How To Make It Big In Christian Music
- 2001 5 May
There have been many requests from people wanting to know how to get started with music/praise and worship leading/songwriting, so I thought I would put some of my thoughts down in this article for anyone who wants to read them. Some of you just wanted to know the business stuff, but the only thing I can tell you is that it's all about relationships. Some people call it "connections," but these "connections" WILL NOT last if they are not real relationships. They will turn around and bite you down the road! It really is good to live in Nashville or L.A. or somewhere like that so you can build relationships, but God can also "connect" people in other, far off places ... like South Dakota (no offense to you Dakotans). There is, of course, no magic formula. If there was, we'd all be rich, talented, connected, famous stars, right - YIKES! You must trust God. You must. If you don't, anything else you build will be just that, something you built. And it will ALL come crashing down. You must let God do the building. You do the serving. That always works best.
As you desire to use the gift of music to glorify God, I thought I'd give you a little advice from a few things the Lord has been teaching me. This is where you must start. It may even mean putting your voice or instrument away for a while ... kind of a FAST for a time. Ask God to lead YOU as you read my thoughts. In fact, you may want to pray right now for His leading.
Music is a special gift. God has gifted some people on this earth to be more sensitive spiritually than some others for the purpose of being sensitive to His Spirit, so as to bring forth the music that will praise and glorify Him. Most people mistake His GIFT for their TALENT. Nothing you have is "yours." Everything you have is from God (1 Corinthians 4:7). It is not yours. You are just being allowed to use it for a time. What has been given to you can easily be taken away -- very easily!
Many musicians become proud, because they are easily able to "move" people. For some strange reason, they think it is them moving people instead of the gift God has given them. That is exactly what happened to the devil. He was the original "worship leader" in heaven. I guess one day He flew over the sea of glass, got a good look at himself and all his accomplishments and thought maybe he ought to get Gods glory. He thought maybe he could take the place of God and the worship of all those God had placed under him, instead of giving it to the One who created him. Certainly he was just as worthy, if not more, of their worship than God, he thought. Pride filled his heart, and God cast him out of heaven. That was the beginning of many who have fallen because of pride in themselves and in their "creation."
All my life Ive known I would do something with music. You might be in that same position or you may be the opposite and wish you knew as strongly what God wanted for you as far as music or life is concerned. But, sometimes when we know what God is planning ahead of time, we try to make it happen ourselves and tend to get ahead of God. That happened to a lot to people in the Bible ... Abraham with having his first kid, Joseph with bragging to his brothers about his dream, Moses with killing the Egyptian while trying to "deliver" God's people.
It seems to me that as we grow up, people are always asking us, "What are you going to DO with your life?" Over and over again, we are led to believe it is what we DO that makes us significant in life. This is really one of the biggest lies from the devil. The more I realize God's heart on this issue, the more I realize that He is always more concerned with who we are to BE rather than what we are to DO. We get so excited about what we can DO for God that we forget about our relationship with Him and we never really learn how to just "be with" Him. Isn't that how it's always been? Every other religion is based on what we DO (works), which puts importance on working our way to God. Somehow we, as humans, think if we can just DO something to prove our love, then God will accept us. The problem with this is that we are always trying to work our way toward acceptance from God, which is impossible. If it was possible, we could boast in our abilities to get to God. This has never been possible, nor can we ever DO enough to earn a place in God's heart. (Nor can we ever BE enough.)
I'm sure you know all of this already, but living it is always a different thing. We usually worry about what we are going to DO for God way before we ever think about who we are going to BE in God. This is something that must change if we are to live according to Gods plan for our lives. We must become focused on our character in Christ. We must decide, before we DO a single thing, that we are going to BE obedient to God. My suggestion is that we begin to focus heavily on who we are BEING in Christ ... our CHARACTER, spending time with Him ... becoming like Him. See, I believe when we focus on who we are to BE and not so much on what we DO for God, the DOING comes MUCH easier! In fact, I believe the DOING flows directly out of the BEING! If we can learn to BE, than God will teach us how to DO for Him without it getting in the way of our relationship with Him ... this is VERY important.
One thing a wise friend said to me was that God doesn't care about my ministry nearly as much as He cares about me. Your No. 1 purpose in life is to have a relationship with your God. If anything gets in the way of that, including your "ministry," the Lord will become "jealous" and take it away, and you will have been involved with idolatry. I know that sounds strong, but anything that comes before God or that has more of you than God does is an idol!
Practically, if I were you, I would begin to pray (and even FAST) intensely concerning God's leading in your life. Remember, the ACT of praying is NOT the answer ... it is how we get the answer ... it is how we get God's strategy to win the battle. You can read in 2 Chronicles 5-7 and see how several times when faced with a battle Solomon sought the Lord for the strategy to win. "Should we fight, Lord?" "Should we attack from the front or the back?" These are questions you should begin to ask the Lord. But, even if there are no answers right away and no matter what happens, begin to ask the Lord to TEACH you how to "be with" Him ... to be satisfied in Him, just Him.
One of my long-time prayers is that God would make me satisfied in Him alone ... that I would not need the latest material thing or a high paying gig, or a No. 1 single, or even just one more bowl of ice cream to satisfy me. The only thing I want to satisfy me (and the only thing that can) is Jesus ... and a real relationship with Him. Ask Him to teach you how to have a REAL relationship with Him ... an intimate one. Read Song of Songs to learn about the kind of relationship God wants to have with His bride, the church ... YOU! It may surprise you how much He loves you.
So, spend time with Jesus. Learn how to be satisfied in Him and Him alone. Be honest with Him in your prayers. Tell Him you don't know where to start, and He WILL help you. He always hears honest prayers.
Here are a few books you might want to read: The Great Commandment Principle (David Ferguson), The God Chasers (Tommy Tenney), and Glory (Ruth Ward Heflin). Get anything you can on the whole thing surrounding the Columbine murders. God allowed this for the specific purpose of drawing this generation in huge numbers to Himself. Read or listen to anything put out by Darrell Scott, Rachel's father -- she was killed in the shootings. She spent her whole life preparing for that moment. She didn't know she was going to die, but she wrote in her diary that she would be willing to give up her life for her friends (her generation). Many people are turning to God because of Columbine! God can and will use you in that way if you are willing to give up everything for Him. If you are not, you might as well stop right now -- unless you are willing to ask Him to give you that kind of passion. He will give it, if you ask. It WILL take some time, but He will. What an exciting time to be alive!
Also, ask God to give you a renewed desire to read His Word to the point where you lose yourself (lose your life to gain it) for hours reading and devouring it. Make a list of all these things and get serious. Read John, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Acts, and Romans for starters. Read a passage from Psalms or Proverbs EVERY DAY. Tell the devil he has no place in your life. You are the child or the Most High and are washed in the blood of Jesus! Determine to be one who is recognized as having BEEN WITH JESUS (Acts 4:13).
I hope this helps some as you seek the Lord with all your heart. Seeking God is not for quitters. It IS for the weak, however, for God loves to humble the proud and to exalt the humble. Forget the past and press on toward the goal of BEING who Jesus wants you to BE. Seek His Kingdom AND His righteousness. Let Him build your character. Then He will be able to trust you enough to give you GREAT things to DO for Him -- like making a BIG impact for His Kingdom through your gifts and talents.
For more info on Jeff Deyo's ministry visit his website at WorshipCityPraise.com