Lights Out: A musician’s outlook on faith and influence

I’m Allen, author of God and Gigs. I’m passionate about helping everyday artists excel in everyday life, by helping them strengthen their faith, improve their careers and deepen their relationships. You’re invited to join this community of faith-focused creatives, musicians and artists by signing up for my newsletter at

(Author’s Note: This post was originally written and posted in April 2012, under the blog’s previous format. It was slightly edited to make it current for new readers.)

Let me just say that I’m not a night owl.

I used to think I did my best work at night. But as I’ve watched more grey hairs pop out of my beard (having already shaved my head to stem the tide), I’ve realized that the only thing I do well late at night is start projects. Finishing them is another story.

That said, the life of a gigging musician constantly demands late hours. I’ve been fortunate to avoid the all night sessions that some recording artists are famous for, but a regular night gig seldom ends before 11pm, and can often last til 12 or 1am. This is a big issue when it comes to Sunday morning church services.

I never feel right when I’m not on my “A” game on Sunday. No matter what my gigging schedule calls for, I try to avoid the super late Saturday night gig because no matter what the profit, it doesn’t compensate for a weak spiritual connection on Sunday due to my physical fatigue.

Now you may ask why would I continue to work late night gigs in the first place. Well, beyond the obvious financial benefits and networking opportunities that come from being available for the majority of night gigs, I see a spiritual principle as well.

It’s funny to me that Christians often speak of being the light of the world, which is the name that Jesus gave the church in Scripture. But when the lights go out, late at night, many of us go to sleep while the world wakes up to celebrate.

Now,  I’m not advocating that Christians try to keep up with the club scene in an ill-fated evangelism tour, but as a musician, I have a unique opportunity to be a light where most lights of faith are turned off for the evening.

I often have to make a judgment call about whether my light is dimmed by the circumstances and environments I am asked to perform in. Nevertheless, I am comforted knowing if Facebook had been around in Jesus’ time, he probably would have been tagged in photos the local church folk would not have approved of. Yet he never lowered himself to the level of his surroundings. Instead, he elevated those around him.

That’s my prayer for my fellow musicians – to be lights that the world can respect and relate to when the other lights go out.

Portions of this post appear in the upcoming book God and Gigs: Succeed as a musician without sacrificing your faith.

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