Meet the Team: Bryson Hatfield

My name is Bryson Hatfield and I play piano for Ben Ford. I’m 25 years old, I’m engaged, and I’ve been a believer for 4 years.

What would you rather be doing right now?

I don’t know. I guess I’d rather be recording something.

You recently started taking on photography as a bigger part of your life. I don’t know if thats necessarily a switch from music, but you started doing that. Or is that just in addition to music now? I know you’re not working at the studio anymore but… what does that mean?

I'll probably never be able to step away from music. If anything, I switched in terms of my focus. I’m not as focused on music, and I’m more focused on what it’d look like to be a good videographer and photographer. I want to know how better to do those things with what I have, and develop those and it’d be awesome to have my identity in those things. But the reason I said I want to be recording is because I'm writing the music for my wedding. And so I’ve had a lot of ideas and I want to get it done, but right now I have 2 broken computers and a keyboard, so I just can’t really work right now. And so this is really something I would rather have been doing almost every day. So thats why I said that.

That makes more sense now.

Good.

If I were coming over for dinner tonight, what would you make me?

I’d ask you what you like, first. And then you’d tell me…

Well the point is that I’m not going to tell you, you just gotta make me something.

Well you have to understand, I believe a man is less of man if he has no idea how to make a good rack of ribs, and good pot of chili or a good pan of biscuits. So it would have something to do with one of those three. But seeing as it is on brink of summer, I’d probably make like fried chicken and biscuits.

Okay, hard question. As musicians who lead worship from the stage or play music for the purpose of being somewhere to share the gospel, how do you justify being on stage in a position that most people would see as kind of a ‘rock star’ position, but not doing it for that reason? How do you think about that?

Ok. Let me start with this.. I believe that corporate worship, worshiping together, is a picture of eternity. And I‘m so serious when I say something like preaching, teaching, evangelism, all these things will soon pass away. So even though they are very necessary now, they are not the eternal things. They’re not the picture of eternity. They’re meant to teach us, they’re meant to say, "Hey, know God." But really what we’re doing in leading worship and coming together in corporate worship, singing together,  looks a lot like our eternal purpose and why we’re created. And so if man was created for the glory of God, made to worship Christ, coming together like that and singing all together is such a glorious thing, and it should be something taken more seriously by everybody. I think it should given more thought. It’s not just a warm up to a sermon or an emotional, really aesthetic atmosphere of ambience and it’s not to work up and stir up the emotions of people into making decisions about their life or whatever, no, music is not a, "Hey, let’s do this, we’re about to hear the word," and it’s not a, "Hey, let’s change our lives." Worship is not necessarily catered to us, but it’s to be aimed at God. That’s why a lot of songs in corporate worship should be aimed toward God. Like "Holy Holy Holy," that song is singing to God. "Merciful Almighty," it’s just talking about God. It’s very good. But then songs that say something like "we are the body of Christ," that’s something very declarative of who we are or whatever but it’s not necessarily aimed at God. And so what I’m saying is, the situation that we’re in a lot, even though its attire looks a lot like what what a rock concert looks like, I don’t think that’s what we are. I think that’s pretty subjective to what our culture is and stuff like that. Do I hate it? Not necessarily. Do I agree with it? Not necessarily. America and the Christian culture has made worship out to be something that’s very "from the stage" or in a setting like that. But I mean, I play in bars, in concert halls, I play in churches and in conferences, whatever, but my piano sounds the same in every one of those venues. It sounds the same in Hal and Mals as it does in First Baptist Jackson. And so every bit of it has to do with my motives. Am I worshiping Christ? Middle C is no more Christian than a bible verse like Exodus 1:1, you know. But it’s the motives of preaching in Exodus, it’s the motive in playing middle C that makes it glorifying or dishonorable to God. I can’t help that we’re on the stage the majority of the time, playing our music, and people are looking up to us and we’re looking down to them and we're the ones with the microphones we’re the ones with the instrument, and it’s been made what it is, but at the end of the day, if the point is reached, if Christ is exalted and Christ is glorified, it’s a good thing. I can only know if I worship Christ in my heart if I worship Christ in my heart. If I get on stage and I let the people wig me out and I’m playing and I’m thinking about what I’m playing the whole time, I can walk off stage and be disappointed in how I played, but that shows how distracted I was from beholding the glory of God and actually worshiping him. So I’m just trying to hit a bunch of different points to elaborate on how I believe that worship is such a great picture of eternity, how we’re getting to play a part in leading people into that. And that’s what Ben sings about too, it's more about inviting people into the reality of what it means to live as a Christian and worship God off the stage. I know Ben’s songs are not catered toward a very anthem type scenario where millions of people are gonna be singing them off a projector screen at Passion 2016, but a lot of Ben’s songs can pluck a nerve, or prick your conscious to think, "Hey, am I worshiping God with my life?" And so that’s why I agree with playing with Ben is because I believe that although some of his songs aren’t directly aimed at worshiping God, they’re saying, "why are we not worshiping God more apart from the whole picture of standing in rows with people singing what’s on projectors?"

