Someone suggested to me a long time ago to record an album. I think this person was trying to say something nice, to compliment me.
I have struggled a lot with the idea of worship leaders trying to make a living off of selling albums and doing concerts. I told myself I would never do that. I could never reconcile the commitment to pastor and care for people and the necessary self-promotion that comes with getting one’s name out there. I don’t like being on stage in front of people, so becoming ok with leading worship was a complicated mental hurdle. To then add the idea of self-promotion? Uh uh, no way. How does one even do that with a straight face? “You should listen to me. I’m really good.” “Buy my album. It’s awesome.”
Over the last few months, however, I’ve changed my tune about this slightly. I’m now looking at it less like, “Your life can be changed for $12.99 if you buy my album,” and more like, “This is something really special that I created and I would like to share it with you guys. If you could contribute to the making of this special project, I’d be so grateful.” Also, I’ve made the distinction in my head between local church worship leaders and musical artists who are Christians. There’s definitely overlap, of course, but I now see the distinction more clearly.
The reason I’m seeing things differently is that I feel like God (although, mostly unbeknownst to me) is moving me into a different direction of my life. I’ve stopped leading worship altogether at my church for several reasons, and I’ve started to write for the church in a different way. I have spent a lot of time writing, mostly unsuccessfully, congregational types of songs. But lately, I’ve been writing heavier, more fully disclosed kinds of songs that I feel Christians should sing throughout the week too. I think it’s important to sing really honest songs to God and to our friends and ourselves. Songs that talk about our frustration with the church, our struggles with doubt, or our anger about tragedy. And honestly, I feel like there are just things that need to be written and sung that haven’t been written about and sung. I’m seeing my pendulum swing from “I’ll write whatever will make you like my song” to “This song has to be written and sung whether anyone likes it or not.”
The undercurrent of doubt, hopelessness, and frustration that exists at one point or another in every Christian life needs to be given a safe space to be worked through and to be wrestled with, instead of being brushed under the rug with a catchy tune and pithy lyric. And there also needs to be a gentle, yet firm and directed guidance that points us to the living God. A well-balanced both-and.
So I’m working on it. An EP.
Now to figure out Kickstarter and how to healthily deal with the fact that there are currently a ton of Kickstarter campaigns that have been started for albums by friends far more talented and captivating than me. Sigh. #eeyore4lyfe