We asked the band Housefires to share a few insights into their music and their faith.
Where did the name Housefires come from?
NATE: The name Housefires came from the vision that God birthed in our home church (Grace Midtown in Atlanta). The vision was to see houses on fire with the presence of God throughout the city. Houses of people worshipping, praying, and experiencing the wonder and power of Jesus, together with their families, neighbours, and friends in their ordinary and everyday lives.
KIRBY: Our church is made up of house churches that meet all over the city of Atlanta. We wanted to create approachable worship music that could resource these groups and help stir things up spiritually, so to speak. Many, if not all, of the songs on our first record were songs written in living rooms at our own house church gatherings – songs we would sing over each other’s families during hard times or seasons of abundance.
You recently released your fifth album – what was the inspiration behind it? Do you have a favourite track from it?
NATE: Housefires V is a collection of songs that we’ve been writing and singing with our community back in Atlanta. Each song tells a story of how we’ve seen and experienced Jesus over the past several years. Our favourite track is ‘I’ll Give Thanks’, because it’s such a powerful testimony of the faithful provision and loving care of God that each of us have seen so tangibly in 2019.
TONY: This is our fifth record, which is wild to even say out loud sometimes, since records were never the goal. What’s really special about this one is that some of these songs and choruses predate Housefires I – they’re heart songs from our living rooms that have been around forever, and even years later still resonate and make their way onto projects. It feels authentic to us that we are still very much inspired by the thing that started it all.
KIRBY: Man, I feel like Tony and Nate nailed this answer. I’ll speak for ‘I’ll Give Thanks’ – this song has been such an anchor for us. I spent seven years battling infertility. This song was a lifeline as we contended for breakthrough and to see God moving somehow. ‘This season doesn’t tell my story’ – there’s always more that God can see. Can we thank Him when we can’t see enough to know we’re safe to trust Him? This posture changed my life in this season. I’m now on the other side of this miracle and am with my baby girl as I write this. Only God.
JJ: We are super-excited about the new songs. A few of the songs on the new record are songs that we’ve been sitting with for a few years, and it finally feels right to release them after all this time. For me, it’s a reminder that the fires that God started in our community a long time ago are still alive and burning. I’ve always loved that so many people can connect with songs that were written for a specific season in our own lives or our family’s lives. I really do hope that these songs touch people the same way they’ve touched me. -JJ
What are you most looking forward to about Big Church Day Out this year?
NATE: We are looking forward to experiencing so many God-moments this year at Big Church Day Out. When we gather and worship together, it’s always amazing how God so powerfully meets us and moves in our midst.
KIRBY: My favourite moment last time was watching the crowd grow as we led the songs. I love that people know the songs before they know our faces, or where the song they love was birthed. We never set out to be known, we always wanted, and loved, communal worship of God.
How do you stay close to God and connected with your home church while you’re on tour?
NATE: It’s been really helpful to view travel dates as an extension of our home church and ministry. No matter where we are leading or travelling, we believe that we’re still connected to the heart and soul of our community back home and what God is continuing to do there.
KIRBY: I love to talk to God all day long. About even the smallest, seemingly trivial things. He’s in the details and loves it when we acknowledged that and pull Him in even more. Finding God and allowing Him to speak to me through the ordinary is probably my favourite way to stay close to Him. As for connection, I’m on staff at our church and my husband is the lead pastor, which definitely helps me stay connected and rooted locally.
Do you think that being worship artists has transformed your own faith in any ways?
NATE: Absolutely! It takes faith to believe that God will somehow use the words and melodies of our simple, homegrown songs to speak and reach people around the world and the church. This is something that continues to blow our minds!
KIRBY: I agree completely with Nate on this! Well said! I also think the discipline of constantly writing worship songs helps you dig deeper, even in seasons when it’s hard. It feels like we’re constantly pressing in.
What has God been teaching you and speaking to you about recently?
NATE: Jesus has been teaching me a lot about contentment. Contentment starts with being fully present in each moment of our lives with God today. Contentment is the heart of worship, and it starts with gratitude: seeing what God has placed in our hands today and giving Him thanks for all of His provision and grace.
KIRBY: I keep hearing the word ‘stewardship’. I’m honestly in awe of all God has done in my life and continues to do. It’s an incredible honour to write songs that help shape people’s view of the Father. Beyond that, I’m a new mom and pastor’s wife, a worship leader… it’s a lot to be thankful for, and such an honour to steward. When I thank God for these things, I feel Him leading me to steward them well, and not take them for granted or move on to the next thing.