I’m a Southern Gospel Music Artist. I realize to many, that might make me more special, or not as special as the next person. It depends on who you ask.
Many nights, the only thing between me and the people in the pews is a microphone, and I have recently been thinking about the perspectives from both sides of the microphone.
You see, I grew up behind the microphone AND in front of it. My first time attending a Southern Gospel concert was at the age of 12, at my grandmother’s church. Until that point I had never heard four parts sang at the same time. My whole world was literally turned upside down. How was this music, quite obviously the most wonderful music ever invented, kept from me for 12 whole years? I did not know how, but I knew that I wanted to be THAT when I grew up.
Isn’t it funny how, when a seed is planted, God will find a way to make your desires match up with His? I do not know how it happened, but for some reason, He has chosen to allow me to spend much of my life and time in some way connected to the Southern Gospel Music industry.
And then, a little over 4 years ago, God flipped my life upside down again when he transitioned my family from full time Southern Gospel Music artist to part time artist and full time pastoral work. In the past few years I have been able to remember again what it is like to sit in the pew. I have been able to experience others’ ministries again. To soak up their songs, their lyrics, their ministerial efforts again.
And now I realize that there may be a little disconnect between the people on each side of the mic stand. But if I may suggest: we are not all that different.
I realize that I have been so blessed to live my literal life long dream. I have been fortunate to take the stage on God’s behalf.
But what does that mean for me?
Does it mean I have some supernatural power because I stand behind the microphone? Do we who take the stage become exempt from certain things in life, simply because God placed us there? In an effort to be vulnerable with you, I will tell you this: there was a time when I thought so.
With age comes experience. And the finding out that you know less than one percent of all the things you thought you knew when you knew it all, right?
Well, here is what I have learned during my years behind the microphone.
•The responsibility is real.
We are entrusted by our Father, to lead you into worship. That is no small task and should never be taken lightly. The responsibility to choose music that reflects correctly on Biblical scriptures and carries the weight of a “sermon” if you will...it’s real. We labor over what we present to you. Every time we release a new album, we do not anticipate praises from the masses. Liken it more to giving birth, showing your baby to the world, and being terrified that everyone will think your baby is ugly. The struggle, the weight...the responsibility is real!
•Our families sacrifice.
I would be willing to say that all ministering families have, at some point, “missed” something because of their responsibilities. We have gotten creative over the years with figuring out how to be present for our extended families AND the people we are called to minister to. At the time I am writing this, my mind is on my youngest child, who will start his first day of Kindergarten tomorrow, and I will be elsewhere, ministering to other people. Am I bitter about that? Absolutely not. I have been around long enough to understand that there are things my family will have to do differently, all solely because of the calling of ministry on our lives. But it is a fact: my family will sometimes sacrifice because of that calling.
Oh, how I wish I could tell you that we don’t. And there was a season of my life that I believed if I was struggling, I was doing it wrong. However, there is one thing I have learned: there is struggle on both sides of the microphone. Satan is just as real on both sides. Trials, triumphs, blessings, sadness, happiness, and everything in between exist on both sides of the microphone. And while that might be tough to wrap our minds around, I have come to believe that it’s the most beautiful part of what I get to do. The fact that those of us on both sides of the microphone need the same grace, the same mercy, the same GOD. It’s a sweet reminder that the ground is level at Calvary. And that the people on both sides of the mic play equally important parts in encouraging, lifting, and loving each other. The singer and listener are one and the same. How amazing is that?
•YOU deserve our best.
I have no intentions of stepping out from behind the microphone. Two things I know: Jesus loves me and He created me to sing. I know my purpose lies there. And now, with a little more water under the bridge of my life, I can see that it’s not only MY purpose in the balance, but the people on the other side of the microphone as well.
So as long as God has entrusted me with this responsibility, this life, this struggle, this family...I will do my best to give those on the other side of the microphone my very unadulterated best.
After all, isn’t that what Christ did for all of us? Lord, I pray to always remember who lives on both sides of the mic stand. It’s me.