After having a weekend home, which is very unusual, I found myself scanning the program guide searching for something of value to watch. Since my choices were very limited, I ended up on the various music channels watching the “Behind The Scenes” stories of the popular bands in the rock and country genres of music.
Just a few minutes into their stories and I couldn’t help but notice the wide difference between how they operate within their industry versus how the Southern Gospel music industry operates. A HUGE difference…
Upon hearing how many of them broke into their respected fields, they were all careful to mention the more popular bands of their day who came along side of them to help get their careers off the ground. The artists who were in demand during those days were taking the lesser known artists and paying them to travel as their “opening act” to give their music the exposure they needed.
An amazing thing happened. When that lesser known artist made it to the headliner status, they felt as though they needed to give back as well. So they in turn, picked an “opening act” that needed a break into their industry. This is a process that continues even today.
Well… except for the “Christian” music industry. The one industry that is supposed be about “helping our fellow brother”. Instead of trying to help the newcomers into this industry, we in turn operate with pride and arrogance that allows the enemy the foothold he needs to control our hearts and our decisions.
So instead of helping and giving groups a break, we have the so-called “headliners” who want to have full control so they can monitor who makes it and who doesn’t. Instead of giving back to foster an atmosphere of growth for our industry, we make it as difficult as possible due to our lack of confidence in our own music.
We are so afraid that someone else might have a little more success that instead of cheering them on, we crush their dreams. We try our best to keep them off the big stages in hopes that they will just go away. We make decisions within our industry to make it even harder for these talented groups to make an impact. And then we just sit back with our touring buddies and laugh into thinking we have full control.
Artists who think and operate this way do so under the guise that they have “paid their dues” and they “deserve” to be where they are. It’s amazing that George Strait has paid his dues but instead of trying to continue his legendary career, he has accepted that his time has come and gone. Instead of crushing the dreams of other artists, he gladly sits at home and enjoys the success he obtained during his moment in the spotlight.
I don’t see Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw or Faith Hill trying to vote out other artists in an effort to keep the Carrie Underwoods and the Chris Stapletons from being able to excel with their brand of music. I never hear them crying that they deserve to continue to sell out large arenas and they deserve all of these accolades simply because they have paid their dues. Since when do you feel that we all owe you something?
And just because you have many years in the southern gosel music industry riding the coat tails of the real artists doesn’t mean you have paid your dues. If you want to compare years in the business, there are plenty of singers who are far less talented than the headliners but have more years invested into paying their dues.
So that means it is not based on time but based on other contributors that causes the fans of this music to support your work. One is talent and the other is anointing. I will deal with both in separate posts later but let’s just accept that fact that your time on the road, riding the bus that belonged to the real heroes of our industry does not qualify you to become the know all, be all of this industry.
Instead of shutting the doors to other artists and thinking that fans only want to hear you and your group, why don’t you allow God to use anyone He wants to use. Just remember that other artists had to move out of the way to make room for you. And maybe it’s time for you to start moving out of the way to make room for the next generation of artists who is going to keep this industry alive. That is, if you don’t get your way and kill it.
Proverb 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
That’s not my words but words from a wise man who knew all about getting too big for his britches.
You can laugh off this post and you can claim your man-made superior status but you will not have the final say. That my friend will come from someone you can’t fool. He sees you on stage each night claiming to be a representative of His kingom. And He already knows the decisions you have made behind closed doors. He not only knows your decisions but He will judge us all based on the motive of our heart. (Jeremiah 17:10, Proverbs 16:2)
You don’t have to have a drinking or a drug problem to be considered a sinner. Just because your sexual preference is not the topic of discussion on many buses doesn’t mean you are the perfect child of God. While others deal with addictions, you are dealing with pride. And while you are cutting down those who may not live up to your standards doesn’t give you the right to take on the role of the Holy Spirit and judge or convict the artists that you don’t like.
Matthew 7:22 says that “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
Allow me to update: Many will say to me on that day, didn’t we travel up and down the highways singing about your name? Didn’t we crawl on our buses and “pay our dues” to tell others about your Son? Didn’t we record great albums that we made available at a discounted price once we recorded our new project?
And he will say to many southern gospel music businessmen and woman, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
It will be a sad day when we get to heaven to find out that the talented and anointed southern gospel artists who never got a chance here on earth will have a front spot on the biggest stage of them all in before the throne of God. Because there, it will not be based on what man thinks but the heart of worship that God sees.
Let revival hit this industry. Not for the sake of #1 songs and ticket sales but for the hearts of our artists to become more like that of Christ.