy of Lipscomb University

Steve Taylor and the Newsboys

Steve Taylor first got affiliated in the Newsboys if a component of a band signed with a mainstream record label, but they were trying to acquire out that the deal. Something they taped would belong to the document label they wanted to escape. Steve recalls, “We to be stuck in a hiatus.” approximately that time, a friend that headed a Christian label linked him through a Christian tape from Australia who had actually “a many potential” and also worked really hard.

This band, the Newsboys, sent over a track they were functioning on called “I’m not Ashamed.” Steve recalls, “The text were nice bad. I think the original lyrics because that “I’m no Ashamed” was ‘I’m no ashamed to let you know, I have actually no fear of male or foe.’” Steve asked Peter Furler, who at that time to be the drummer, did part singing, and also co-wrote few of the songs, if he can produce this song. Impressed v that, he ended up helping with the entirety album and joining the Newsboys for number of years the songwriting.

It is Taylor that contributed most come the contents of the songs. “Most of the moment Peter would write the melodies and also pass it on to me and I would write the lyrics,” Taylor said Kenny. Explaining the process, the remarked, “The idea to be to shot to do them distinctive and offbeat, however that they would certainly always—the theology was really important.”

In all the songs the tape sang, Taylor watched for great theology. That gave an example of one Newsboys tune that the did no write, the song “You room My King (Amazing Love)” from their album Adoration: The worship Album (2003). He recalls the line: “Amazing love, I recognize its true. It’s my happiness to respect you. In all ns do, i honor you.” Taylor reaction strongly to this line, commenting, “That is blatantly incorrect! ‘In all ns do, ns honor you.’ Well, no, we don’t always honor God once we space doing something wrong. Therefore I readjusted it to ‘In all ns do, to honor you’ since that’s aspirational.” Taylor confessed he changed the lyric without permission: “I simply didn’t want poor theology walking out right into the world. Not on my watch.”

In a time where there is a lot of of negative theology gift propagated top top the internet and also in miscellaneous Christian media, I considerably appreciate Taylor’s commitment to great theology! even though the writes crazy songs, that made sure that once talking around God the did God justice. That didn’t want to say anything false just due to the fact that it sound nice.

Occasionally, however, fun lyrics trumped meaningful theology, though the doesn’t typical the songs would promote “bad” theology. Taylor and the Newsboys still preferred to create fun songs. Among the Newsboys songs the is the epitome of ridiculousness is the song “Breakfast” native the album Take Me To her Leader (1996). Taylor remembers composing it somewhere in south Carolina, on a break to gain away and also write new lyrics. He began with the line “Hold the milk, put earlier the sugar.” indigenous there, he says, “I just thought that would be a fun idea around an actual song that offered as an obituary for someone, someone that was young and had died, prefer high school-aged.”

That obtained him imagining. However, he required the human the song focused on to be interesting. Following thing he knows, the is obtaining all this cereal-based imagery. Then early he come up with the line, “They don’t serve breakfast in Hell.” the tied the bow roughly the song. Originally the title was going to it is in “Breakfast in Hell” yet they reduce it come “Breakfast” because they weren’t sure if they can get away v calling a track “Breakfast in Hell.” Thus, what is probably the most legendary song about breakfast grain was born.

You can additionally see Steve Taylor’s appointment to an excellent lyrics in an additional song around Hell. Steve laments that he was talked into doing the tune “Boycott Hell” which he begged them not to placed on the album I’m not Ashamed (1992). Ultimately, the band want it to remain so the did. In an plot of ingenious and also hilarious protest, one night Taylor entered the studio and also recorded a rap component which he put in the center of the track to make funny of it. Despite it to be a joke, the band loved it! Surprisingly, the record label love the placed rap too. Honestly, ns think the song is fine, despite I admit the premise is weird.

Taylor’s laboratory goes as follows:

Guess that comin’ with with a little disclaimer. Tune’s OK but the words room gettin’ lamer. Ain’t no saint deserve to legitimize Rhymin’ “pride” with “time” v “unionize”. Check out I agree we oughta boycott hell, however we oughta boycott dumb lyrics together well.


Taylor agreed the boycotting dumb text is still a job in Christian music today.

Theology in Newsboys Songs

But when my brother arranged to speak to Taylor, what i really wanted to emphasis on is the idea the “mission” in Newsboys songs. Their album Go (2006) specifically intentionally encounters these themes. This album is one of the first Newsboys albums ns remember gift released while cultivation up, and it’s honestly one of my favorites. Currently with theological training, i think ns can give it on that front too.

