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When living the life of a Christian musician, it can be tempting to focus all of your efforts on improving your music. It’s commendable to want to hone your craft, but music is far from the only thing that matters in this world. As a musician, you are more than the notes you play and the lyrics you write and sing. Looking beyond your skills, you should be molding yourself into the person you want to be. A Christian musician has to consider what message she is sending through her actions as well as her music. Even more important, you have to know what you stand for and why it matters. Taking a step back from the simple Xs and Os of being a Christian musician, we want to help you understand why your faith and beliefs are important.
How to Let Faith Guide You as a Christian Musician
There are a few simple things you can do that will help you become a better person of faith while still working on your musical talents. You’ll be surprised to find how each of these tips plays into both worlds.
Read the Bible
One of the best ways to grow as a person and deepen your faith is through reading the Bible. As a Christian, this is already something you should be doing. How are we going to claim a certain belief system if we won’t even read the book? This practice also has a practical application for musicians.
Believe it or not, Chris Tomlin was not the first worship leader. The marriage of music and praising God has been part of the Christian faith going back all the way to the early days of the Old Testament. The Book of Psalms gives us the blueprint for what musical worship looks like. The songs of David and other writers share honest theological questions, celebrate the miracles of God, and process the pain of this life through the prism of a holy God.
Not only does the Bible share this view of worship, but it informs all of our thoughts on God. Where else can we go to learn about Him and the truth, love, and freedom He promises us? Reading the Bible is not only advisable for future church leaders and worship artists, but all people who love music. Without reading the words of God, how can we hope to influence this world for His glory?
Learn About Hymn Writers and Worship Leaders Before You
When you were learning how to be a musician, did you just pick up the instrument and go to work? Or did you first try to emulate the artists who came before you by learning their songs and methods?
A Christian musician, even one who doesn’t plan on making a career in the genre of worship, can learn so much by examining the work of those who wrote famous hymns and songs. For example, Charles Wesley wrote more than 6,000 hymns during his life. While many are forgotten to us today, others are not. What made the latter memorable or popular? Did they unlock a certain truth about humanity or the sacrificial love of God? By looking back on famous hymns and the people who wrote them, we can find a way to tap into the themes and queries which speak to people. If nothing else, you’ll learn some beautiful music and hear interesting stories about previous heroes of the faith.
Find What You Want to Say as a Musician
A key difference between someone who makes music and a true artist is authenticity. When you are coming into your own as a musician, you should think about the messages you want to send and the image you want to reflect. Creative people do themselves a disservice when they never think about what they really want to say. A purposeless Christian musician runs the risk of sounding like a generic pop artist who just wants to be liked.
By crafting a personality and a theme with your music, you lend it a weightedness that feels like the real deal to listeners. On a personal level, you should strive for an authentic faith anyway. You do this by reading the Bible regularly, devoting much of your time to prayer, and seeking to do good for the glory of God. Many important themes can be gleaned while following this path, any of which can connect with the audience you hope to reach.
Fellowship With Other Believers and Musicians
An important way that faith is played out in our lives is through our relationships. It’s not just about who we hang out with, but how we behave in those interactions. Are you constantly making yourself the center of attention? Do you tolerate friendships just to see what you can get out of the relationship?
The Biblical definition of a true friend is someone who lays down his life for others. We’re not talking about jumping in front of a speeding car or anything that drastic. You can sacrifice yourself for others in a number of ways. As a musician you can partner with charities and church ministries in your area. You can also be willing to give your time to fellow musicians to jam out or provide connections that could lead to a gig. On a more intimate level, you can be the kind of friend who builds others up and helps them through their struggles. A Christian musician should be real in his relationships.
Be Disciplined and Balanced in What You Give Time to
Moderation is a big idea often ignored in the world today. There are so many good things that can have a negative impact on your life when not handled in moderation. Other form of this temperament are building discipline and making priorities. You’ll find these to be vital skills as a young Christian musician who is facing a hundred different options between school, church, friends, your music, and more. Building disciplines within yourself to practice your instrument each day is fantastic, but it’s not the only area in your life which needs structure. Create a plan to consistently read the Bible, pray, and nurture healthy friendships. Music is not going to be enough to sustain you as a human being, so be sure to find what’s most important to you outside of your art and feed that part of your life as well.
Why Does All of This Matter?
You may be asking yourself this very question right now. When we’re young, we rarely think about anything further out than the next day, week, or year. “I go to church every Sunday and I know how to play 20 different worship songs on my guitar. Why do I need to go any deeper than that?”
Faith is a bottomless well. There’s no point in your life where you can check off the box and move on with the next thing. It’s like the muscles in your body: either they get stronger as you continue to use them or you let them die from atrophy. We encourage you to keep your faith as close to you as possible, whether you want to lead worship at church or you dream about the day you open at Coachella. Your beliefs can give certain advantages to your music, as we have discussed above, but it’s about so much more than that.
Christ can give you hope on a joyless day, peace during the inevitable storms of life, purpose when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, and guidance when trying to decide the next big move in your life. That’s not even mentioning His greatest gift: paying for your sins on the cross. Being a Christian musician is a wonderful calling, one that we hope young people take seriously as they walk through this life. Pursue Jesus like he’s the only club promoter in town, like he’s the only prayer you have for the life you’ve always wanted in music. The good news is you’ll find He’s even better than that.
Camp Electric exists to connect young Christian musicians with artists and players on the radio today. Each year we recruit top-tier talent from the biggest Christian bands to teach in classrooms, provide industry guidance, and perform on stage for hundreds of the best up-and-coming musicians in the country. Find out how you can become our next student by clicking on the link below.