Canadian-born singer/songwriter Matt Maher stands out like, well, like a Roman Catholic on a Protestant record label. In the Provident Label Group lineup, Maher shares the roster with the likes of Michael W. Smith, Third Day, and Jars of Clay. And though the former music minister at St. Timothy Catholic Community in Mesa, Ariz., is best known for writing hit songs for artists like Chris Tomlin ("Your Grace Is Enough"), Bethany Dillon, and Phillips, Craig and Dean, he's making an impact of his own with Alive Again, his second major-label record, and a ministry that crosses denominational lines. Maher spoke with us about what it's like to be a Catholic artist on a primarily Protestant worship circuit, and the burden God has given him for unity in what the Apostle's Creed calls "the holy catholic church"—the church universal.
How did a music minister at a Catholic church end up on a Protestant record label?
Matt Maher: I was involved in ministry at St. Tim's in 2005, and I was doing a Bible study on unity for our college group. I took the group to a Passion conference, and my heart sort of exploded with the desire for unity in the church. I didn't do anything; I just knew that was something I was called to, and it was going to be important.
That fall I signed a publishing deal with EMI and Worship Together, which meant that a lot of people I would be writing with would be from different denominations. To me it was a huge confirmation of what I'd felt called to do. For years I had been doing ministry in the Catholic church, and the songs that were impacting the kids were coming from people in other denominations. So I just thought, This is an opportunity to build relationships with those people and link arms with them for ...1