So, I’m just going to be completely honest and transparent here.
I recently was prompted to record and publish some of my songs.
I raised a little money and did that.
After recording my EP I felt an obligation to just not sit on it but to get it out there.
So this dirty word crept into my life. “Promotion”
Something that I’m not used to, never done, and almost seems to me to be in conflict with “ministry” and especially in worship leading where I’ve always been taught to, and strive to be, invisible.
I didn’t get into this for fame, money, or to see something I did go viral.
So I’ve been swimming in strange waters. But I do feel that there is a reasonable amount of promotion to be done if we go through the trouble to write and record our music.
There’s just no sense doing all that just to have CD’s sitting in boxes or people not hearing/ streaming the songs, right?
So now I’m in this world where likes, views, followers, downloads, and streams are a thing and I’ve begun to check my “stats” regularly to see how things are going.
That in itself is an emotional rollercoaster.
“It’s UP from last week!” “It’s DOWN”. “I didn’t time that right”.
“Nailed it!” “What could I have done better?”
Now here’s the thing that ALL OF US IN MINISTRY can hear:
It’s easy to get focused in on these things.
Where the ministry becomes the focus instead of the REASON WHY we minister.
JESUS CHRIST and His Kingdom and Glory.
It’s a subtle shift and we don’t even know when it happened. But all of a sudden I’m opening my Spotify artist page before I open my Bible Study App. Oh I get around to the bible. But I’ve gotten my priorities out of line.
If I’m a pastor it can be, “How was attendance?” “How many people retweeted my sermon quote?”
A couple of weeks ago while I was in church listening to my friend preach, God spoke clearly to me on this matter.
The story in John 21 came to mind. I’ve heard this story since I was a child. To the point where I think I lost the meaning of it.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.”
They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?”
They answered him, “No.” He said to them,
“Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”
So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.
I think as a child I always thought that Jesus was just doing this to show them who He was.
But what God was showing me in the story that morning was this:
“You can toil and strive for things in your own strength. They are not bad things. But you’ve gotten your attention off of me and on to them. Don’t you know that I own it ALL! The FISH ARE ALWAYS THERE!
I can unload the blessings of heaven upon you ANY TIME that I WISH. It is mine to give and you are my child. I wish to bless you! But what I really want, is a relationship with you.
Don’t look at the fish (spins, streams, record sales, subscribers, followers) Those things can happen in an instant if it is in my plan for you. Remember that ALL THINGS work together for your good if you are my child and these are really temporal things that I've given you to use for My Kingdom.
I want to pour out the blessings of heaven upon you. But remember that some things that you think are "blessings” may not be blessings at all but a hindrance to our relationship.
Here is an old song that has a timeless message:
"TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
LOOK FULL IN HIS WONDERFUL FACE
AND THE THINGS OF EARTH
WILL GROW STRANGELY DIM
IN THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY AND GRACE"
"God, help me to always keep YOU in focus as the center of all things."