An Interview With Ian Yates

Ian Yates

Ian Yates is the son of a Pentecostal minister of a church in Bootle, Liverpool. He has grown up used to the idea that Christians – and the churches they form – should be fully engaged with the communities that surround them . We managed to catch up with Ian to chat and learn more about the man behind the music.

How are you doing what’s your week been like so far?

I’m doing really well. This weeks been pretty busy, but really good. I’ve just got back from holiday, straight into a few events, church, recording my friends live EP, a day of admin and radio interviews, I have a couple of days song-writing with some friends in the Elim movement and then back to my normal job. it’s all good!

WOW! Sounds like you’re really busy. That’s always good though. Tell us and our reader’s about you, your music and even what has influenced you (in the many different areas of you life) and how all of those things contributed to you being who you are today.

I’m a singer / songwriter / worship leader, married to Kate. We attend Bootle Elim Church in Liverpool. I’ve been involved in music for about 12 years. I think it all started after seeing delirious live and then listening to “live and in a can” around 1996. That really inspired me and something within me had this passion to start a band. I also developed a longing to see God move in power like in acts 2 and a hunger for Gods presence.

Delirious? Are an awesome band and it’s great that they made so much of an impact on you that today we (Adam & Matt) and the many people that are reading this interview are seeing the effect of their ministry even after they have stopped going as a band. What did you do after your Delirious? Experience? Did you start a band straight away?

Around 1998 after various set ups we started a band called seraphim which lasted about 6 years in various formats we released a few CD’s and then after that I got asked to lead worship at various events. I’m always writing songs. It seems to be my way of expressing myself

One of my major passions is that when we worship the presence of God falls. I think when we see this it changes the atmosphere, changes lives. I’m hungry for more and more of that. Hungry to see God move in power, Hungry to see the lost come to faith

We totally understand where you’re coming from. We’re involved in the ministry of music and worship in our church and when God really consumes the place with His presence we long to see the power that comes with His presence to draw men unto Him, to heal the sick (without hands being laid) and to see people delivered from all manner of things.

Recently I’ve really been inspired by the teachings of Joseph Prince, Rob Rufus, Joel Osteen. Coming to a greater knowledge of how God sees me and sees us. That we are completely righteous because of what Jesus did on the cross, that when God sees us, He sees us through Jesus. Also how the new covenant is so awesome and how upon the cross everything changed!

Yeah, on the Cross, EVERYTHING changed. God is so good! :-)

You’re a worship leader. What has been your most memorable worship experience and why?

Wow, I’ve had so many. I think over the last few years I’ve noticed the presence of God getting more and more tangible and especially the last few months. I was at an event recently we’re the presence of God was so heavy the music just stopped and everyone just fell on their faces in silence because Gods presence was so strong. We also had an awesome time at church a few weeks ago where once again the presence of God was so heavy and I just began singing prophetically over our congregation about chains being broken and it was so powerful seeing people getting touched by God

That’s an awesome testimony and proof that nothing is too hard for God and that sometimes we have to step out in faith and then let God do the rest.

It seems like you were made to worship and God is continually opening doors for you to keep on going to higher heights in your ministry. What would you be doing if you weren’t a worship leader?

Not sure….

Maybe I’d focus more on my career and take what I’ve learnt in my current full time job and maybe pursue that more. I think I would also be involved in different aspects of church, Maybe with Youth and young adults.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist? We love to ask this question because it will hopefully serve as encouragement for other artist’s/worship leaders who are just starting out.

I think pushing myself has been a real challenge. Just struggling to work out what the right way to pursue things is. I’m learning all the time. I find it hard to push/sell myself but on the other side if I don’t tell anyone about what’s happening no one will know. So for me it’s a challenge because  I want to do it with integrity.

That’s understandable. Balancing ministry with the business side of things is always hard but what you said about integrity is the key. People will see that in what you do and how you do it. Have you faced any different challenges?

