A few years ago, I had a group of friends who had one passion in life – songwriting. We all had a profound love for assembling verses and choruses along with the sensations we got writing the “perfect bridge”…and life was great. We called ourselves “Storytellers”. As a songwriter, you get the ability to craft words in such a form – such imagery that it can make people laugh, make them cry, recall a certain time in their life, or reflect on the future. It is powerful stuff.
Somewhere along the way, I decided to simply sing songs. My love for singing turned into a game and gamble for a recording contract, a label deal, and a road down the best-paved path of “good intentions”. Now, I’ll be honest, it was a fun ride and I made a lot of good friends. It isn’t uncommon to hear a new song by an artist on the radio these days and say “I know – hung out with – performed with – recorded with – wrote with – or am friends with him or her.” (Take your pick) And while I miss those days to a certain extent…the truth is – I longed for something different.
I had a long heart to heart years after those “hay-days” with my now good friend Ron Alley. We were sitting eating lunch one day and I told him about how I wanted to give up on everything secular because I felt the Lord pulling me to doing only works that glorified God. Ron smiled and reminded me of one very important lesson – he reminded me that everything we do should be to glorify God and that we can do it in the strangest of places. Ron went on to give the scenario of taking any given popular secular artist – and hearing someone from a church saying “you know, you should use your talents for God. Why not sing contemporary Christian instead?” His point was this – imagine for a moment if that secular artist did just that? Yes, it would be awesome to me (here goes my emo side) if John Mayer became a contemporary Christian artist…or a worship leader, for that matter – but what if John ended up taking his life in a different direction instead? What if John Mayer did the music he did today – but led his life as a Christian and…even for a brief moment…let it be known of his faith and God and spoke – even briefly – about what his faith meant to him.
Now, what if I did the same? What if I didn’t give up on my secular music? It was a point well taken……..
….but I don’t think for a moment that Ron was saying “this is what you need to do – definitively!” You see, I’ve thought very seriously since that day about breaking back in to that world again. I just cant shake a stirring inside of me for music, singing, and songwriting. Tonight, thou, everything in my being came clear – I want to sing, write, lead, and live for God.
A few years back, I finished a song called “Masterpiece”. It is a song that contains the spirit of what Ron and I talked about – letting God’s light shine in all that we do…even if it isn’t “Christian”. After finally finishing a much-needed second verse, I played it for my wife and asked for her thoughts. We talked for a bit and then I told her “you know what I want from this song? I want just one person to hear it despite the number of times God may allow it to be heard and say “I want to give my life to the Creator!” I can’t think of any greater joy than this!
I find more and more each day that I have that longing to help foster a spirit of Worship in others. As I do…it allows me to worship in every area of my life. The same day I wrote “Masterpiece”, I was contacted by an A&R consultant about the possibility of using one of my secular songs in a movie. (Where were the A&R’s back in the day when I would have begged for them to call?) I told Crystal about it – but couldn’t find joy in it. Why? Perhaps its the fact that I have always been around some for or fashion of leading others in worship. I was probably nine or ten years old when I led my first church in worship. I grew up – did “my own thing” despite God only to return years later to be a Worship Pastor. Then, another hiatus and a few months of saying “No, God…I can’t” only to have God tug at my heart to join my current church’s worship team. I couldn’t have been happier to return to that love.
A little later, I thought – “I really need to write more songs. I haven’t done that in who knows how long” and the reality started sinking in that I wanted to stop with all secular writing – and write the music that means most to me – the music that led, in part, to my finding Salvation. It wasn’t long after I had pretty much decided to give up all that was secular in my music offering that I got an invitation to join my church’s songwriter’s group. We have an amazing wealth of talent in our church – and I count it an honor to be a part of them…but I don’t think it is a mistake. God knows where my heart is. I want to tell God’s story. I want to be a “Worship Storyteller”. I want to start “warming up” now for the day that I get to sing like the angels in Revelation who couldn’t seem to stop singing for God.
Who knows where this may take me. I may write commercial or I may write just for personal worship. I may write worship songs for our church or I may write songs worthy for play on a Christian station. All I know is that I long again…and it feels GREAT! I’d return, at this point, to being a Worship Leader/Pastor in a heartbeat…or I’d be just as content to write a song for others to Worship Him with. Regardless of the path I walk as I find where God is leading…a few things are sure:
I want to sing, write, lead, live for God – and tell God’s story.