Chapel Service at Branson Gospel Music Revival
(This is the message that I spoke on Wednesday morning at the Branson Gospel Music Revival, Tri-Lakes Center. Of course I shared some comedic moments and a few songs before speaking...)
Because I so believe in ministry that reflects Jesus 24 hours a day, I am often asked about stage presence, countenance, and delivery. In while this is of utmost importance, there is nothing that can be translated on stage until it's first incubated with passion. I’m talking about the type of passion that comes from deep within, where grace abounds - behind the curtain or in your private world. As frank as I can be here, quit trying to fill your calendar with gigs and start filling your heart and soul with Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Ask God too to give you creativity in ministering to churches and events. As the opportunities for singing venues decrease, let me assure you that the need for valid ministry and connection is on the increase.
John C. Maxwell (internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, pastor and author, selling over 18 million books) states in his new book, “Everyone Communicates Few Connect” “Motivated people are 87% less likely to leave an organization compared to the unmotivated. It’s pretty obvious, you know how much more you will give if someone inspires you."
John says there’s a kind of formula that could be called: the Inspiration Equation,
“What they know + What they See + What they feel = Inspiration.
When these three factors come into play and a communicator is able to bring them into alignment, it creates a synergy that inspires people. And from that place of inspiration, you can often lead people to take action."
There are a few key elements that have worked for me, that to this day, I have to say - has been an amazing discovery.
1. People need to see your conviction
2. They need to see your credibility
3. They need to see evidence of your character
4. They need to feel your passion for the subject AND for them.
5. They need to feel your confidence in yourself and for them
6. They need to feel your gratitude for them.
And the best part of what connectors do: They live what they communicate.
You are your message. That’s a connector. The reinvention process - starts today.
Page 59 of "Everyone Communicates Few Connect"... I will never forget my dad’s hands. He was a hardworking, blue-collar worker who abused his hands daily - yet somehow maintaining them to be immaculately manicured, tan and perfect. One day while I lay bruised and injured on a stretcher in an emergency room following a front end collision, this 17 year old was a complete wreck until I felt my dad’s hand touch my shoulder. I knew immediately who it was without turning around. I felt his power, his sense of touch; a familiar calming and an instant connection that assured me, “It’s OK.” (my entry in Maxwell's book)
My challenge to you as a Christian singer is: Quit worrying about buses, banners, booths and the business - and get into God's word daily. Portray a Christ-like spirit in everything you do, making it about others and not yourself. In while there is nothing wrong with entertainment, (and I believe in good Christian entertainment!), don't ever misconstrue it to mean ministry. Don't have the term "ministry" attached to your name, simply so you can get bookings in churches and religious events, when you and I both know - it's entertainment. And it's quite alright, if that's your choice. Just don't prostitute yourselves into thinking that it's more.
2 Corinthians 2:15 (The Message)
In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.
You are the perfume of God's love, walking and talking, loving and leading. God's presence in the life of a believer brings a fragrance from heaven, a holy fragrance interlaced within a holy life. It is not achieved without God's divine work. It cannot be imitated or construed, pretended or hypothetical. A holy life, lived out by God's direction and guidance, brings a fragrance to those around you. Inviting them closer. Bringing them step by step into your inner circle, causing them to stop and breathe in deeply. Pray to God today for the spiritual stamina to remain a beautiful testimony of His love to the dark world today. Share your story, your love story with Jesus; let the perfume of your testimony emanate with every step. You may not even leave the house today and still be a giver of God's fragrant perfume. Breathe in deeply of God's sweet fragrance.
Be imitator's of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us a gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2.
(I then ended with a classic oldie, that definitively describes the missional challenge to every singing ministry.)
“Oh to be His hand extended, reaching out to the oppressed, Let me touch Him, Let me touch Jesus....So that others may know and be blessed.”