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joshhmusic

Really confused about a particular life decision!

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Hello! Please excuse the long post, hear me out here...

Let me start with a little backstory so you know where I'm coming from. I produce music (honestly blessed with the talent but I try to stay humble about it), DJ, and I enjoy almost anything with business. Last year I made a decision at a church camp to be open to any career choice that God gives me. Ever since that week, I fell in love with music production (particularly producing and performing electronic dance music). I truly, honestly have faith that this is for my future!

Now I am at a huge fork in the road within my path with music. Should I pursue a career in secular music or Christian music? (Please hear me out) I have been putting some serious thinking, praying to God, and reading His word for the past half-year but nothing has come of it. Or I just haven't seen it yet. I don't know.

Concerning a secular music career: I understand that we are called to be separate from the world. But with a secular career, you have a much broader range of people to be your audience. With a much broader range of people following you, you can be a good Christian example in the world to people who are living carnally. A "light in darkness" per se. I believe God has blessed me with the boldness and courage to proclaim to the world that I am not afraid to be a Christian and I am not changing my mind. With a secular music career, you have much more influence over a broader range of people that need it. This is especially the case in the world of live electronic dance music, where a hedonistic lifestyle is extremely prevalent.

Like I said earlier, I have given careful thought to my next steps, I have prayed countless times over it, and I have consulted the Bible countless times over it. No answer has come of it yet. Or I just haven't seen it. A lot of the advice I've received is to "take the leap of faith and just go for it". However, I have done that with the decision to go all out for a career in being a DJ/producer for God's glory. I can't apply that to this fork in the road because I don't know which one to just "go for". I've been seriously, madly confused about this for months and I want to know which way God wants me to go. Any advice at all is so, so much appreciated.

 Thank you so much for your time, and have a blessed day.

 

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5 hours ago, joshhmusic said:

Hello! Please excuse the long post, hear me out here...

Let me start with a little backstory so you know where I'm coming from. I produce music (honestly blessed with the talent but I try to stay humble about it), DJ, and I enjoy almost anything with business. Last year I made a decision at a church camp to be open to any career choice that God gives me. Ever since that week, I fell in love with music production (particularly producing and performing electronic dance music). I truly, honestly have faith that this is for my future!

Now I am at a huge fork in the road within my path with music. Should I pursue a career in secular music or Christian music? (Please hear me out) I have been putting some serious thinking, praying to God, and reading His word for the past half-year but nothing has come of it. Or I just haven't seen it yet. I don't know.

Concerning a secular music career: I understand that we are called to be separate from the world. But with a secular career, you have a much broader range of people to be your audience. With a much broader range of people following you, you can be a good Christian example in the world to people who are living carnally. A "light in darkness" per se. I believe God has blessed me with the boldness and courage to proclaim to the world that I am not afraid to be a Christian and I am not changing my mind. With a secular music career, you have much more influence over a broader range of people that need it. This is especially the case in the world of live electronic dance music, where a hedonistic lifestyle is extremely prevalent.

Like I said earlier, I have given careful thought to my next steps, I have prayed countless times over it, and I have consulted the Bible countless times over it. No answer has come of it yet. Or I just haven't seen it. A lot of the advice I've received is to "take the leap of faith and just go for it". However, I have done that with the decision to go all out for a career in being a DJ/producer for God's glory. I can't apply that to this fork in the road because I don't know which one to just "go for". I've been seriously, madly confused about this for months and I want to know which way God wants me to go. Any advice at all is so, so much appreciated.

 Thank you so much for your time, and have a blessed day.

 

When you consider a career in secular music, do you have peace in your heart about it?   Also, would it be possible for you to produce for both secular and Christian artists?

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2 minutes ago, Debp said:

When you consider a career in secular music, do you have peace in your heart about it?   Also, would it be possible for you to produce for both secular and Christian artists?

Thanks for the reply, that definitely could be a possibility! And could you please elaborate more on the peace in my heart? 

