Matthew Swanton

Every Sunday, our churches gather and sing songs that weave culturally engaging music with lyrics that ground our hope in Christ. But did you know many of our songs don’t necessarily have the same effect in every culture or language group? There is a gaping opportunity to communicate the gospel amongst the least-reached people of the world, by encouraging new worship in their own unique, beautiful ways – it has been observed frequently in missions frontiers across the majority world, that when localised worship forms accompany the introduction of brand new scripture translations, the church flourishes. We call this work ethnodoxology, where our creative life ignites vibrant worship to the Lord!

Following two years onboard Logos Hope, Matt served a decade with OM in Belgium. Here, God cultivated in Matt a deep longing to see the church flourishing in spiritually dry places, a vibrant testimony of grace to the communities they live amongst. Within Belgium’s unique creative life, Matt found countless avenues to encourage Christians to release their own indigenous expressions of worship, blessing their wider culture with beautiful gospel-inflected art. This frequently tumbled further afield across Europe, particularly in TeenStreet – modelling inclusive worship while discipling younger generations in creating beauty.

This has culminated in Matt’s work today alongside Inspiro Arts Alliance (formerly OM Arts and Heart Sounds International). Inspiro seeks to cultivate and empower artists globally to spark beautiful worship and witness, with the ultimate vision of seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached. Matt’s role as project manager and artist mentor cultivates fruitful partnership between global ministry teams and theologians, missiologists, ethnodoxologists, and arts practitioners, while also walking alongside Christians as they reflect on sharing faith well in their own unique creative contexts.

Matt’s own speciality is the intersection of faith, local culture, and music. As a multi-instrumentalist, music director and recording producer, he loves seeing emerging movements of locally written, Gospel-saturated worship songs, training the church in skilfully making a joyful noise together in response to the Lord. As the church sings out of our joy in Jesus and faithfully cultivating the specific gifts and resources God has blessed us with, we bring glory to His name across the nations. And as we further encourage “creative culture care”, we see Christians collaborating with not-yet-believers to create beautiful art for the world, revealing the sweetness of God’s redemptive story to a world that so desperately needs to hear it.

Matthew primarily works remotely from Melbourne, Australia, where he lives with his wife Femke and two daughters Audrey and Evelyn.

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