In Faith, Life and Spirituality

Recently I had the privilege – with three others – of judging a Christian talent contest in a small midwestern town that I’ll call “Springfield” for this blog. I’m no Steven Cowell, but it was a lot of fun and all the contestants did really well. It was a tough choice, but the judges agreed on a winner – a female, solo vocalists who I’ll name “Melissa” for this blog. The next day, Melissa sent me a message on Facebook and, soon after, I replied and then thought this made a decent blog post. Read on!

THE FACEBOOK MESSAGE:

Grant,

This is “Melissa” from the “Springfield” talent contest. I wanted to say thank you and the other judges for choosing me as the winner. It was an honor to be judged by a Grammy-nominated, Dove award winner. I’ve been trying on and off thru the years to “break thru” to being “discovered” if you will. God has placed a dream in my heart and given me the gift/talent and called me to be in the music ministry. …. I really want to make singing on a grander scale my next vocation. I don’t want to do it in and of myself but want God to make the way. I cant just sit and wait for doors to open without being there to go thru them though. So I’m just sharing my heart and dream with you and asking for any help or advice you can give me. I would ask you to pray and see if God moves you to do anything to help me. Thank you again so much. God bless you and your ministry.

MY RESPONSE:

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for singing for us on Saturday. Your performance showed skill and confidence and, I am guessing, considerable experience. I’d like to encourage you to follow the passions that God has put in you. Use what he has given to serve others NOW. Don’t wait to be “discovered” and “break thru”. The dream must be to sing to the most awesome audience of all – the audience of One – God Himself, no matter how many people you are in front of you, how much recognition you are getting, or if you were getting paid or not.

Being human, you probably want the human audience for your singing to be larger – and your voice and presence suggest to me that you could do that and do it well. That’s understandable. I am the same. But this, I believe, is an indication that our motives are not yet purely for God. Realistically, our motives are never truly pure and will not be in this life, but we must recognize that and allow God to be reshaping us and our motives. As He reshapes us, we must allow Him to use us and our talents for His pleasure. I believe He is able to use us more to build His Kingdom as we allow Him to mold us and fashion us into the instrument He desires. Please remind yourself constantly that the real audience is God and those that you sing for are an opportunity to give, to serve and to glorify Him.

Please watch this short video I made about this topic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2VKI0kXggg&list=PL975E74351F5C6338&index=3&feature=plpp_video

This may not be the sort of advise you were seeking when you contacted me, but it is the best advise I can give. Thanks for asking.

On a more practical level (perhaps) I suggest that you find ways to serve others with your singing. Put yourself out there. Let church leaders know that you are prepared to travel to their services, meetings or other events to serve; leading their congregation to sing praises to God or do a musical item or two. Don’t charge a fee. Happily accept a gift. When I heard you sing, I imagined you singing with a jazz combo, perhaps doing jazz standards mixed with jazz-arranged hymns and spiritual songs. Something like that could be at clubs, receptions, restaurants and anywhere else live music is enjoyed.

It’s a funny old game – music as a career – especially a career in music that is intended to bring glory to God. I don’t feel like I have been “discovered” or “broken thru” myself. I’m trying not to try to be anymore – just to serve how best I can. I’m not even sure what that would mean anyway. Please don’t think of me as “connected” in the Christian Music Industry. I am not. But I know Jesus a little.

Chase after the dream of using your gift to glorify God and to serve others NOW. Don’t wait. And let that look like anything God wants it to.

Peace

Grant

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  • Reply

    Ouch! What a great post! But not for your glory… : )

    Thank you especially for the linked video. We met briefly at the Compassion Experience in July, and that weekend further solidified what God has been doing in our (with my wife) hearts for me to leave secular employment and seek His door into full-time ministry (like at Compassion or a similar organization). The problem with seeking employment in the Christian arena is similar to what you expressed about the C.S. Lewis quote. I keep finding myself mentally putting myself on a pedestal as I prepare resumes and applications. We are supposed to make ourselves “marketable” for the employment application process, but I never want to forget who put me in those experiences and gave me those talents.

    • grantnorsworthy
      Reply

      Thanks Robert. Yes, self-promotion for the follower of Jesus can represent a stark contradiction… “but for grace”!

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