Q&A with First-Time Author, Danny Byram
Q1. Who is Danny Byram?
I grew up in a ministry family and a musical family. My dad was a Southern Baptist Air Force chaplain, and my mom was a voice/piano teacher who directed the choir programs wherever we were stationed. Raised in a military family, I had no hometown. We lived all over the US and in Europe. I followed my parents’ examples by attending a Christian university (Oral Roberts University), where I graduated with a bachelor of music in sacred music. So, church life, preaching, ministry, and music were always inseparable to me. I have spent the past thirty years giving concerts, leading worship, and speaking on US military installations around the world. My wife, Angela, and I have three adult children, one grandson, and another on the way!
Q2. Wallpaper Worship is your first book. What inspired you to write Wallpaper Worship?
I have spent decades giving performances and leading worship services in every setting imaginable. In the 1990s and into the 2000s, I directed and produced some of the largest Christian events of our time: Promise Keepers stadium events and FamilyLife arena events. I was asked to teach on the subject of worship at a church leadership conference in Hawaii. This book captures the essence of the curricula I have been developing and teaching around the world since then. Wallpaper Worship addresses the difference between worship that is participatory and that which is simply passive observance, whether contemporary or traditional.
Q3. Can you tell us the story behind the title of the book?
The title Wallpaper Worship is a play on the phrase “wallpaper music.” Wallpaper music is the music we hear in the background in a restaurant, shopping center, or dentist’s office. It’s great music, but it is designed primarily to create an atmosphere and not to be engaged with or participated in. Over the past few decades, music that is used in worship settings has become more and more like wallpaper music—it is performed to congregants who passively hear it, but are increasingly engaging with it less and less. I call that kind of church experience “wallpaper worship”.
Q4. In this book, what do you want to share with readers about worship?
This book captures over thirty years of experience, not only as a worship leader and planner of worship experiences, but my own experiences as a worshipper. When we define worship as music only, the conversation is very narrow and short-lived. When we talk about worship in its biblical context, the conversation opens up to the vast breadth of God’s heart, and His historic interaction with mankind throughout the ages.
Q5. What are your favorite books or authors you enjoy reading?
My favorite current authors include Philip Yancey, Brennan Manning, and Eric Metaxas. I appreciate Yancey’s perspectives as a writer/journalist, especially his view through a lens of growing up in the church. His writing style is unafraid. Brennan Manning shakes me to the core of my heart regarding my integrity. I mean, what does an admitted alcoholic priest have to teach us? A lot! I am rereading Manning’s ABBA’S CHILD for the third time. I’m also trying to dig into Eric Metaxas’ biography of Martin Luther. (His book on Bonhoeffer was landmark.) Metaxas has a grasp of historical personalities who have had incredible impacts on the church and human history.
Q6. Can you share with us your most inspiring experiences of worship?
I have had many, so I’ll share two. One was the humble posture of over one million men on the National Mall in Washington, DC on October 4, 1997. Promise Keepers hosted a Sacred Assembly; and, seeing that many men—of all races, denominations, and socioeconomic statuses—coming together for a day of fasting, prayer, singing, and repentance will always live in my mind as one of the greatest worship experiences in my lifetime. Though music played a role, the worship experience had little to do with music. The second was in a training field of combat with a small group of soldiers. The chaplain led a service that lasted fifteen minutes. It consisted of singing, prayer, Scripture reading, a sermon, communion, and a benediction. It was the most profound use of fifteen minutes in my life.
Q7. How would you encourage a person who is struggling to worship?
Many believers share with me their struggle to worship. More often than not, those conversations reveal that they really don’t struggle with the act of worship at all. If you are struggling in worship, perhaps the question to ask is: Is my worship being hampered or blocked? If the church’s methods of worship are blocking congregants from actually worshipping, the methods need to change. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” When the Christian’s worship is quenched because of “wallpaper worship,” struggle is the result and a sickness of heart is the fruit. I advise worshippers who struggle to find another church that will lead them beside still waters so they can actually drink. Jesus said that the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship in spirit and truth. I believe He is also seeking leaders who will lead worshippers the same.
Q8. What do you hope for your readers to gain through Wallpaper Worship?
My hope for this book is that it will awaken worshippers and those who lead them to the idea that they don’t have to endure “wallpaper worship.” When I speak on this subject, I always give a disclaimer: I may really mess up your paradigm of worship. In fact, you may wind up leaving the church you are in and seeking another where you can experience true participatory worship, no matter the style. I would give the same disclaimer to those who choose to read Wallpaper Worship.
Q9. Tell us your favorite worship songs or artists.
My favorite worship songs are those that listeners know well and love dearly, and that cause people to enter into a worship experience that is true, real, and corporately participatory—no matter how new or old the song. Once I heard an artist sing two songs that were so real and powerful that the pastor could not even preach his sermon, but simply gave an invitation to prayer at the altar. The altar was swarmed with worshippers on their knees. I don’t remember the artist’s name . . .
Q10. Any last thoughts to the readers?
There is a growing frustration with the current “performance model” of worship. There should be! The bride of Christ knows when it is simply being used as a weekly audience for platform performers. But take heart: When the bride is frustrated, the Groom pays attention.
About Danny Byram Danny Byram is an independent Christian recording artist and worship leader who has performed on five continents. Known by US military chaplains as “The Combat Musician,” Danny has given outreach concerts for the United States military community on over one hundred installations since 1987. He also produced and directed the Promise Keepers stadium events and the FamilyLife marriage arena events. With his breadth of experience in worship, performing arts and leadership, he lectures and conducts workshops on worship in colleges, churches, and military chapels throughout the world. To learn more about Danny, please visit https://www.clcpublications.com/authors/daniel-m-byram/
About Wallpaper Worship In Wallpaper Worship, Daniel Byram makes the comparison between today’s church worship and wallpaper—meant to emphasize the design of its surroundings, but not meant to be engaged with. Through an examination of personal worship experiences, the history of worship, and examples of biblical worship, Byram unpacks this analogy. He shares how to awaken our identities as corporate and individual worshippers, and passionately participate in the God-ordained activity of worship.
Wallpaper Worship will be released in Spring 2018. To order a copy of Wallpaper Worship or learn more details, please visit https://www.clcpublications.com/shop/wallpaper-worship-why-church-music-sounds-better-fewer-are-singing-and-what-to-do-about-it/
About CLC Publications CLC Publications (formerly Christian Literature Crusade) is the English language publishing house for CLC Ministries International. Headquartered in Fort Washington, PA, CLC has published books for the Deeper Christian Life for over 50 years. Our focus has been to publish books by trusted authors with a clear and timeless message. Some of our better known authors from the past include Watchman Nee, Corrie ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, Andrew Murray and Roy Hession. As a part of CLC International, our books are sold and distributed in countries all over the world including but not limited to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, India, the West Indies, and the Philippines. We are committed to being a significant part of fulfilling CLC’s international purpose of making evangelical Christian literature available to all nations so that people may come to faith and maturity in our Lord Jesus Christ. To learn more, please visit https://www.clcpublications.com/about/