Premier Radio gospel DJ BENNY KING asks gospel artists, "Were you sent before you went?'

DJ Benny King
DJ Benny King

"For you shall go to all to whom I send you and whatever I command you, you shall speak." Jeremiah 1:7b.

As a gospel artist, if God has called you, then he has a specific message for you, designed for a specific audience and for a specific season. When your ministry is concerned with imparting that particular message towards that particular audience and at the time set by him, then success will attend to your music ministry.

Today, a great many gospel artists decide that God has called them and they go before he has had the time to tell them what he wanted them to say. Consequently, they go off and sing songs that God never called them to sing, they sing before audiences they feel the most comfortable with and where there is a recording involved; they market it towards those who they think will want to buy it.

The trouble is, if what you are saying in your music ministry is not relevant to those to whom you are singing, then you cannot expect them to support you by going out and buying your material simply because you know them, or because they are your friends, or for whatever other reason you think there is that places an obligation on people to support you.

If my brother decides he wants to go into the business of building planes and he markets those planes to me or the people in my church, then he will struggle to make that business succeed. What he will need to do is identify whether he has a gift of building planes and if he has, then he must build those planes, identify the companies that need and buy planes and market his product to them whether he knows them personally or not!

Similarly, as a gospel music artist, if your ministry is to get off the ground then you must identify what God has called you to say and say it to those to whom he has sent you and you must be prepared for the possibility that those to whom he has sent you may not necessarily be the ones you feel comfortable singing in front of. And when you stand to sing in front of them, they may not necessarily like what you are called to say to them. This is why in the next verse of the chapter which I quoted at the start of this article, God warns Jeremiah NOT to look at the faces of the people to whom he was being asked to prophesy.

A gospel artist who has not taken the time in prayer and in God's presence to find out what his specific message is will end up doing cover versions of other people's songs. What he sings will then depend on who he likes; if he likes Richard Smallwood, then he sings his favourite Richard Smallwood songs. And yet he will find it difficult to understand why people won't come out to see him when he sings in concert. That, of course, is where bitterness and resentment come in and once that happens; his failure is only a matter of time.

The question you need to ask yourself is, why would anyone want to spend 5 or 10 coming out to hear you trying to sound like Richard Smallwood when they can hear the real thing on their CD players at home for free? People will only fully support your ministry when your ministry fulfils a need in their lives and if yours doesn't, then they may clap for you out of politeness when you sing, but at the end of the day, they will go and give their money to the artist whose songs scratch them where they itch.

You will never find out who is itching and where, until you spend time in God's presence determining his plan and purpose for your life and ministry. I suspect that the reason why many people are not prepared to do this is that they are afraid of what they may hear. They are worried that they may hear that God NEVER called them to sing in the first place, or they are frightened that finding out God's will may require them to step out of their comfort zone and into the unknown.

But as James Cleveland said in one of his most popular songs, God's way is the best way. Until you are prepared to find out what that way is, you will be setting yourself up to be another example of the great British success that never was. What God has not ordained, he will not bless and what he does not bless can never succeed.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.