I was a folk-singer and rocker before I became a Christian, but I knew enough to know I had a lot to learn. So I asked my pastors for advice about a potential career in Christian music, at the same time I was also writing Evangelical songs and singing in dozens of Christian coffeehouses, church camps, street fairs, festivals, and so on, to a generally good reception.
But in those days, going from amateur to pro was a huge step that involved things like investing a year’s income in vinyl, etc. Plus I didn’t want to get out of God’s will for my life, and my “spiritual leaders” made it clear early and often that I would never really discern God’s perfect will for my life without their (albeit uninformed) input (a teaching that, unfortunately, still lurks in some hyperconservative groups).
Unfortunately, they never really “understood the question.” They did, occasionally, come across sensationalist books about how “Contemporary Christian Music” was really “of the devil,” and warn me against excessive use of backbeats or the key of D (long story).
Fast-forward 35+ years. Nowadays, I’M the “elder,” in a sense. At least I’m older. And young Christian musicians sometimes ask me whether I think they have a “calling to music ministry” or some such. I am brave about giving advice when it comes to setting up web sites, writing countermelodies, etc. But this is one question I will not answer. Why? Because it’s a question they need to work out with Jesus, and bringing in third parties who don’t know them very well muddies the water just as much as bringing in people who don’t understand how music careers work and have no intention of learning.
Why do I feel so strongly about it? Because I never once got meaningful, informed advice on the subject myself. And I know just how much I craved it, so I’ve got a pretty good idea how much some of these young musicians would like some authority figure to give them “an up or down vote” on their dreams.
But that’s not my call, remotely, and I’m very likely to cause confusion or disappointment or false hope, no matter what I say. Furthermore, there’s no Biblical reason not to try something like this and see how much work it takes and how much chance you have before you make any choices you can’t back out of easily.
For the whole story, please check out the SchoolOfTheRock.com article “What I Won’t Tell You.”