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.
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?"