I’m excited to share this post on the subject of Intent and Permission as it pertains to musicians, their music and their audience.
I’ve always believed personally in what I am about to share, but was excited recently to have my views confirmed by another writer, almost as if I had written it myself.
I will get more in-depth, but to begin, I share the concept simply: The intent of the musician and their music is hugely relevant to the effect that music has upon the audience. Also, and even more important to me, is AUDIENCE UNDERSTANDING of the musicians intent IS VASTLY IMPORTANT regarding said audience GIVING PERMISSION TO THE ARTIST, allowing the audience to FULLY RECEIVE from the intent of the musician.
Let me make a statement: I’ve been frustrated in the past as a musician when my intent is not received by an audience because the audience comes in with preconceived expectations, whether conscious or subconscious.
Most of these scenarios occur in the context of me leading a church congregation. I have led worship in literally hundreds of churches over the last 15 years and this has given me a unique perspective to voice what I am sharing here. The reality is that American “church culture” does not tend to lend itself extended silence, waiting and contemplation in their worship services. I’m not writing to criticize this. I’m pointing it out as a reality in the church.
So, moving forward… I am, as a musician, drawn to lead people to places in the Holy Spirit that require time, silence, contemplation, waiting in order to RECEIVE what I, from my own experience, have enjoyed. I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE what is required to experience facets of God that cannot be experienced in 18 minutes singing straight through songs.
My journey as a musician began in tiny piano practice rooms at Christ for the Nations in Dallas, TX. I spent a year isolated in these small rooms with God. It was, what I call, my “sheep field.” I was, like David in the sheep fields, ministering to the Lord and being drawn to incredible encounters.
Ok… I’m just going to skip a lot of thoughts and get to a point here…
I have been to incredible places in the presence of God alone with Him. God has called me to re-create these type of encounters for others…
WHAT THIS REQUIRES IS TRUST… Trust from my audience TO BE LED BY ME.
MY CHALLENGE: My challenge is that I am LEADING PEOPLE TO UNFAMILIAR PLACES IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD, OFTEN WITH UNFAMILIAR SOUNDS.
Here is what I am realizing as a prophetic musician who desires to take others to the places I have been with God… IT REQUIRES THEIR TRUST IN ME… IT REQUIRES THAT THEY BE WILLING TO GO TO PLACES THEY HAVE NOT BEEN LED BEFORE. IT REQUIRES THAT MY AUDIENCE UNDERSTAND MY INTENT AS A MUSICIAN… IT REQUIRES THAT AN AUDIENCE GIVE ME THEIR PERMISSION AND GIVE THEMSELVES PERMISSION TO GO TO THESE PLACE TOGETHER…
Unfamiliarity & Fear… These are the two things that will stop YOU AND I from going to these places in God TOGETHER.
If I try to lead you to a place in God that you have not been familiar with, FEAR COMES TO THE SURFACE… You begin to question my leadership. You begin to question my intent. You begin to wonder what I am doing, why I am using that vocal effect on my mic, why I haven’t said anything for a WHOLE 60 SECONDS.
If I led worship like a NORMAL WORSHIP LEADER, we’d both be safe… I’d get the job done and you’d never feel uncomfortable…
But here is the thing… That’s boring to me and MY CHALLENGE is… I don’t understand why YOU AREN’T BORED YET. I don’t understand why you don’t want to TRUST ME to lead you to VIABLE TRULY SPIRITUAL PLACES IN GOD THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST AND THE HOLY SPIRIT that I have experienced for years and years.
Listen church and musicians… I really hope this post get out there because I know many will identify with it…
BUT IF NOBODY CHALLENGES THE STATUS QUO… IF NOBODY TRYS TO ENLARGE THE PLACE OF THE TENTS… We are never going to grow. We are never going to mature more fully.
SO WHAT IS MY INTENT?
As a musician, my intent is to LEAD PEOPLE to the still waters spoken of in Psalm 23. My intent is to lead people to experience and Isaiah-like encounter with the throne room of God. My intent is to see people refreshed and healed in the presence of God under the sound and word of God.
MY INTENTIONS ARE TRUE. MY INTENTIONS ARE PURE.
I’m not going to LEAD YOU like your worship pastor does on Sunday because I AM NOT TRYING TO GO TO THE SAME PLACE HE/SHE IS GOING. You have to be willing to GIVE ME PERMISSION to lead you… Otherwise we will never go where God desires us to go TOGETHER.
THE PROMISED LAND…
As a musician, I have often felt like Joshua. Joshua went and SAW THE LAND, but when he tried to LEAD OTHERS to what he had seen, they rejected the notion of going there.
I can’t imagine living for 40 YEARS with a people who denied obtaining WHAT I KNOW IS THEIR INHERITANCE.
So friends, I am letting you in on what it’s like to be me. If you view me as arrogant, I am sorry. This is not arrogance.
I, like Joshua, HAVE SEEN A PLACE. I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT WE, AS THE CHURCH, CAN GO THERE TOGETHER. But it’s going to require you to come up OUT OF THE FAMILIAR.
GOD RAISES UP FORERUNNERS to run ahead, check things out, report back, get other excited SO THAT THE TEAM CAN ADVANCE.
I don’t have 40 years to waste.
So I am asking YOU FOR PERMISSION with all the music I’ve ever led and recorded and with all the music that is to come.
I am asking you, “Will you TRUST ME?” Will you allow yourself to believe that I, and many prophetic musicians like me that God is beginning to bring out of obscurity, have been chosen by the Lord TO LEAD PEOPLE TO PLACES THEY’VE NEVER GONE BEFORE.
It requires trust. It requires patience, time, waiting… BUT THE REWARD IS WORTH IT.
I think what I have gained recently by this confirmation regarding intent and permission is to make my INTENTION MORE FULLY KNOWN and to BEGIN LITERALLY ASKING PEOPLE for their permission to lead them… Not only does this grant me their permission, it also activates in the audience to engage where I am leading.
What I am discussing here is not going to work in every situation, I understand that. I am excited about creating more venues that give the time to go to places I am talking about.
We are going to be starting a “retreat ministry” facet where we lead people musically to contemplative places in God. We are really excited about this. Some of these retreats will be for an evening, some for a day… I will be sharing about this more soon.