We catch up with Allan Van Heerden
Updated: Jan 24, 2022
Allan is currently serving as an elder at Linkway Church in Cape Town. He has a specific focus and oversight of creative arts and the worship ministry. We thought we'd catch up with Allan and chat about Linkway's latest worship project.
Allan I know worship has always been very much on your heart. Would you mind sharing a little with about how this came about, your current involvement in worship, and why you’re so passionate about corporate worship in particular?
This is a huge question that is tough to answer briefly. Anyway, let me try. To start, I’ve been involved in Worship ministry since the age of 16 when we had a small youth band, and ever since then the Lord has increased my desire to honour and glorify Him through song. My current involvement in worship is to oversee our Worship Team in the areas of leading on Sunday’s (which I do often), equipping the team both in the heart and art of worship, and being in tune where Jesus is leading His church.
I truly believe that worshipping Jesus is our ultimate purpose. It’s what we were created for. It’s who we are. One day, when Jesus returns, all ministry will stop except our worship of Him. I believe that all other ministry flows from a heart of worship because when Jesus is the center of our life we’ll selflessly and sacrificially live for Him (Rom. 12:1-2). And when we bring our hearts of worship together corporately the atmosphere changes. The Holy Spirit starts to move in ways that lifts faith and hope in people’s hearts, brings victory in areas of bondage (Joshua 6, Acts 16) and carries a beautiful unity and encouragement in the body of Christ as we extol His Name together (Ps. 133).
I know you’ve always had a heart to equip the local church through song writing, and not always by ‘consuming’ worship that’s out there if I could call it that. Would you say that desire for local song writing is more important now than ever? Speak into this a bit.
It’s always a beautiful thing when a local community, or city, or country can sing songs that have been home grown which brings in different cultures and backgrounds and expresses what Jesus has been doing and is busy doing within the local church. It’s so great when the body of Christ can lift up the Name of Jesus through their unique voices and languages. When these new local songs of worship spring up it really brings a strong element of oneness and blessing.
We’re so excited about your new single Matchless King. From the first time I listened to it, I found myself humming the melody in my head at different parts in the day. Tell us a little but about the song story. How did Matchless King come about, and what message do you hope it portrays?
It was back in 2018 when I took some leave to write music and for the longest time, leading up to it, the Spirit burnt the word ‘Matchless’ in my mind. So, as I always do, I sat in the Scriptures and asked the Lord “what do you want to be pouring out from the hearts of your children?”
The matchless truths of His authority, His Name, His love, His grace, His power, His sacrifice started to flood my pages. And it became so clear to me, that when our picture of Jesus is bigger, then everything else in life, good or bad, seems so small. So, having the right perspective of Jesus changes everything (Col. 3:1-3).
Therefore, my heart for this song is to help people refocus their thinking on Jesus & see how truly Matchless He is. That we may, as it says in Ps. 145:5, set our minds and hearts attention to His majesty, His glorious splendour and wonderful works.
I love the idea of us worshipping a ‘matchless king’. The thought that no-one compares to him. Speak to us a little about this and how it themes itself through the song.
When talking about lyrics and theme, I wanted to bring imagery of the greatness of Jesus as both fully God and fully man and how it relates to us as His children. Verse one speaks about His authority in heaven and earth, which gives us hope and joy that He is ultimately in control and always will be. Verse two draws from His authority and power and love on earth through physically and spiritually opening the eyes of the blind, and that we find our true identity in Him which allows us to walk in His power through the Holy Spirit.
The Choruses and Bridge take these truths and amplify them through phrases of declaration like “no rival, no equal, exalt, mighty Saviour, splendour”.
All in all, Jesus is unrivalled and we can personally know Him through His life, death and resurrection. And as His children we can know He is on our side which should squash all fear and increase faith.
I know you’re also about to launch your first album. Tell us a bit more about this?
Well, actually it’s our second album. We released our first worship album back in 2008. Some of those songs are still being played in churches across the world, which is pretty cool.
But talking about this upcoming album, we have written 10 songs for it, which is titled ‘Walk By Your Spirit’. We feel that these collection of songs each have a unique flavour, but come together cohesively as an expression of faith-building declarations from the heart towards our Father God. Some of these songs trace their history back some years now to particular seasons in the life of our church, and we believe bringing them together with newer songs on this one album paints a beautiful picture of how God has been speaking to the church in timeless ways.
We don’t want these songs to only stay on peoples playlists, but our hope and prayer is to see these songs go far and wide to aid both the local church here in South Africa, as well as the wider church around the world in their corporate worship. We want Jesus to be at the center of people’s lives and our aim is for this music to be an avenue for the Holy Spirit to awaken hearts to the glory of Jesus Christ, strengthening the church in faith, hope and love.
Allan, many of those reading are involved in ministry, and either pastoring churches or involved in the worship ministry space. I know this is a big question, but what do you see God doing in the area of corporate worship at the moment. I won’t hold you to this haha, but from what you’re encountered, how are you seeing God move?
The last two years has been a very interesting and challenging season with online church, lounge worship, and people not being able to be in a room together. And when we have been able to get in the room, we’ve been met with the challenges of masks and social distancing. All of this has left many people filled with fear and have ended up very inward focused and complacent. I believe God wants to move us into a season of rebuilding in people’s lives and the church as a whole. He is busy igniting a hunger for His Word, prayer and community.
Therefore, our times of corporate worship has been focused on allowing the Holy Spirit to move in these areas as we fight for normality even within some of our current restrictions.
For those involved in the worship space, what advice would you give them when it comes to prioritising and investing in their local worship ministry contexts. What are the main things that you guys are emphasising at the moment?
Every church is unique in their strengths, challenges and contexts. However, no matter what these are, it must always come back to the heart of worship first and then the art of worship can follow. I believe investing in your people through relationship is key, as it will then allow you to speak truth and hope in their lives. Getting together socially is sometime overlooked, but can really yield incredible fruit in people’s lives. We’ve found that setting time aside for specific teaching on worship and the worship ministries role in the church is very effective. It’s also good to help your singers and musicians grow in their art, so setting up a session of training and investment by a proficient musician or singer also goes a long way. However, with all this said, it important to assess the current temperature of your ministry and decide which area needs attention. Given the season that we’ve all gone through and how it’s affected the church in every area, we are focusing on rebuilding connection and just being together in community around God’s Word and encouraging one another.
Lastly, won’t you share with us where we can find your single ‘Matchess King’, as well as your soon to be released album?
The album officially gets released on Friday 21 January 2022 and will be available on all digital platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, and YouTube Music, to name a few. We also made some hardcopy Albums for those who don’t listen online. So people are welcome to reach out to us through our website (www.linkwaychurch.org.za) if they’d like to get a copy. We also have a YouTube channel called ‘Linkway Worship’ where you can find some Lyric videos, our official music video for Matchless King, and some other videos that dig deeper into the heart behind the songs.
Interviewed by Tristan Jensen