Katelyn Holub

blogging about music, art, and creativity

What Does it Mean to Be a Christian Musician?

4 Comments

I’m a Christian.  I’m also a musician.  Some of my songs are about faith and God, but not all of my songs are.  It seems like these days there are clear-cut Christian music genres and Christian artists—everything they write seems to be worship songs or at the very least songs about faith.

But what about those songwriters who want to write about all kinds of things, not just about their faith? 

Do all your songs have to be specifically Christian in order to call yourself a Christian musician? 

I don’t write my music to please a certain audience, so when it comes time to share my music, it seems hard because I’m not sure who my audience is and what they want to hear.  This problem affects what venues I choose to play at, how I market my music, and how I describe my music to other people (which I touched on a little bit in an earlier post).

Let’s just focus on choosing a music venue. 

When I’m looking for a music venue in town to play at, I basically am choosing between bars, coffeehouses, and churches.  I know that some people will be completely turned off by hearing me sing a song about faith and God, and so I hesitate to play my religious songs at venues like bars and coffeehouses.  I also know that playing at church venues usually involves being part of a Christian music event—it may not be outright worship service, but it seems like everyone is expecting songs to be about God—so I hesitate to play my non-religious songs because I’m afraid people will be upset that I’m not worshiping God with every song.

In either situation, people are not hearing the full “me” sound.  They’re getting only part of the story.  I don’t like feeling that I have to hide part of who I am in order to not offend an audience.   While my intention is not to offend people with my music, I desire to authentically represent who I am—and my faith is a part of my story.

Is anyone else struggling with these kinds of issues?  How do you handle it?

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Author: katelynholub

I'm a law school graduate, singer-songwriter, believer, blogger, and general adventurer.

4 thoughts on “What Does it Mean to Be a Christian Musician?

  1. Hi! I’m not a musician, but I am a believer and have struggled with the issue from the other side of the fence: should I listen to “Christian music” or is it okay to listen to music written and performed by Christian artists? I believe the answer can be both, but for me, I find it more realistic to find believers expressing their faith in God and the Lordship of Christ in their songwriting (or any other art-form, for that matter). I found, after years of listening to “Christian music”, that much of it is formulaic, preaches to the choir, and doesn’t fill that ‘God-shaped hole’ I sometimes have.

    It is courageous to contemplate these issues as an artist! I certainly believe you can express your beliefs in ways that do not compromise them. You’ll never not offend, I believe, because if you are singing from your Christ-filled heart, it will be His presence that offends them. Your job is just to avoid being preachy and judgmental.

    I think on Paul, who tried to be ‘all things to all men’, which I take to mean he didn’t try to make people fit his mold, he crafted his witness in terms specific to the person to whom he was speaking, so they’d understand the words and context he used.

    Sometimes playing overtly Christian songs in secular situations can be offensive since it is seen as pushy, even though that was your last intent! Maybe you can create something in-between, because you never know who God may have brought to that group to hear His words expressed through your talent.

    Not an easy question and I hit nowhere near the mark, but wanted to share my own struggles and thoughts on the issue and hopefully bring some small bit of encouragement to someone who seems sincere in their quest to spread God’s message of love and redemption to a lost and dying world. I’ve only just found your blog, so maybe I’ll be able to hear some of your music here(?) with some digging…

    Maranatha

    • Very intriguing ideas there, Darrell. Thanks for commenting! I had never thought of the question of whether I should listen to “Christian music,” but that brings up some important points including how is the soundness (or lack thereof) of the Christian message being relayed impacting me when I listen to a song repeatedly?

      Going towards your comment on Paul, perhaps it is the presentation of the faith song to others that makes a great difference in how it is received, even if people turn out not to like it or agree with the message? This might involve me giving a short introduction before performing a faith song for the audience. The intro could be tailored uniquely to connect with each audience in a way they might be receptive to hearing. . . . . hmmm. . . your comments have got me thinking . . . . . .

      It’s encouraging to hear that you think it is possible to be a part of both the Christian and secular music world. If you are curious as to what my songs sound like, you can stream my songs for free here (and “The One” and “Behind Me” are a couple of the faith songs, and you can click to see the lyrics).

  2. Reblogged this on The Road goes ever on and on… and commented:
    The question posed by this blogger/musician is one I’ve pondered myself: do believers in Christ have to limit themselves to ‘branded’ Christianity, or should they work to find expressions of faith in God in other places?

    What do you think?

  3. Pingback: Stop Trying to Find Your Calling | Katelyn Holub

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