A weekend full of inspiration, a road to further personal challenge – contemplations after Song Summit 2012

Well.  Where to begin?  Song Summit 2012 run by APRA/AMCOS here in Sydney,  was possibly the most eye opening conference I have been to.  It wasn’t just the amazing guest speakers or the fantastic new muso contacts I made.  That was all fab.  And it wasn’t just the incredible performances by up and coming artists as well as seasoned professionals that made your hair stand on end with the eloquence of their lyrics. I will never forget those masters who have brought me to tears over the past few days, as I sat and heard their songs for the first time (such as Imogen Heap and Kev Carmody – my new favourite lyricists!)

No. It was more than all that.

For me, Song Summit was a moment in time that I will make note of – a time when my eyes have been opened up and my mind stretched, to realise that I have been living in a lovely but small bubble of influence and that there is so much more ‘out there’ for me to explore, to impact and to be a part of.

A little more detail may be of use here.

I’ve been ‘working’ in the church music scene for a number of years now and have been incredibly satisfied with the roles I have undertaken and with the level of influence I have been exposed to, and that I have had opportunity to create.  I have been more than privileged to participate in some wonderful and inspirational music and encountered the presence of God in ways that have really changed my life.  And I’ve been super blessed to watch others become transformed in those moments too.

But recently I’ve come to feel that there is more.  Not necessarily more for me to receive…but more for me to give.  And not just to give to those in Christian circles, but to anyone who desires to hear.  ‘He who has an ear, let him hear‘ comes to mind 🙂

I’ve realised that as much as I am satisfied with the path of my life, I am not satisfied with the level of impact I feel I am pursuing.  Why do I feel this way?

Simple.  Jesus says ‘Go out into all the world…’  ALL.

Now please hear my heart.  There are many who are called to serve the church and to minister to the church specifically.  I am one who is called to minister to the church and I actively pursue this mandate because I know that it is the heart of God to see all who love him become transformed.

But I’m also beginning to really see that it is so easy for musicians in the church, to kind of forget, or perhaps just not think about the opportunities that we have to reach those outside the church, with the music and the spiritual influence that this music has and impact their lives too.

I know that the Bible also says to be ‘in the world but not of the world’ and that many may feel that this is about being totally ‘set apart’ from worldly environments, however, my personal perspective on this (and no, I’ve not done an exegesis on it, but am speaking purely from my heart here) is that we are to be the salt and light that the world needs (the ‘world’ being those who have not yet encountered a personal relationship with God).

So, question: how can we be salt and light – be those who carry the Answer to the world – and not carry it out to those who’ve not yet heard or understood about a God who loved them first?

How will they ever know if we don’t go?

Sorry, got a bit carried away with the rhyme there, but you know what I’m talking about here.

I know this post is a longish one, but please bear with me.  My heart is to see the world revolutionised and I can see that much of what we have been called to do, as Christians, is being done by people who may not even know or understand who God is.  I do see Christians doing a lot, working hard to bring people into the Kingdom, to be a part of restoring the lives of others and in helping people find their gifts, talents and destiny in God.  So I am not suggesting that Christians are doing nothing.

What I am suggesting, is that there is more.  And this is where I am speaking more directly to those who are called into Creative ministries, who are musicians, singers, dancers, artists, poets, writers, etc.

I’m going to push the envelope just a little more here and suggest that we (yes, me included) are a lot more comfortable with being actively utilised within the safe confines of church life than in the thought of going ‘out’ of church circles and taking what revelation we have and giving it out to a world that could potentially crush our hopes and dreams.  I know that I have had a misconception for a long time, that it’s ‘dangerous’ out there, that I’ll get swallowed up by some big recording label shark and spat out once they are bored with my style.

I formally apologise to the music industry for holding on to such a devastatingly destructive mindset and for allowing that mindset to control the use of my gifts and talents and ultimately, the revelation that I have been given, being squashed by a religious and faulty paradigm.

And so all this to say, that I have come to some new conclusions as a result of my exposure to a myriad of amazing, supportive and genuine people at Song Summit.  I’ve been living in that bubble and even though I am still convinced I am meant to continue my journey within church communities, I now also see that I am wasting a very precious gift that is not in fact mine to hoard, but to give away to those who need it most.

So.  This is where I stand on the matter of being a worship leader and minister in church circles and also being a public performer and ‘minister’ of hope, love and restoration (because really that’s what being salt and light is in action) in the ‘world’ – I am both.  It’s not an either/or choice for me.  I know that for some, it is and I respect that.  I am in no way condemning those who do not feel called to minister outside the church.

But I will raise you to this same challenge – consider this: What impact might you have on the ‘world’  if you were to deliver, even in a covert style, the beautiful and supernatural gift that is in your hands?

My final thought for today on this, is that every person –  with no exceptions – in the world, is searching.  We are searching to know the answer to the most basic and simple of questions:  am I worth something to someone?  Am I worthy of love?

I have that answer.  You have that answer.  And for the record, I intend to make sure anyone I meet gets to hear it in some form or another, whether it be in my songs, my instrumental music, my poems, blogs or face to face.

How about you?

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