In recent weeks many of my fellow artists and musicians on social media have asked for recommendations regarding churches and ministries to visit. Here are a few tips for artists who are looking for a church family.
If you have already found a church home, then you should continue to cultivate a strong relationship with your church family. If you have not, you should prayerfully look for a ministry and pastor that preaches and teaches the Bible in its entirety and presents the unaltered gospel of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Denominational labels can influence how the church chooses to practices their faith, but don’t let denominational differences stop you from joining a great church – unless those practices conflict with Biblical truth. Secondly, check out the culture and relational behavior of the members. Look at whether the church promotes love, family, personal connections and care for those outside the church. Are the members strong, happy, balanced, God – loving, and open to new people and friends? Are the pastors/ leaders walking the talk in their own lives and in their families? The Bible says that church leaders must rule their houses well. If there is clearly a spirit of division and unforgiveness in the families of leaders, then you can guess that spirit resides in the members as well.
If those qualifications are met, examine the church’s view of your profession. Do they understand your calling to play music both within and outside the church? Do they see music as being owned by the church, or owned by God? Does the pastor have a heart for artists and the role artists play in the culture? If the pastor is a musician (as many pastors are formerly or currently involved in music ministry), is he or she willing to nurture other musicians? Or, are they controlling and judgmental of the next generation of musicians? I’m blessed that my pastors at Metro Life Church, Steve and Mary Alessi, are keenly aware of how music and the arts can affect culture, and they encourage our team members to reach beyond the church walls with their gifts. This freedom is a blessing to a musician like me that once struggled with the notion of being called to a profession outside of full-time ministry.
I advise you to pray, ask lots of questions, and to seek out wise counsel when connecting to a pastor and his / her vision. But by all means, connect with one. Being a part of a healthy church family is essential to your spiritual health and your musical career.