I have always been a Christian musician and a Christian writer. This is who I am and I try not to sugar-coat this reality. Even when I was in high school, I knew God had set me apart for a different purpose, and I remember my parents telling me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that Christ defined me as a person and artist.
Even though my career is based on my faith in Him, I am not opposed to presenting my material in a secular setting. I have spoken at mainstream school events and have provided entertainment for nursing home audiences and corporate events. I may not directly share my testimony or faith story at these times, but I keep my presentation positive and hint at the faith that is foremost in my life.
About a year ago, I sang for a visually impaired support group at a local retirement home. I sang a few of my songs that were less directed toward outright testimony but still conveyed a message. About halfway through the event, I felt led to play my cover of the hymn, “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” I knew I would be taking a risk at bringing faith into focus, but I prayed that someone would identify with the old hymn and make a connection.
I concluded the event and learned that there was still time remaining. To fill the last few moments, the director of the event asked me a few questions and got me talking about my books and music. She asked me about my disability and how I could have such hope in the face of challenge and adversity. She wondered what inspired me as a musician and writer as well, and I couldn’t help but smile. Talk about an opportunity! I told the group straight out that I had a relationship with Jesus Christ and that He was the reason why I sing and write. I didn’t give apology for this, and interestingly, the woman didn’t seem bothered by the breach of church and state. She thanked me for my time and I left for home.
A few days after Christmas this past year, I took the time to read through 1 and 2 Peter, and I was reminded of this verse in 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
I do not take this verse lightly. When it comes to my music ministry, I have made it my mission to reach the people in my audiences— to minster to those who are believers and to draw nonbelievers to experience the peace and joy that Christ has given me. A few weeks ago, I had an important interview in which I laid out my goals for my music ministry, and it was startling when I made the connection out loud. I do not sing or write for me. I sing and write for Him and for the people He places along my journey. He is my reason for all that I do, and I will not give apology if you ask me why.