Interview with Harmony Smith (of Belfast City Vineyard)
I recently had the opportunity to interview Harmony Smith: worship leader, songwriter, pastor, wife, and mother. Be sure to check out her new EP, The Feast.
AAW: You and your husband, Andrew, are senior pastors at Belfast City Vineyard. What was your journey that led you to that role?
Harmony: Belfast is home now, but we are not originally from Northern Ireland. I spent most of my childhood in Austria, and my husband grew up in Michigan, USA. We met at University, and ended up attending the Evanston Vineyard in Chicago. It was through our pastor at Evanston Vineyard, that we ended up doing an internship at Belfast City Vineyard. Initially it was for a year, but 12 years later we are still here and are now pastoring the church. We have been leading Belfast City Vineyard for 11 years and whilst we were incredibly young when we became pastors, God was so faithful. It has been quite a journey!!!
AAW: How did The Feast EP come about?
Harmony: The EP consists of 4 songs written by myself (one co-write with Chris Hutchinson) and “Jesus Pure and Holy”, written by Andy Eaton. The last song on the EP is one of my favourite hymns, and one that we have sung often at Belfast City Vineyard.
I have been writing songs for as long as I can remember. I write songs because that’s one of the main ways in which I connect with Jesus.
The songs are also a reflection of what has been stirring in our community of worshipers at BCV. In the Vineyard we talk a lot about intimacy with Jesus in worship. What we mean by that is our connection with Him. It’s the John 15 ‘remaining’ or ‘abiding’ in the vine. We are hungry for more passion in our celebration, as well as more depth in our encounter of Him!
AAW: What was the highlight of recording the EP?
Harmony: One of the highlights for me was working with amazing musicians, and having the luxury of sitting in the lovely Vineyard Records studio and making music. I have been leading worship for over a decade, and we always have to set up all our gear from scratch every week. It is a very long day, and it is hard work! This just felt like a little treat.
During the actual recording process, the highlight was what happened at the start and end of “Fairest Lord Jesus”. There was a space that just opened up as we worshipped and it was pretty special.
AAW: What do you find most challenging about songwriting? Conversely, what do you find most rewarding?
Harmony: It is deeply rewarding to experience the presence of Jesus as I write songs. It is also profoundly beautiful to see others encounter Him through those very same songs.
I find that the challenge is to keep one’s heart pure in this current culture of worship music. We get very mixed signals all the time as worship leaders, and it is a battle (if we are honest!) to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. And to allow Him to be our prize, rather than the praise and recognition of people.
AAW: In what ways do you intentionally continue to grow, both as a church leader and a songwriter/musician?
Harmony: This is a great question! In this season of my life, with two young kids, the time to invest in myself is quite limited. But in the time I have, I have to ensure that my rhythms with Jesus are the first priority. After that, I have people that inspire me and sharpen me (including a coach that I’ve just started working with – she’s helping me with some of my time-management issues!!) and other leaders and pastors that I consider mentors. There are a number of books and worship leaders that have been key along the way. At the moment, when I have spare time I’m watching John Wimber DVD’s and I’ve just finished reading a book by RT Kendall entitled: The Sin that No One Talks About(Jealousy). Every worship leader should read that book!
AAW: What is one thing that God is teaching you about worship right now?
Harmony: So much of what I do in my life is about me. The longer I lead worship, the more I discover that worship is not about me!! And I am increasingly aware of the ways in which even worship can become about me – how I feel, how it sounds, what people think etc. But it’s not about me. It’s not for me. It’s for Jesus!!
AAW: Harmony, thank you for taking the time to share with us today!
Harmony: My pleasure!Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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