I was brought up in a Fundamental Baptist church in the midwest. Music in which the driving beat was on 2 & 4 was “the devil’s music.” At one point, I was even told by my youth pastor that the old southern gospel group “Acappella” was bad to listen to because of the rhythm and syncopation they used. My family left the midwest for southern California when I was 15, and it was then that I was introduced through our new church to what many call Contemporary Christian Music. My world was blown open. Following high school, I led worship at churches, interned in a recording studio and played in a local rock band. I eventually headed off to a college in southern Illinois to study guitar. A year later, I transfered to a Bible school in Chicago to pursue ministry studies. It was there that I wrote my senior thesis on ministry to musicians.
At some point years ago, God impressed a compassion on my heart for the spiritual lives of musicians. They are an overlooked mission field. Traditionally, believers within the Church have embraced artists in a combination of three ways: (1) We’ve used artists like resources, (2) shunned them for their questions and/or art or (3) worshipped them for their talents.
Little has been done over the years by the Church to uniquely meet them where they are at as people in need of the Gospel. My experience was no different. My friend’s experiences were no different. And as I began to ask more and more musicians questions around their experiences with the Church, an unbelievable amount of hurt was uncovered. This broke my heart. Why has the Church so often seen musicians as idols, commodities or things to avoid? Why have we confused the art they produce with the fact that they are people on a journey just like the rest of us? Guarding our children from heretical or sin-glorifying lines in songs has sadly resulted in us ignoring the fact that artists need the Gospel just as much as we do every day. And we, God’s Church, are the means by which that artist will hear the Good News, if we are willing.
Many of us take the easy way out and avoid the artist and their art because we don’t like their art, and we have no idea how to share the Gospel with them. There is also a natural barrier between music listeners and the stage. It’s almost designed that way to keep the allure. And if we are honest, we like that. It feeds our idolatrous tendencies to worship attractive things other than God…things we truly know very little about. So we end up making no effort to build a bridge of love from our seats to the stage. Nor do we make the extra effort to take our next-door-neighbor-drummer a plate of cookies when he is practicing in his garage.
RYFO exists to make the Good News of Jesus’ love unavoidable in the music community, by helping followers of Jesus show and share his love with musicians. Will you join us?
JOIN US TODAY!