The realm of worship artistry—that world where ministry and creativity meet—is an area where most, if not all of us feel least comfortable, most vulnerable, ever questioning of our own motives—and rightly so. We’ve seen countless artists fail at attaining authenticity in it, and a very few seeming to get it right. If I’m completely candid about it, I’ve never felt quite myself in the area of artistry while at the same time in ministry always searching for something beyond the typical pastoral. It’s a touchy subject, and for many, it’s a difficult one to resolve for a number of reasons:
- There’s a dichotomy between the ministry that we do and the art we create.
- Artists|Musicians see the need to build a base of interest, and many feel the pressure to promote a product while still maintaining an effective ministry
- Worship is something that at its core is about the shifting the focus off of self and on to Jesus. How do we do that and create a brand|platform|entity?
It’s that final point that I believe is at the heart of the matter. At its very center, worship is about laying down our rights, our desires, our wills, and surrendering them to God. It’s a sacrificial act, one that costs each and every person who commits to it a dear price. But the reality is that most creatives—especially those in the church—have never come to terms with the simple truth, that the Gospel is costly, that it requires the surrender of everything that we are. Most of us worship artists are content to at best live with a functional dualism, stepping between the artistry and the ministry, wearing multiple hats depending on the moment, vacillating between the calling that we know and the influence that we crave. We say we want to just worship, but so often what we really want is the platform, the status, the glory.
I believe we’re entering a season in the global church where the margin for grace between these two camps is thinning and artists have to make the choice. Many of those I talk to are in a place where they’re stuck in the middle between pursuing their own influence and figuring out how to pursue a Christ-centered ministry in their lives and careers. For me, it’s been a 10 year process navigating this world, and I believe it really comes down to some simple principles for worship artists:
- Experience deeply and profoundly the power of God in your life. It may be God’s grace in an experience, it may be deliverance, it may be simply understanding that God is alive an active and wants you to know Him. Whatever it is, press in deeply in to God and let Him change you through it.
- Make God famous. As a worship artist, your entire motive, vision, and purpose is to make God famous through what He has shown you about Himself. Spend your creative energy, your passion, your strategy, your artistry completely on this task.
- Let God handle influence. Simple. Difficult. Costly.
We tend to spend much of our time as worship artists on building influence, when the reality is that God is the One who builds influence. It’s one you can trust Him with. He’ll take you to exactly the people you need to serve, the exact platform where you need to be, the right time for the right season. I made a simple promise to God coming in to 2015, that I would focus on making Him famous and He could handle the influence end of this ministry and the tasks that I do. God will take care of you. He’s promised to do that. You spend the time expressing uniquely and creatively what God has done in you.
My prayer is that this post frees many to simply live in the purpose that God has for their lives. It’s what you’ve always wanted anyway. Just let go of influence and embrace the worship call on your life, to release the Kingdom through your artistry.