Advice often sounds like clichés and I am sure mine will, too: be true to God, be true to your calling, be true to yourself. Remember whose you are. God has not called everyone to the big arenas. If we all go seek fame and fortune, who is left to minister to the local church and community? We need more creative types that are community focused. Our goals should be about utilizing the talents God has given each of us, in the place God has called us to be.
That is why I usually suggest people plug in locally, wherever they live. Find a good church. Minister there. If you have talent and a heart for ministry, it will be noticed. Volunteer to sing to the young kids, the youth, the college age, the picnics, local festivals, wherever.
What has allowed the message of Christ to endure for 2,000 years? It is a message of hope; it is a message of truth. I think that shines through the Christian arts. Also, you have often heard “Music is the universal language.” It is. When you combine a powerful message with a well-turned tune, what’s not to love? This is why a song like “Friends” from Michael W. Smith is still one of the most requested and beloved songs of our day. If you ask a music high brow, they will tell you the tune is simple, the lyrics are lame, but the simple tune penned by Michael and his wife touches us profoundly with its truth and its simplicity. It surpasses the musical formulas with its message of the love shared among friends. God has a way of doing that. Christian music can get too contrived with books, formulas and gimmicks. Bob Carlisle wrote “Butterfly Kisses” for his daughter, not to be the next #1 hit. He went past the formulas with his message of a father’s love for his daughter. The simple things from the heart are often the best.
I have seen the pitfalls of the Christian music industry as people that are called “ministers” in the industry have stumbled and fallen, sometimes again and again. Yes we are all human and all stumble, but the Bible makes it clear more is expected of those in positions of teacher, leader, minister. Character is more important than talent in ministry, but talent is often esteemed more highly than character in the “industry.” There is a tightrope artists walk between “ministry” and “industry.” I would offer this advice to anyone seeking a career as an artist that would put them up in front of people as a leader, role model and minister: clean the skeletons out of your closet and deal with any issues you have BEFORE you climb up on that tightrope. No matter how fabulous your talent is, it is your fruits that will leave the lasting impression of what your ministry was all about.
We can only LIVESTRONG™ if we’re GODSTRONG™.
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