Describing the on purpose to design template it, Taylor said, “That come from Peter and his pastor at the time. …We had a meeting with Peter and his pastor and talked about missions and also thought it would certainly be exciting to namecheck some crucial missionaries.” After coming up with the early idea, it to be at first complicated to come up through something interesting and not boring. “That was the trick on the one, do the efforts to make it sensibly catchy, tuneful, and still get across what they wanted to gain across.”

“Wherever us Go” on the album Go is in one feeling autobiographical around the Newsboys yet is also about all of our Christian duties. Furler, Taylor thinks, very first came up through the lyric “wherever us go, that’s wherein the party’s at” yet Taylor absorbed a wild direction. Though ns noticed a most nature themes and also the explicit line “wherever us go …the ozone layer shows improvement,” Taylor confesses they weren’t yes, really making a instance that christians should enhance the environment. However, ns can easily make the case that us acting Christ-like includes not forsaking the earth God offered us. Yet for Taylor, the tune was in the heritage of Kanye West and also hip-hop artists that brag a lot of on their track. Taylor remarks: “I assumed it would be funny come take the to one absurd point with a band the shouldn’t it is in bragging around anything—and just how far might we press that and also would world get it?”

On the album, the titular song “Go” and additionally “Mission” are two others that particularly evoke a sense of mission. “Go” is from God’s perspective, urging us to walk out, favor the an excellent Commission says. “Mission” is similar, however is “almost favor a little history lesson,” Taylor remembers. If you look at the lyrics, you will do it spot plenty of references to renowned missionaries or missionary efforts. Personally, ns love placing our mission suffer in connection with worldwide efforts throughout history. The song begins by mentioning the witnesses that Jesus’ birth informing others and throughout the song has much more recent efforts. Every those civilization spread the great news castle witnessed–just as we continue to carry out 2,000 year later!

However, the Newsboys recognize that evangelism isn’t easy. Despite it predates Go, the song “I’m not Ashamed” (the an initial song Taylor operated on) tries to dismantle some ways human being attempt to escape the contact to “Go.” check out these hard-hitting lyrics: “What space we sneaking about for? Who space we trying come please? Shrugging off sin, apologizing like we’re dispersing some sort of disease.” Or the other verse: “This one claims it’s a shed cause, conserve your testimony for church time. The various other ones state you’d far better wait till you execute a little market research.

But amongst these excuses, the tune states: “I’m not ashamed to let friend know. I desire this light in me to show. I’m not ashamed come speak the surname of Jesus Christ.” Taylor think this song and also its message is tho relevant—even in the challenge of reports from Barna group that state over fifty percent of adult american think details evangelistic activities are somewhat or an extremely “extremist.”

The song’s message has actually a lot of of an individual relevance come Taylor. He was working on the song simply as he to be exiting his vault band. “One of our biggest arguments in that band was that us didn’t want to obtain tagged as a Christian band. Therefore we ended up obtaining into a massive discussion even around if to play a Christian festival or not.” In the center of those it is too dirty arguments, he to be working v the Newsboys that has actually this tune that said explicitly where they stand: “I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.” as he created the verses come the song, he to be thinking around the disagreements his previous tape had. “A many that was behind my reasoning in the lyrics.”

Steve Taylor no much longer writes songs because that the Newsboys. He has collaborated v Peter Furler top top the tune “Closer” top top Furler’s solo album On Fire 2011 and he functioned on one tune for the album “Newsboys: United.” Taylor is liven making movies, teaching aspiring film students, and finding other means for a an innovative outlet. Though he is not developing silly songs because that an Australian band, that still is on a mission to proclaim God utilizing his talents.

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Again, say thanks to you come Kenny Doberenz for doing the interview. Steve, if friend are reading this, give him one A+ in the class! Also, monitor Kenny on Twitter at
JDoberenz) your favorite Newsboys song!

Steve Taylor has an impressive resume v a wide an option of Grammy, Billboard, Telly, Addy and also Dove nominations and also awards. He’s directed several music videos, including the hit video clip for Sixpence nobody the Richer’s track “Kiss Me.” he’s directed the Newsboys movie Down Under The large Top (1996), The second Chance (2005), and also Blue prefer Jazz (2012) based turn off of Donald Miller’s bestselling publication by the exact same name. More recently he started a band dubbed Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil. In ~ Lipscomb university (Nashville, TN), the is right now Assistant Professor of movie & an innovative Media and Director of college of Theatre and also Cinematic Arts.