From the very first time that I heard Grace Like Rain, Todd Agnew has been one of my favorite artists. His music is just so real and raw. So when I had the chance recently to interview him as his new album (Need) is about to hit stores, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning!
If you listen to Todd’s music, then you probably already know that he’s got a heart for authentic Christianity. His music reflects a man who wants the Real Deal in his life, regardless of what might be popular. Therefore, I didn’t want to just ask him about the songs that he sings, or the tour that he is on, I wanted to find out more about what makes this dude tick.
BibleDude: We all know that you must do lots of traveling and shows. How do you get out of ‘performance’ mode before you play? And if you find yourself in that spot, then what do you do to refocus yourself?
Todd Agnew: I’ve found that I have to stay in contact with God or everything becomes stale. Teaching truth doesn’t work well when you’re not walking with the One who is Trust. One thing we’re doing on the Promise Remains tour right now is we have devotions before the show every night. Each night we dig into one of God’s promises. That way we have encountered Him and His promise in a new, fresh way before we walk on stage. It may not play in our specific set, but it definitely affects our hearts and the place we minister from.
BibleDude: How have you reconciled the need to be an artist with the need to meet marketplace expectations, and what advice would you have for other artists (or anyone else for that matter) who struggle to find this type of balance?
Todd Agnew: Give up. No, just kidding. That balance, if there is one, is probably the most difficult thing in the CCM industry. Years ago, I heard Reed Arvin say, “Any time you put Christ and business in the same term, you’re going to have tension.” And that’s true. Christ gives freely and business makes money. They don’t mix well. For me, I can only walk the path God has for me. I have to trust that He will provide for my family. This record found us in much more of a wrestling match with these ideas than we ever had been before. Everyone had ideas of what would make it “succeed”. But at the end of the day, I can only write the songs God gives me and record them in a way that I hope people hear them.
BibleDude: You’ve said before that while writing some of the music for this album that you sometimes don’t understand all of this stuff, and wish that God would just make it obvious about what He wants you to do. What can you tell me about your personal journey through the process of writing this album? What has God shown you?
Todd Agnew: Well, I got married and became a father. Those are two huge life changes. And we moved across the country. And we had the business tension with the record, from your previous question. So, we had some pretty huge things in our lives. I definitely have been in a place of saying, “God, I want to do what You want, if You would only make it clear what that is.” I have been learning to lean on Jesus. I think at my best I have used Jesus as crutches. I don’t mean as a crutch like people have said before. I mean, the way you walk on crutches. Lean on them, lean on me, lean on them, lean on me. And while that gets you somewhere, it leaves you chafed. Sorry about that picture. But God has been teaching me more and more about depending on Him completely. For being a husband. For being a parent. For being a homeowner. For being a minister. For being a musician. For everything. Only then will you find His path for you. Only when He is all you have will you truly known He is all you need. Or like C.S. Lewis said, “He who has God plus many things has no more than He who has God alone.”
BibleDude: What are your NEEDS? Where do you realize your own frailty as a human and an artist? Where do you reach out to God the most when you realize your own limitations?
Todd Agnew: I think it’s in parenting and husbanding. Is husbanding even a word? Anyway, in those two love relationships, I definitely see myself falling short the most. And I think they are the two most important parts of God’s plan for me. I am learning to lean on Him for every decision, every response. I’m not there yet. But I’m learning.
BibleDude: What’s next for Todd Agnew?
Todd Agnew: Well, we’re out on the Promise Remains tour for the whole fall, with Building 429 and Kimber Rising. It’s off to a great start and should be a great tour. Then we’re off for Thanksgiving and turn around and hit the Christmas tour for a few weeks. I think Rush of Fools and Meredith Andrews are coming with us. I don’t know if that’s official, but that’s what I’m hoping for at least. Then it’s time to regroup and stay home with the family for a while. This will be the first real touring season we’ve been through as a family so I plan to reinvest once it’s over.
BibleDude: Rock on dude! Thanks for taking the time to share your heart with us! We just pray that God continues to work through you in amazing ways. We also pray a blessing over your new family… may it be a shining example to other families, and may God reveal more of Himself to you through your role as a husband and a father! Amen!