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Cool Conversations/Interviews

Interview With Geoff Moore
August 1, 2000

I was backstage at the DC/LA conference and I asked Geoff if he could do a quick interview. He gladly accepted, despite his busy schedule. Cool guy! He finished up his conversation with Jaci Velasquez and then we ducked into a back room.

JONATHAN: How many years have you been singing and doing concerts?

GEOFF: I'm going into my 16th year. My first album came out in November of 1984 so I've been at it a long time.

JONATHAN: What has been your worst concert experience in the last 16 years?

GEOFF: Oh man! We don't have enough time to be able to list all of the bad ones. There's been a lot of good ones ... there's the 10 people ones- the ones where there is just as many people on stage as there is out in the crowd. But I think one of the worst ones was ... I played a fair right after a demolition derby. You know what a demolition derby is- where the cars all try to crash into each other and the last one running wins. As a matter of fact- do you know what the motto of the demolition derby was? Where reverse is the gear of choice. I bet many of your readers don't know that. Reverse is the gear of choice in a demolition derby. There was so much dust on all of our equipment because it was on a stage right in front of that field. Oh. God bless rednecks- I'm pretty redneck myself, but there was plenty of them out there that night.

JONATHAN: That's funny. Now you say you're pretty redneck yourself. Where did you grow up?

GEOFF: I grew up in Southern Michigan- a small farming community. I went to a small public high school. A lot of FFH and 4H folks running around my school.

JONATHAN: So when did you decide that you wanted to go into music?

GEOFF: Well, I was a very late bloomer. I studied business administration in college. I didn't sing at all until I was in college, in a small band- nothing in high school. About six months after I got out of college I began to feel a desire to do ministry and play music- it didn't matter how successful I'd be- it just mattered that I go do it.

JONATHAN: When did you know that this was it- when was your biggest breakthrough?

GEOFF: My biggest breakthrough was one night when I was in college. I went to a little Christian college in Indiana called Taylor University. They had a little chapel that sat about 10 people, with two pews in this little building- open all night. And I had been having this battle with the Lord about what I was doing ... my major, my future. And I didn't have any clue that I would be involved in Christian music. And I remember laying on my face in the isle of that little chapel by myself at about 2:00 in the morning. And I remember saying "Lord, whatever you want me to do, I'll do it." That was it. No strings attached. It was a moment of total release.

JONATHAN: Wow.

GEOFF: I feel like that's when he called me to Christian music. Unbeknownst to me. It wasn't when I got the record deal- it was when I was willing to say "God I'm going to operate in your agenda ... your plan."

JONATHAN: That's great. Now you were just talking to Jaci Velasquez and you're ... how old are you?

GEOFF: I'm 39

JONATHAN:39? Isn't it cool to not be 40 yet! Are you going to be 39 for the next five years?

GEOFF: (laugh) No, I'm a true 39.

JONATHAN: Okay ... and you were just talking to Jaci who is 20 years old. What advice would you give to an upcoming star like herself or a band that is trying to make it? What piece of advice would you offer?

GEOFF: First, really allow God to define your calling. And that calling is defined out of a heart that really loves Jesus Christ. It's not defined by a record company or a manager or the people in your church- but it's defined by your heart and your relationship with God and what is coming out of that. And then to take that into this culture and this world, realizing that you are completely unique, gifted by God, a one of a kind. And let your art, your music be that- be unique. Because that is what will capture people's ears- the originality of it will draw people in.

JONATHAN: So use your own spiritual gifts ...

GEOFF: Let your calling grow out of your walk with Jesus Christ. That attaches itself to a vocation. Use that vocation to be very uniquely Christian and uniquely original.

JONATHAN: Now Geoff you're gone tons. Lots of the readers of this newsletter find themselves very busy, maybe even away from home quite a bit. Jim Burns just told us that the devil want to keep us busy. How do you maintain a family life?

