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Chris Tomlin

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  • Singer/songwriter Chris Tomlin also serves as worship pastor for Passion City Church in Atlanta.

    Singer/songwriter Chris Tomlin also serves as worship pastor for Passion City Church in Atlanta.

In January 2012, Chris Tomlin’s "Burning Lights" debuted at No. 1 on "Billboard’s" Top 200 Albums, only the fourth Christian release to ever top the chart. But the 40-year-old singer/songwriter, considered the most popular worship leader in America, doesn’t write music with the charts in mind. His goal is to write “simple, singable songs that can hopefully find their way into the church and that really help people to worship God and give them a voice to sing,” as he told "Worship Leader" in early 2013. And sing they do. Howard Rachinski, CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing International, recently told CNN that every Sunday in the United States between 60,000 and 120,000 churches are singing Tomlin songs from his ever-growing catalog, including “How Great Is Our God,” “Forever,” “Holy Is the Lord,” “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” and “We Fall Down” and many more.

Growing up in Grand Saline, Texas, Tomlin was taught by his father to play Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash songs, but around age 14, he began writing songs for church. While attending college in Texas, Tomlin sang, wrote prolifically and served as worship leader at several churches. In 1997, youth speaker and author Louie Giglio was founding the Passion Conferences in Austin, Texas, and invited Tomlin to join him. The relationship between the charismatic singer and speaker has evolved the Passion Conferences into phenomenal affairs that attract tens of thousands of 18 to 25 year olds.

In 2008, Tomlin moved to Atlanta to start the Passion City Church with Giglio. He serves as worship pastor and tests all his new songs on the congregation. Despite the fact that he has sold more than four million records, sold out tours all over the world, won a Grammy and been nominated eight times, for Chris Tomlin it is still about the ministry and sharing his love of God through song.