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Bob Kilpatrick - The Next Big Thing

  • Updated Feb 01, 2002
Bob Kilpatrick - The Next Big Thing
courtesy of {{Christian Musician}} Magazine

There was a young keyboard player who joined his first band at eighteen. He played before world leaders, was widowed at 35, remarried at 36 and at 38 became a music teacher in a school where he spent the rest of his life. He died when he was 65 and never saw his considerable body of work widely accepted. It wasn't until Felix Mendelssohn revived his "Passion According to St. Matthew" that Johann Sebastian Bach's genius was revealed.

There were four young Fabs who formed a band, conquered the world and broke up by the time they were 28 years old. What next? Where does one settle when one has stood on the peak? What's a Beatle to do?

I have several friends, Grammy and Dove award winners, who are now church music pastors or record company employees. They had their fifteen minutes of fame. They stood in the warm light of a festival stage and received the applause of an adoring Christian audience. Undoubtedly, each of them has wrestled with the desire to remain "on top" and the inevitable downward trajectory of every upwardly-shot career. What does one do after the applause dies away? Why is it that lives and careers are under the sway of some kind of spiritual gravity that forces everything that rises to eventually fall? I have been gripped by that fear of falling. Perhaps you have been, too.

Here is a little description of the career path of a successful Christian musician. I have eschewed the strict formality of a scientific approach in favor of laymen's language (for the drummers). Find yourself in these words:

"An Up-and-Comer"
"The Next Big Thing"
"What's Happening Now!"
"This album's not as good as the last one"
"Weren't You Somebody?"
"My Dad Likes Your Music"
"I Don't Care Who You Were, Mr. Bigshot..."

Of course, the thesis I am attempting to prove through humor is this: every career has a trajectory.

There is an afterlife to fame. It can be good or it can be bad. The story is told that toward the end of his life, Bill Haley would approach people in restaurants and tell them who he was, that he did "Rock Around The Clock." I once heard {{Michael W. Smith}} say that he didn't realize when he composed "Friends" that he'd be singing it for the rest of his life. We all laughed, and then he went on to say that he still liked the song, so singing it constantly wasn't so bad. I know how he feels. I will be remembered for a song ("In My Life, Lord, Be Glorified") that I wrote when I was 23 years old.

How does one gracefully ease into the afterlife of fame? How can we avoid the utter embarrassment of being middle-aged men trying to appear twenty years younger, adopting styles that look absurd on the squarer jaw, thinner hair and thicker belly of the forty-something? It is not necessary for a life to be over just because a music career is. There is a way to live with dignity and contentment without always reclaiming past accomplishments. Keep these things in mind.

Remember the importance of One. One person is as important as any other one. No kindness done to one soul, far away from the attention of others, not trumpeted in press releases and media appearances, is ever forgotten in heaven. Neither, of course, are the things we do for our own ambition, need for approval, spite, or money, no matter how finely dressed our motives may be. God, who sees all, rewards all. God is watching us, but not from a distance. He is here, now.

Remember the importance of Now. This moment is all we have. Jesus called himself the "I Am," not the "I Was" or the "I Will Be." He lives in the present and calls us to do the same. Remembering too much throws us into our past. Planning too much casts us into our future. And both take us out of the Now. There is no other time. God calls us to look for Him and be with Him now and here.

Remember the importance of Here. You can't be anywhere else but here. If this is where you are (and it is) then this is where God's purpose awaits you. Can you imagine God looking at His watch while you talk to Him, thinking about another appointment He has, wishing He were somewhere else? Haven't you been disturbed by the person who is constantly looking over your shoulder in conversation as if to say, "there is someplace I'd rather be." There is no place you can be other than where you are. Make the most of it! Use it to glorify Him.

Remember the importance of Him. Though others may applaud you now, they will surely turn to the next "big thing" when it comes along. Jesus will never leave you. He will always be watching. And if you do the right thing, one day He will say to you, "Good work! Come on in and join the party!" And that, dear ones, is the greatest afterlife of fame.

Bob Kilpatrick is indeed the composer of "Lord Be Glorified." His newest recording, Find It Here (on the TPG label), is available in Tower, WalMart, Virgin Stores and He is available for speaking and concert engagements and welcomes your correspondence at PO Box 2383, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, Visit the website: .