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6 hours ago, joshhmusic said:

Concerning a secular music career: I understand that we are called to be separate from the world. But with a secular career, you have a much broader range of people to be your audience. With a much broader range of people following you, you can be a good Christian example in the world to people who are living carnally. A "light in darkness" per se. I believe God has blessed me with the boldness and courage to proclaim to the world that I am not afraid to be a Christian and I am not changing my mind. With a secular music career, you have much more influence over a broader range of people that need it. This is especially the case in the world of live electronic dance music, where a hedonistic lifestyle is extremely prevalent.

In the secular entertainment/music world, they control you.   Any attempt by you to demonstrate your faith will be met with contempt and your career will go nowhere.  You have to be willing accept that not only will not you not be popular, but you will have to hold to the same worldview as does the overlords of the entertainment industry.  

There  was a time when you could work in the secular entertainment field and stand for your Christian principles and people were fairly tolerant, but the world has changed a lot since then, and has become increasingly hostile to our faith, particularly if you are a faithful follower of Jesus and not a "cultural Christian" who can put their faith on the shelf long enough to produce a filthy song that promotes sexual immorality.   You must bow at the altar of political correctness and you must promote what they tell you to promote.  And you cannot say anything that would risk a public backlash, like criticizing the homosexual movement.   

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45 minutes ago, joshhmusic said:

Thanks for the reply, that definitely could be a possibility! And could you please elaborate more on the peace in my heart? 

Well, sometimes if you are making a bad decision, you will feel unsettled or a lack of peace inwardly.

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7 hours ago, joshhmusic said:

Like I said earlier, I have given careful thought to my next steps, I have prayed countless times over it, and I have consulted the Bible countless times over it. No answer has come of it yet. Or I just haven't seen it. A lot of the advice I've received is to "take the leap of faith and just go for it". However, I have done that with the decision to go all out for a career in being a DJ/producer for God's glory. I can't apply that to this fork in the road because I don't know which one to just "go for". I've been seriously, madly confused about this for months and I want to know which way God wants me to go. Any advice at all is so, so much appreciated.

 Thank you so much for your time, and have a blessed day.

 

There are good arguments on both sides. All I can give you is some thoughts to consider.

Yes, it's very difficult to live a Christian life in a hedonistic and hostile environment. But these days you could apply the same argument to almost any career choice: even Christian bakers have been prosecuted for sticking to their Christian principles!

Another problem (with regard to arts and entertainment in general) is that it's easy for Christian artists and performers to create a little Christian ghetto, which speaks only to other believers and doesn't challenge them. The quality often drops, too (most 'Christian' films are excruciatingly cheesy).

If you choose to work in the secular world, it's relatively easy to take the skills that you've honed into a Christian environment occasionally (or full-time, at a later date, as the Lord leads you). It doesn't work so well the other way round.

At the end of the day, what matters is what God is calling you, personally, to do. If He does call you to pursue a secular career path, He will give you the grace to walk that path. 

If you find yourself unable to make a decision, look prayerfully for opportunities to work in both Christian and secular jobs, and go for the first opening that comes up. God sometimes guides us through circumstances... that's how I found where He wanted me to be in my career.

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My opinion is that you need to work out what is going on in your heart.

The heart is like the hidden motivations within you that you cannot see unless you dig deep - pray to God this:

"Lord Jesus, please help me to know what my heart is actually saying about secular and Christian music pathways".

 

 

I think you will find that your heart wants a secular party but really needs Christian freedom in lifting your hands and finding true peace - use your talent to bless other Christian's as you follow your needs.

 

 

Taketh heed Jedi - only messing, but there is some important stuff here Bro 😃

 

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7 hours ago, joshhmusic said:

Now I am at a huge fork in the road within my path with music. Should I pursue a career in secular music or Christian music? (Please hear me out) I have been putting some serious thinking, praying to God, and reading His word for the past half-year but nothing has come of it. Or I just haven't seen it yet. I don't know.

In my opinion, it is about letting Christ shine through what we do.  The reality is that most effective ministry for most of us is simply being a light to the world in our day to day lives.  For many of us, that has included the influence we have on our colleagues in our chosen vocations and jobs.