I think another challenge is time. I think we always want things now and straight away and I’m constantly learning that God’s timing is perfect. And I need to come from a place of rest in him rather than pursuing things in my own strength.
Yeah, time is something we all have little of these day’s even though with technology, artificial light (and not just sun light) etc we actually have more time to do different things than we ever have had before.

You mentioned earlier about Delirious? inspiring you and even how you started the band ‘Seraphim’. What was it that changed your mind from  being inspired to start a band to actually realising that there was more to what you do and that you were actually called into the ministry? How did you feel when you received the call?

Great question…

I think for me it was at a delirious gig at the manchester apollo and i just felt this call. And I remember a few people saying to me on the way home that’ll be you one day.

I was like mmm, we’ll see.

It was a dream from around that time that I knew God had put in me, and to be honest it wouldn’t go away. Many times over the last 12 years i’ve felt like giving up on the calling/dream. But it’s something I haven’t been able to shake off and it’s been a real journey of trusting in what God has promised over my life. And God has opened up some doors and has been so faithful! – It’s an exciting journey.

WOW! That’s great and also inspiring.
In your bio it said that you’re the son of a minister. What was it like being raised as the son of a Pentecostal Minister in Liverpool?

My Dad has been the pastor of our church about 6/7 years now. I have to say my parents have been fantastic parents. It’s good working with my Dad, there are some benefits and challenges. But overall it’s been great!

What was church like growing up?

My parents always took me and my brothers to church every week, morning and evening. I think most of the time we we’re pretty bored until we could play football at the end of the meeting. But that changed in 1993 when we went to the National Elim Conference. The youth program at the conference was amazing and I remember for the first time really experiencing the presence of God in an amazing way and also knowing I was so loved by God. This was a turning point in my life and walk with God. I wanted to go to church from then on.  I’ve never been the same since.

WOW! That’s a fantastic testimony and a reminder that transformation takes place by the renewing of our mind’s and once that happens; our lives change forever.

You seem like you have a lot of things that you want to do and see happen in the world. What things are you passionate about…that God has laid on your heart?

The album has 3 main themes running through which I’m really passionate about. 1. That there is a hope for the broken. 2. A desperate cry to see God move in our town, city and nation and the 3. To see ourselves as God sees us
One of my main passions at the moment is to see God radically transform lives. He’s done it in me and we’ve seen Him transform lives at church and I just want to see that on a bigger scale. I’m longing to see the addicts getting set free, blind eyes being opened. People being completely set free from depression and fear. I’m longing to see God move in our town and city! and i believe it’s not far off. Amen!

What kinds of things do you desire to see in the church world and in the lives of Christian’s around the world?

For me it would be that people would see themselves as God sees them. I think there are a lot of Christian’s who don’t really know who they are. A lot of Christian’s live a life full of guilt, shame and condemnation. I did for years. But the truth is there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. The old has completely gone!!

I think it’s one of the biggest things holding Christian’s back from reaching their full potential. I used to think I had to do this and do that to be righteous or holy or to be blessed. Or I had to pray a certain amount of times a day or read my Bible for so long everyday or I wouldn’t get Gods blessing. Praying and reading the bible are important things but my works don’t get me more blessed. It was all rubbish! I’m blessed because I am a child of God. I am righteous and holy because of what Jesus has accomplished upon the cross!  Jesus paid it all and as a child of God I have Gods unmerited favour, love, mercy, grace, and blessing and by faith we all can receive it. For me it has changed my whole Christian walk. I think this is a very ‘now’ message that a lot of people are preaching and teaching on at the moment. I also believe it is a key to seeing breakthrough in our nation.

We can relate to that. We’re always meeting people who feel to inferior for God to love them or even to use them as if the criteria for God using us or Him loving us is us being perfect. Thank God for His love and mercy which allows us to have a relationship with Him and when we sin instead of being condemned, receive mercy, grace and reconciliation.

You’ve been married for a couple of years now. How did you meet your wife Kate?

