Tuesday, July 6, 2010

     As a worship leader, I am constantly face with the decision of which songs to bring before the congregation.  I accept this as a huge responsibility knowing that many people get their theology from the songs we sing in church rather than the sermon.  I have to discern between songs that call a worshiper to come before God out of his brokenness and songs than call him to come out of discontentment with life.  There are songs that portray God as "the Father" and songs that make him out to be this cosmic genie who grants our wishes.  As a worship leader I also have to realize the competition I'm up against for these people's attention.

     While it seems like a horrible thought to have, here's a reality that we can't ignore.  Both Kids and Adults today would rather listen to Lady Gaga and Jay-Z than to Chris Tomlin and Darlene Zschech.  If you don't believe me, "check the Soundscan" (sales records and statistic).  Its not only the secular artists who are fighting for attention.  There are many Christian artists who are making headlines as top contenders in the media marketplace. 

     As a performer I have a very different persona though my message tends to be the same.  My message is geared toward the redemption of a generation who is building upon a foundation of sand.  in order to deliver that message I have to be skilled in my work, attuned to the culture around me, relational toward my target fan base, and and knowledgeable to the subject matter in my songs.  If I am too loose or out of touch with any of these elements, my mission fails.
 
     Lecrae and Da T.R.U.T.H. are both artists who were spawned from the 90's label Cross Movement Records.  They are second generation rappers from the label, but their message is no weaker than that of their predecessors.  They are artists who preach about the importance of missions work, both overseas and in the local community.  They preach against the top media artists who bring blasphemies to the airwaves, with counter-cultural and scriptural responses.  Some artists, like Steven The Levite, display biblical knowledge that would make your local pastor's eyes bulge.  There are many other artists in their circles; all who share different backgrounds and stories but all share one message: Christ.

     The Church is full of potential champions and teachers.  We just need to be able to spot them.  They need to come forward.  They need to be taught, trained, and sent out to help us use this modern day super power called entertainment.  The media is full of innovative ways to reach the lost.  If it weren't for some of these artists that I mentioned before, I would still be lost in religion, looking for a way to make God real.  I found truth through rap music.  Many others are looking towards rock, pop and country.  Some are looking to movies, some to the Internet, and others to TV, all of which are merely conduits for information, messages , and agendas.  The Prince of the Power of the Air is doing his Job.  Are we?

      While its true that anybody can write a song, its also true that not every song is good.  Some songs sound terrible and some songs are theologically destructive.  The latter usually comes from a lack of training and wisdom.  A lot of it comes from improper teaching altogether. 

 "(Reject!) the tradition of applaudin’ for all performers/ regardless of what he taught us or how doctrinally off it is/ (Accept!) that you might actually be a whack emcee or a Christian/ too young to be spittin’ gifted but lackin’ in wisdom/ (Reject!) any promotion prior to proper preparation/ in light of the fact your facin’ a greater condemnation/" -- Steven the Levite


     These lines are like a spotlight on the dark side of what I'm suggesting.  There are a lot of Christian artists that are not trained or who are promoted to positions of authority far too soon.  There is also far too much blind support for artists who just aren't doing a good job of performing with excellence or with lyrical content.  

     But all that can change if we are intentional about training artists and holding them accountable for their art.  I am just one of many artists in the Church of the Brethren who need to be trained in the word and affirmed in our gifts. We need your support to help make a difference in the areas that we were blessed in.  

     Unfortunately, artists aren't really good at making money, but there are people who are good at using us to make money.  Satan does his best to keep us down, but there are too many of us.  There are some of us who have God's full protection and anointing.  We are parts of the body that need your help just as much as you need ours.  If we can help reach the lost, help us to get there.  I personally would like to see an academy for musicians that also works as a record label (or something of that nature).  I think that together we could actually break into modern media if we can rid ourselves of the stubbornness of the older generations and the ignorance of the younger generations.

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