Ministry or Performance? Pt. 1

     There is an ongoing controversy about whether Worship Artists minister or perform when they present their crafts to an audience. The word “performance” causes many people to be cringe when they hear it, and we are constantly told “We don’t perform, we minister”. What is the difference between ministry and performance, or is there one? First, let’s look at some contextual definitions of the two words, minister and perform: 

     Minister: to give aid or service, to perform the functions of a minister of religion, a  diplomatic representative of a foreign state
     Performance: the act or process of performing a public presentation

     After reading these definitions from Webster’s Dictionary, could we say that performance can be ministry, and even further say that when we perform, we are ministers who represent God’s Kingdom on earth?
Over time, words have taken on meanings that were never assigned them, and because of tradition, we have rejected certain words because they don't sound "spiritual", This has caused a lot of  controversy, and even sent many artists away from the church for good, because they were misunderstood. God has comissioned us to go into the world with our gifts, and spread the Good News. (Matt. 28:19) I believe that if we are truly going to be effective in our ministries, we should have a clear understanding of not only what we are doing, but of what we say about what we do, no matter what we call it.  The video below is, in my opinion, an outstanding example of performance as ministry. The audience for this work may never set foot inside a church building, but I believe that very few people would come away from seeing this performance and not be moved. And isn't that why we do what we do?



can't you see that my soul is laid bare?
i have nothing left to hide from the world or those who look with blinded eyes wide open
through the windows of my life
inside the glass house i've been living in
putting up this wonderful facade
and smiling through my tears...
(© 2009 Poetry of Motion!)

There are so many wounded, hurting people among us, we walk past them on the streets; they are our neighbors, co-workers, family members, and friends. Some of them attend church services week after week, hiding behind laughter, a lot of activity, or even negative behavior. These same individuals are in audiences where we perform or share our gifts. It is very sobering to remember that there could be someone watching us who has received a bad Doctor’s report, is having suicidal thoughts, or may be living a double-life. In all of these situations, people are sitting in darkness, looking for the Light. As Worship Artists, we must become so transparent that others can see the Light of Christ that is in us, and become free.

We are Carriers of God’s Glory (Matt. 5:14-16); Messengers of Good News (Is.5:27), and we have a specific assignment (Jer. 1:9). However, if we are half-hearted, not fully present or hiding something within ourselves, we can cause our light to be hidden from others. We cannot afford to do this! (Matt. 6:22-23).
The light of Christ causes darkness to leave, and brings hope to others. Before our next assignment, let’s ask ourselves three questions:

     1. Am I doing this from my heart, or just because I have the

     2. Am I fully engaged in what I am about to do?

     3. Am I hiding anything from myself?

We are the light of the world, so let’s carry it fully!