What all musicians need from us
If I were to ask you to describe your musical “diet” in the Christian versus secular debate, how would you respond? Some people would say they listen only to Christian music to keep their mind pure, others might say they don’t listen to much Christian music because it “just isn’t as good.” I say we should listen to both and do our best to know about those who write and sing the songs.
Why? Let me explain.
One of my tasks as a writer for Interlinc is to help create the “retuned” articles you find in the quarterly “Youth Leaders Only” Resource Books. As you may know, the purpose of these quick studies is to take a popular song on mainstream radio and offer youth/youth leaders the opportunity to explore the truth of God even though the writer’s message may not have been and was likely not pointing in that particular direction. For each assignment I’m given, I spend a little time getting to know the artist better through a little extra research. In some cases I have been encouraged and in others discouraged. I’m most often disheartened by those who once expressed positive values/lifestyle and decided to “sell out” those values to gain a bigger audience. Several Disney Channel kids quickly come to mind.
Each and every time I read the back story on different artists I am faced with a decision. Do I look at their values and write them off as “hopeless?” Do I add them to my list of people who should be the target of jokes and disrespect? Or, do I feel sorrow and compassion for them as people whom God created and for who Jesus also died?
Admittedly it is “easier” to make fun of and reject those who are continually putting themselves in the headlines. I will not list those people here. You know who they are and they have already had plenty of print.
As influencers, leaders and shepherds of youth in our churches and communities I offer a few ways we might purposely be agents of Christ’s love to all in the music community: Christian and secular. These are few of my ideas (add a few of your own in the comments section) …
- Pray for the artists and musicians God brings to your mind. You may hear or you may read about them or see a video. Offer a few words of prayer for their hearts, minds, actions and relationships. If they are in trouble ask God to bring people into their lives that would be an encouragement and help bring restoration. If they are doing well pray they would continue on the same path. Remember to pray for Christian artists. They, like we, struggle with temptation and are potentially one decision away from damaging their careers and families on a daily basis.
- Positively affirm the artists you see writing uplifting lyrics and living a healthy lifestyle. Don’t confine your emails or comments only to Christian musicians. Several years ago I noted one of my favorite secular artists was staying away from sexually oriented lyrics and not filling in space with an occasional profanity. I wrote him a note to let him know I was thankful and appreciated his good influence. Did he respond? No. Did it matter? No.
- Boldly defend the dignity of all musicians. Given what I mentioned in #1 may we be those who re-direct our own critical comments and the words of others toward words of prayer, sorrow and compassion. God sent His own Son for all of us.
Editor’s note: We ask some of the regular contributors to the YLO and MVL Resource Books to write occasionally for our blog. These men and women are active youth leaders who volunteer to write the Bible studies and articles that can help you use music and media in your ministry. I’m thrilled that they’ve agreed to share their ideas about the intersection of music, media and ministry.