We actually met at a worship event. Kate was part of the team and I got asked to come in and lead the team. So we had a connection straight away with that. Kate sings with me as often as possible which is great fun.

What better a place to meet your wife than at a worship event! That’s great… Think it’s time we went to a few more worship events lol (Ian laughs) just kidding. That’s great though; 2 worshippers together in this ministry will make it even more powerful.

How do you find balancing ministry with being a husband? Have you had to change anything that you were doing before?

We both have a lot on separately and together but it’s all through choice. Kate works for a Christian Children’s charity in Bootle called Ykids so she has a lot on too. One of the main things we do is make sure that we have at least one full night each week together. I think this is so important!

What I have had to change?….I’m learning I should listen more to my wife…

We’re not married yet but we’re sure we’ll be saying the same thing as you when we are bro lol
(Ian laughs)

So tell us, how was the recording process and everything with the album and how did you get from being a normal guy writing songs to having a deal with Survivor Records?

The process of recording the album has been really cool. Around 2 years ago my brother told me that soul survivor were looking for tracks for a new People’s Album. He encouraged me to send 2 songs in and some how they both got picked. From that I met with Adrian Thompson at Survivor and he was interested in recording a track. So we recorded “Father Of Compassion” which went on a survivor sampler, and then from there i had the opportunity to record a 7 track emerge album which then turned into this album “The Hope And The Glory”

How did your relationship with Survivor records start and develop to what it is today?

The relationship came from the peoples album 3. From that I met Adrian Thompson and the other guys. It’s been an awesome privilege working with Adrian and all at kingsway/survivor. I know it’s a step of faith for them releasing this album as I’m pretty unknown and I don’t go to a huge church. I’m humbled that they believe in the songs.

It was also great working with producer Trevor Michael ( He is a Christian music legend. He’s worked with so many people from ishmael to Matt Redman and Delirious. I think he even worked on the millennium prayer song. We formed a great partnership and he put a huge amount of work in for this record including finishing building his home studio for the recording.

WOW! That’s awesome. God has REALLY opened doors for you and given you immense favour.

We know that with many artist’s, when they release an album it’s a reflection of where they’re at in their lives. What does ‘The Hope And The Glory’ say about where you are in your life and which song do you think represents that best?

I think it sums up everything that’s been happening in my life over the last 5 years. brokenness, The faithfulness of God, knowing who I am in Christ and the cry and desire of my heart.

If I had to pick one song it would have to be “Crying Out” This song is really the cry of my heart and I hope that comes across – Just a longing to see God move in power.

That’s great. It’s always good to know that the writer has a personal connection to the songs s/he writes because it makes it all the more real and helps the listeners connect with the songs.

At this point it’s easy to see Ian’s passions and burden’s in life. He really just wants to see the power of God moving in his life and in all of ours too and through him being broken and being reassured of who he is in God we can see that he is experiencing the power of God in his own life and really wants to let us in on some of that.

So what’s next for you, what are your future plans?

Who knows what’s gonna happen. I’m just so grateful to God and the guys at survivor for the opportunity to share these songs! I’m hoping the songs will really impact peoples lives and that God would just use them for His glory

I’m hoping to do a tour and I have few conferences lined up. I’m also looking forward to seeing the response of the album. I’m also involved in a group of guys looking at worship within the Elim movement. This is really exciting!

We’d love to see you do a tour, especially if it hit’s Birmingham. What else are you planning for/would like to see develop in your life over the next few years?

I’d love to be able to do music full time. That would be amazing.

Hopefully in 5 years time I would have recorded a couple of other albums. I’d like to push musical boundaries in worship and also to be able to have worship songs on mainstream radio, maybe even the charts. But the main thing for me is that I would like to have written songs that have really impacted peoples lives and are full of Gods presence.

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1 Comment

  1. Adam & Matt Brooks (@mbriomusic) (@mbriomusic)

    September 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    An Interview With @IanYatesMusic. Read it here –> #Interviews #Church #Elim

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