This past weekend I had the joy of speaking on various topics at the Christian Musician Summit in Overlake, WA, near Seattle. It was a very encouraging time, and I met quite a few people who were currently using Worship Matters with their worship team. Great hooking up with old friends and making some new ones.
I mentioned to a few folks that I’d be posting my message and workshop notes on my blog. So that’s what I’ll be doing over the next few days.
In the opening session I spoke on “What is a Successful Christian Musician?” I chose that topic because I know that when we attend large conferences led by highly skilled musicians, we can be tempted to think that we should model our local church ministry after what we see at the event. I wanted to start the conference by acknowledging that most of us struggle in this area, and pointing out that God has a different way of measuring success than we do.
I drew from Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14-29 to highlight three characteristics of “successful” Christian musicians.
1. Successful Christian musicians don’t all look the same.
2. Successful Christian musicians are faithful to grow the gifts they’ve received.
3. Successful Christian musicians seek to please the audience of One.
Under the last point I shared that ultimate success can’t be measured by comparing myself to what others are doing or achieving. It doesn’t have to do with how many people know my name or how much money I make. It doesn’t have to do with my position, whether I’m the leader or assistant or regular or alternate. In fact, true success can’t be fully determined in this life.
We won’t know how successful we’ve been until the last day when we hope to hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Of course, we could never hope to hear “well done” apart from the Savior who bore our sins on the cross, endured the penalty we deserved, suffered the wrath of God in our place, and rose triumphantly from the grave, reconciling us to God through faith in his blood.
His success has now become our success. He is our life, our reward, and yes, our success.
You can download a copy of my notes here.
Thanks for this, Bob. It’s a great reminder that we have a burden of responsibility to cultivate and grow the gifts we’ve been given, whatever the context we have to exercise those gifts. This is true for people whose gifts are great and small. How sad it is when gifted musicians coast on their talents and don’t invest in making them grow. How sad too when musicians spend their lives trying to live someone else’s script, living with jealousy and envy at what they don’t have rather than cultivating and celebrating the gifts they do have.
Harold Best says of Bach that he never set out for greatness, but he spent his life “getting ready for Sunday.” In the process, he became one of the West’s greatest composers.
May the Lord give us an appropriately small vision – to love our churches, cultivate our gifts, and glorify our Savior.
Thanks for pointing the way, Bob.
If you love Him, feed His sheep.
Hello, these notes are awesome! Where can I access more notes like these? :)
Miriam, just poke around on the blog. It might save time to click on the category to the right, “free stuff.”
After 15 years of being a music director honoring God with all our mind, spirit, strength, soul and excellence are factors of success. Plus fulfilling the great commission. We have got to get out those church walls and enter in the world reach an bless those with our talents.