Travis Cottrell is best known as the worship leader at Beth Moore’s Living Proof Live events, as well as for penning popular worship songs, such as Alive, Forever Amen and Your Name. He has had a long-standing relationship with the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, often coming to lead worship during the holiday season.
“They have to practically kick us out every time we go to The Cove. I absolutely love it there,” said Cottrell. “This awesome season gives us the opportunity to get together in an intimate and quiet setting. I love to marry that with the nostalgia of Christmas, but let’s not miss the opportunity to do the most important thing – worship our Savior.”
Self-described as “hopelessly nostalgic and sanguine,” Cottrell says this is his favorite time of the year. “I love to be with people and make memories.”
Many of those memories are made with his favorite people – his wife, Angela, and their three children. “We like to decorate the tree with the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD playing in the background. This tradition has become very special to us.”
His family is a crucial part of his ministry, especially Angela. “She does everything from sing, to write songs, to keeping things running at ‘Cottrell Central’ when I am gone. But, probably the most crucial thing she does is pray for me. Her strongest gift is intercession. She also loves the Word of God, and it is constantly flowing from her lips.”
Aside from making memories with his family in Nashville, another cherished part of Christmas is the chance to go back to his roots. Each year, he looks forward to visiting Boone, N.C., where he was raised with three older siblings, who were teenagers when he was born.
“My sister Kathy was the only piano teacher I ever had. She taught me everything I know,” said Cottrell. “Every year, once we’ve eaten and opened presents, we play music and sing. There’s this silly duet of ‘Sleigh Ride’ that we do. We always say we need to practice for the next year, but we never do. Everyone else sits around with their cameras, taking pictures, and acts like it’s just the best thing, although they suffer through it!”
He added that it is the small things that make the Christmas season special for him. One of those small things is Christmas music, something that is very near and dear to him, especially as a worship leader – a role he takes very seriously.
“One of the things that is so important in terms of being a worship leader is transparency. When you look back at your life at those who influenced you the most, it’s usually not the people who ‘had it together.’ It’s the people who were authentic,” he explained.
“People trust leaders who are vulnerable before them. We all need to be working out our salvation with fear and trembling together. The best way we can do that is to do what the Word says… encourage and build up one another.”