Opposite Ends of the Artist Spectrum

Last month I had two starkly contrasting artist experiences that left me with a mix of emotions and a call to prayer…

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It was Sunday night and Johanna was about to sit the kids down to eat as I said my goodbyes and began my drive out to a dinner party in Peoria, AZ (a northwest suburb of Phoenix). The party was being hosted in honor of my friend Micah and his band Wild Earth. The purpose of this gathering was to engage Micah’s process of dreaming about the Kingdom impact his band could have in 2017.

Over dinner Micah shared his story with the intimate group of us who were invited to attend the event. Micah explained the calling he felt from the Lord to pursue a different platform for sharing his life and music; far different than the national touring he had done with a band for several years. Micah went on to chronicle how Wild Earth emerged through his desire to pull back out of an active touring lifestyle and to enter into more of a grassroots and localized experience. Micah desires to allow the Lord to open doors for him. Micah also desires to work through his own fears and inhibitions and take steps of faith to direct people’s attention away from him and towards God with his music.

Once Micah finished sharing his story he invited us to speak into his journey. Creative ideas and words of encouragement were shared. Ultimately we surrounded him and prayed blessing over his endeavors to pioneer a different way of stewarding his talents as an artist; different than what the music industry would prescribe. I left the event excited about what the Lord had in store for Micah and brimming over with expectation for a growing number of musicians to embrace the same type of self-sacrifice and surrender that was evident in Micah’s story.

Two nights later the inspiring experience at Micah’s dinner party was starkly contrasted by the experience I had attending a concert in downtown Phoenix. I went to the Crescent Ballroom, a venue I had gone to once before. The previous time was to see Micah perform as a local opening act for a tour that was coming through town. This experience, however, was greatly different. 

I arrived early and found a seat to wait in until the show started. Once the concert began I made my way to the front. Throughout the show the lead singer made several references to his depressing lyrics and talked openly about how his lack of self-confidence clashes with his narcissism. His spirit was heavy and I could sense he was weighed down by years of hardship and disappointment. I drove home with mixed emotions. I was broken hearted for this artist and the life he was living off stage, while also feeling even more grateful for my friendship with Micah and for the experience I’d had at his dinner event two nights prior.

These contrasting experiences left me with a clear call to prayer. If you share my passion to see an awakening of faith, identity, and purpose among musicians then I invite you to pray as I am:

  • Pray for my friend Micah. Pray that the Lord would continue to lead Him into greater arenas of cultural influence, and ask God for a fresh outpouring of creativity as he works to complete his sophomore album with Wild Earth.
  • Pray for the RYFO Phoenix team I’m leading. Pray that together we can bridge the divide between the Church and the musician community, in order to birth a movement of hope within our city’s music scene.

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