New Year's Revolution

I don’t get into movies often. I usually fall asleep during them. But every now and then I watch one that I really get into. I get personally attached to the characters and then I get really frustrated when they do self destructive things. This once happened with Wally in the movie The Switch. When the boy asked about why he didn’t make a big deal out of his birthday, Wally said, “getting old sucks. Most people don’t accomplish what they’d hope to and they realize that they are most likely not going to. They end up living these quiet lives of denial and uh… brushing birthdays under the rug just starts to become a part of that.” That was terrifying to me. I was smack in the middle of my college years, with all the dreams and ambitions a guy could have, and I had never thought of how just about everyone must have had this in their college years. They talk about this in movies and stuff. Everyone has dreams, but then they get old and their lives get boring and they never accomplish anything they wanted to. How do I keep that from happening to me? 


Woah, wait. This is a bad way to think about this right? Shouldn’t I just be planning to do exactly what God has planned for me? God told Moses exactly what to do and say to get them out of Exodus, and that worked out for them for the short term. But what about the landlord passing out talents to his tenants in Matthew 25? They weren’t explicitly told what to do with what they were given.

Passages like Psalm 32:8 and Proverbs 16:9 suggest that God isn’t interested in controlling our lives. He wants more to instruct and counsel us - through his word - and then establish our steps as we live in Him. 

So Is it wrong to want to live out those dreams and ambitions you have? Should you drop that ambitious new year’s resolution of getting into that school or getting that promotion? How should you look at 2015 right now from the top of the slope? If you’re in Christ, I encourage you to look at it from the basics of your Christian faith. Look at it through the lens of Christ. His word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path! You have the salvation of the Lord & His Word as your guide! Will you take what’s been given to you and hide it away? Or will you take it like the talents and produce twice as much for your master?

  -Will Hawks (Drums, PR, Coffee Snob)

Redefining Good and Evil

Think about what you know about good and evil. What does it mean? Is evil something that the villain does in movies? Does evil mean being selfish? Is evil just anything else rooted in pride? Maybe this is true, but I believe there is a more important meaning to evil. 
 
In Genesis 1, God makes everything. We all know the story. Something that recurs throughout the creation story is the fact that every time God makes something, he “sees that it is good.” He does this over and over again, each time recognizing the “goodness” in it, and then when he’s done, and everything exists in perfection, it’s "very good". And then he was done. That was it. It wasn’t until later on that the serpent came along and introduced the idea of defying God to the world. (3:1) Now we all know how that went… but ever since then, we’ve been defying God over and over again. And that’s not how God intended things to be; that’s not good. At some point in history, we named this disobedience “evil.” And it stuck, and we’ve been categorizing things ever since. Is this or that act good? Or is it evil? The categorizations now take the form of moral codes, laws, etc, and most of the time things are classified not by what is good in the eyes of God, but of humans. (filthy, sinful humans) And having been raised immersed in man-established legislation, we develop this sense of right and wrong, of “good and evil.” And it’s warped. Because then, it’s not based on what is pleasing to God, it’s based on what’s not offensive to anybody; it’s not based on God-breathed, authoritative scripture, it’s based on hand-written, collaborative constitutions. It's now contingent upon yourself. 

As a follower of Christ, our primary goal is to glorify the name of God. That's what we were created for! Reflecting his Glory! I believe this slightly different way of thinking about our lives can help us gauge our own hearts. Do you tend to obey man's laws for their own sake, or do you truly want to obey God's freeing law directly? 
 
There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death. - Proverbs 14:12 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2

 

       -Will Hawks (Drums, PR, Coffee Snob)

Seeking the Spotlight

If you went to summer camp with your youth group this summer or went to some sort of conference in the past, you probably came back thinking a few things. Things like, "I am so sunburnt," or "Man I hope that girl texts me tomorrow," or quite possibly, "That worship band was so good!!" Too often, a worship service is left with people primarily thinking about how good the music was, and here lies a big dilemma. Yes, we strive as musicians to make good music that we love and to put together a good performance. In fact, we try to make everything we do the best it can be. But we want the reaction from that good music and performance to be, "God is so good!" not, "that band is so good."  A painter will look out upon a beautiful scene and craft a painting, his appreciation and praise of something he loves. It's the same with us and music. We look out upon scripture and God's complete work through Jesus in our lives and create music reflecting that picture. And because music can be group-oriented or congregational, it is perfect for "corporate worship," which we usually call a worship service. It is a group of believers in the same place, praising God together as one body, led by a person or group qualified to do so. And so when people leave a service only thinking about how great the music was, it might mean that we didn't do a good job of directing attention away from us and towards Christ. That is the end goal of everything we do: the worship of God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.