There are "Christian musicians" who explicitly only play for churches, ministries, and Christian audiences.  I've heard rumblings that there are some infiltrators who just see it as a profitable genre and put on a Christian mask, but the people I've met have seemed to have been Christians serious about ministry and sharing what Christ has done in their lives.   Then there are musicians who are Christians who simply let Christ shine in their lives as musicians wherever they are playing.  A Christian friend with a recording studio pushed me toward musical excellence saying be an outstanding musician who is a Christian, not a "Christian musician" who sloppily plays Christian songs.

I've been a musician and involved mostly in churches and explicitly Christian bands since I was a teen (and I'm now in my mid 50s).   I'm a utility musician (keyboards, bass, lead and rhythm, a bit of banjo, and I've even hopped in on drums a few times) that plays an eclectic range of stuff from folk to country to pop to heavier rock to hymns and blues.  I got a good reputation as a musician in some mainline churches mainly because I'd improvise my own arrangements of traditional hymns on their old upright pianos.  I had a good Christian friend who ran a recording studio (and I did a bit of studio work for him) and learned much from him.  I'm currently on the board of directors of a small local Christian radio station.

For a number of reasons, God pulled me out of music for a number of years and I am starting to get back into it.  We just moved to a new town.  I could easily volunteer for the worship team at our new church and just do the same thing I'd been doing for years, but I've decided I'm going to do something different this time.  I spent a lifetime using my gifts only "playing for the choir" so to speak.  I'm now going to use them to go into places I never had before.  The first time I'd touched a piano in years was a center for adults with developmental disabilities where we were doing a therapy dog visit this year.  Over a period of 6 months, every 2 weeks during our visit, I'd just improvise on some chords and a couple hymns for about an hour for about 20 adults on an old out of tune piano.  I was at first out of practice and felt like I was thrashing around instead of playing, but it started to come back.   It's probably the most appreciated I've ever been as a musician.   I've now wiped the dust off my instruments, have them out, and have started playing them again.  I'm going to feel out the local music scene and see about establishing a presence there as well as getting more serious about my blues, jazz, and eclectic hymn arrangements to get into a range of churches.  As I get my musical chops back, I'm going to check out a couple local recording studios.   For me, it is now much more about relationships, sharing what Christ has done in my life, and just being a light in places that need light.

I see music primarily as a means of communication including story telling.  It includes some of the most beautiful, noble, and uplifting aspects of the human experience as well as the most base and vile.  There is instrumental music that is calming, uplifting, and stirring as well as that that is angry.   Music is a language that can eloquently express what is in someone's heart, both good or bad.  Becoming skilled at this language allows us to communicate in ways that speaking cannot.

Find some older (both physical age and in Christ) men who can be mentors, coaches, and sounding boards to some extent.  Most of us old-timers are happy to bore you with life experiences and hard-won advice.  It's easier to learn from other people's mistakes than to make them ourselves.  :)   If you could find a few Christians who have been involved in the music industry for many years, it would probably be very helpful to get their perspective on things and potentially learn from them.  My friend with the recording studio taught me quite a bit.  I also had a friend in another church years ago who had spent years as a sound man in a couple big arenas, I learned most of what I know about running sound systems from him.

In all of this, the most important thing is your spiritual walk and maturity.  It is our consistent walking with God that causes us to grow.  It is seeing His working in our life (and the lives of others) over time that causes our trust and confidence in Him to grow.  Make sure you are tied in closely with some good Christian friends that can provide a solid support structure.   It is out of our spiritual strength that we are empowered for ministry and changing the world around us.

 

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If you go secular pay close attention to the contracts and try to be sure about the freedom you'll have. It's something that can be negotiated to an extent. Definitely shop around and don't take the first option that comes up unless it's very much to your liking. I personally don't think it's impossible to be a Christian in the secular music industry. Just difficult.

To add to what Gandalf said about the most important thing being your spiritual walk and maturity, as you pointed out things within that scene tend very much toward hedonism. Make sure you're grounded enough in your own convictions that you're certain it won't drag you down. Best wishes, wherever your efforts take you.

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Thank you all so much for the brilliant answers!

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