While driving around and introducing myself to some churches today in the Central Kentucky area, I was inspired to give some helpful tips for aspiring Christian artists.
The message is more important than the music
To an artist the most important thing is their own craft and the work of their hands. But to the listener or the viewer it means nothing until you give it purpose. Especially people who do not have a taste and interest as to why they should like your artistry. Don't get me wrong, I love the music and we aim to write good music. But if it's about that first then it will just get lumped into the same category as every other band out there just trying to "make it."
Be confident even if they say "no"
Truth is... you are going to hear "no" 99% of the time, especially in the American church today. This is an unfortunate reality because there is such a large degree of protection, skepticism and lack of trust in our society that trickles into the church. Quite frankly, we've probably heard more stories of bad encounters with guests artists than good. That is sad. But that doesn't have to be you and there is an uphill battle when it comes to these sort of things. Don't let it rock you or discourage you. The most difficult thing that we have to do in order to put the message out there is continue to learn to be a good sales person. I personally despise this part because I am not gifted at sales and I don't believe the evangelistic movement of the gospel of Jesus Christ should be relegated to that. However, what I am saying is be confident enough in yourself to not let it affect you negatively when someone says no, rather be kind and courageous anyway. You never know when that small introduction and attitude of kindness may circle around and help out in the future.
One on one is still better than social media
This is like asking, "Is it worth it to date online?" Eventually you have to meet someone. Why not make it part of the beginning of your connections. Yes, people want to see the details. And yes, social media is so very important in an age where everything is competing for our attention. However, social media can be so very impersonal. There is truly nothing like walking up to the door to someone's office or calling them on the phone that builds character in you. There are some out there that would say that you just need to be the artist and let the people come to you. That's amazing if you can do that and show how spectacular you are in comparison to the other billions of people in the world. I am speaking with a little sarcasm here. It's not that stuff like that doesn't happen, but I would rather speak to and encourage people who work, are passionate about their craft and don't treat others as less than they are. Let's just say this is more of lesson in how to communicate with people kindly. If you're intimidated talking to someone one on one, what makes you think that you are going to be able to talk/play in front of hundred or even thousands?
Follow-up at least four or five times
We follow-up with every connection at least this many times and I am so amazed at how many people never email or call me back. This also is sad. Don't be this yourself. If someone contacts you back via phone then you need to call them back until you reach them and preferably within a few business days. Email should be responded back to within twenty-four hours. I use Boomerang for gmail to help me with this. Follow-up after you play an event with a Thank You card and a special shout out with great imagery on social media. You may do well to be invited back to that place with steps like that. Then go over and above and continue to tell stories of your great experiences there with others. This was one of the primary reasons for us starting our YouTube channel. It gave us an opportunity to not only capture our moments and share them with others but also it gave us the ability to retell the stories we come across.
I hope this encourages you and blesses you in the work of the gospel as you go out into all the world and speak of His name in a great way. You can see my talk on this on our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/trentsiobhan. You can also help support our ministry as we share the name of Jesus everywhere we travel by clicking here.
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