GEOFF: Well, I just start by saying what are the priorities in my life: my relationship with God, my relationship with my wife Jan and my being a father to Josh and Justin, my 10 and 12 year old sons. And then my vocation is after that. And I could sit here and talk about that or I could just simply tell you that that's how I live. Against popular opinion sometimes, no ministry is succeeded ever at the price of a family. It may appear to. People may think your ministry's succeeded. They may think things are great and all that. You know in your heart what's going on. In God's economy nothing succeeds at the price of a family- it just doesn't. So, I committed at finding success through God's principles and his agenda- that's where I begin- and so everything I do runs through the grid of how does it affect my family. How much I'm gone, what projects I take, what kind of work I do- all those things. And then I also do some things on the road. I very rarely travel alone- I almost always travel with somebody ...

JONATHAN: Accountability?

GEOFF: Yes- people that hold me accountable. I have a group of men that hold me accountable. They don't care how many records I sell, how popular or unknown I am ... they care about what kind of follower of Christ I am. Very tangible things. I don't travel with a girl. I don't stay in a hotel room alone- if I'm flying out the next day I might- but out of 100 days in a hotel, one will be alone. So those are just some horse sense stuff to protect ourselves and protect us while we're traveling.

JONATHAN: Awesome. Sometimes the best gift you can give your family is the gift of "time." I read a book about being a good father. The author talked about a "trick," for lack of a better term, that he used to make sure he made his family feel loved or getting the attention they need. He said that when he got home, no matter how busy he was, he would dedicate the first half hour to his family. He wouldn't be on the phone or trying to finish some last minute work- he would just roll on the floor with his kids, help his wife with dinner, listen, serve ... whatever it takes ... for a half an hour. He contends that if you do that- you've just won the entire evening. It might sound sneaky, but given that the average time that the average American dad spends with his son each week is only 11 minutes ... that ain't bad. Do you have any methods or habits you have that help you show your family love?

GEOFF: We call it re-entry in my family. You know- the concept of re-entry- that it's tough to step back in. So Jan and I do not talk about anything of substance for at least two to three hours. We just talk about light stuff.

You know something that comes up a lot is the concept of entitlement. I've been on the road, I've been working, people are digging what I've been doing ... I'm entitled to the remote control and the Lazy-boy. Jan's been busting her butt, taking care of kids, feeding people, dealing with being mom and dad... she's entitled to a break. Well you know we both think we're entitled to it. And so our motto is that we need to take care of each other. Take care of each other and then your own needs are going to be met.

JONATHAN: Okay- let me ask you a couple of fun questions. What is your favorite movie in the last 10 years?

GEOFF: My favorite movie in the last 10 years would be Braveheart.

JONATHAN: Braveheart. Good. Now did you see Gladiator?

GEOFF: I saw it last night actually. I thought it was very good. It wasn't on the scale of Braveheart. Part of the problem was simply that it was the Romans and the oppression of the Jews- but I was moved by it. I'm moved by history. I think it's important that we are aware of history and how we got to where we are. I also think its important to know the role that violence played in our history. Our freedom, our faith have gone through a real gauntlet of violence and a lot of people have paid for us to even be able to sit her today. So that stuff reminds me of those things.

JONATHAN: Now do you have any dogs or cats?

GEOFF: Yes. I'm a huge dog lover- HUGE! I have two golden retrievers: Daisy and Hickory. And we have a little west highland white terrier. Birch is his name. He's a big dog trapped in a small dogs body. I'm a huge dog fan!

JONATHAN: What do you think of cats then?

GEOFF: I'm not sure even what God was thinking. I mean there's snakes and cats. I mean what was going on?

JONATHAN: Well you have retrievers ... at least with a cat, you can have something ...

JONATHAN AND GEOFF (simultaneously): ... SOMETHING TO RETRIEVE!

(note to readers- please do not email me and let me know how offended you are about our dislike for felines! It's a fact of life- they're not lovable creatures!)

GEOFF: That's right. And if you're a cat lover out there... God help you!

JONATHAN: One last question. This letter goes out to tons of youth workers. How can we pray for you.

GEOFF: As we talked about a little earlier in the interview, pray that my walk with Christ will be authentic and that my relationship with Jan my boys would be right. Because out of that- that's the soil that the good songs and ideas and all that grow. And if you could pray that that would be right, the rest of it will really follow.














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