God's Purging, Servants Emerging
The Business of Christian Music in Changing Times
There was a recent article in Christianity Today that has a lot of people talking: Music in Recession
This article basically said that the Christian music industry as we know it is dead. That scares a lot of people, people who's job it is to make Christian music. The article mentions that the workforce in Christian music has been cut in half in the last 10 years. Before I make my comments, I have to publicly profess my gratitude for the job I have and the work I get to do. However, I think God is purging the business models.
I think the Christian music industry has followed the model of secular music too closely. It is really easy for us in this line of work to get caught up in the business and not the ministry. That is not to say that a laborer is not worth his wage. There is too much stealing going on among Christians. Because it's ministry does not mean people should steal from the ministers. (Sorry, I'll get off of my soap box now)
The focus on the ministry is a focus on prayer and the prophetic role of the artist and songs. We have to be rooted in the gospel and, as Catholics, in the prophetic acts that are the sacraments. If our songs are prophetic, then they must be rooted in THE prophetic acts. I pray that is what Spirit & Song is doing. We're not a big label in the grand scheme of things; I don't think we're called to that. I think God wants us to be servants, not the served.
The one among us who has had the greatest reach is Matt Maher. Believe me, he is not getting rich and his life is not glamorous. There is no glamor in schleping gear through airports; waking at 4am to minister across the country that evening and ministering with a servants heart when all you want to do is rest. He and I both have very modest homes. Tom Booth, Sarah Hart, Steve Angrisano, Jesse Manibusan, Josh Blakesley, Curtis Stephan, and the rest of the gang are on the road constantly. It is the power of the gospel that compels them to go out. I think I speak for all of us when I say we would all want radio play, CD's in Wal-Mart and Target, tours with Third Day and better record promotion. But maybe God has us right were he wants us. We are in intimate proximity to God's people. We are parish musicians, retreat leaders, songwriters ....servants.
We are not perfect, spotless lambs. We are just people that I think God wants to use in the way He wants to use us.
I think I am at Spirit & Song because I prayed the Prayer of Abandonment one day and really, really meant it. Since my buddy Tom Booth set it to music, it seems like an appropriate song in light of the changing music industry and economy. Let God's will be done in me and in all his creatures. Peace!
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