Have you ever heard God’s voice? Not in an audible way, but his still small voice. That undeniable stirring of your soul. The clear and present course correction of your calling.
I heard it plain as day while on a flight to the small island of Lifou from New Caledonia in 2012. I wrestled with Him as He challenged me to make the greatest course correction of our ministry: from entertainers to full time evangelists. From musicians to musicianaries.
He spoke to me initially through an “aha moment” where the Spirit of the Lord resonates with your heart and tells you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be: flying from one of the most remote countries in the world to one of the most remote islands that’s not even a dot on your globe at home.
To be honest, what God asked me to do is counterintuitive–the opposite of what decades in the music industry have taught me. You see most bands chase after the largest platforms in the biggest countries. Yet on a plane in the day, I heard God as plain as day clearly telling me to go the other way.
He was calling us to reach the least of these in places that others are not going. To cities that most people don’t even know exist to reach people that may have never heard the gospel–and definitely have never heard in a reggae style. But here’s the kicker: to people that could never afford to bring us out. Ouch (says my wallet). But wait… It gets better… To do this all year round in perpetuity. To go from a Billboard chart topping artist to a humble missionary overnight.
“But how Lord?” I asked. “I’ve never seen another band do this before.” There is no template–no ministry standard for this–No one to train us in the ways of a Musicianary. Don’t get me wrong, I know about missions, I’ve been raising support and going on annual mission trips for over 25 years. Avion, Ziza and I are good to go, but what about the rest of the band? Then the Lord made it crystal clear to me that this change MUST be from the ground up and every single band member must be “ALL IN”. Double ouch!
As I reminisce on this moment I am in a VERY nostalgic mood for I am literally flying the same exact plane and looking out the same window as when this was all downloaded to me from God back in 2012. It’s an incredible experience to be visiting the same country 3 years later. As I fasten my seatbelt I remember God telling me that starting from scratch meant that I literally needed to go back to the beginning. You can’t get a different plant from the same seed. I needed to rewrite our mission statement.
So in the span on this 40 minute flight that I am on once again, my thumbs quickly tapped out three sentences. Just under 80 words that would not only transform my life, but change the face of our band forever. This is it:
“We are musicianaries; musical missionaries with one primary goal; to reach as many different peoples and nations as possible with the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ. We commit to sharing this great news through our lives, music, lyrics, and at each of our live performances with a clear call to salvation. We desire that all of our actions and songs give glory to God, edify the body of Christ and encourage the church to embrace different styles of worship.”
That’s what God downloaded into my soul: A new mission, a new goal and a completely different way of thinking. Success will no longer be counted by honorariums, ticket sales or chart placement, but solely by souls saved.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s been a tough transition. It’s been humbling. But as I look back three years later, I can see the incredible ways that the Lord has moved in my life and through our ministry since that inspiring flight.
NEGATIVES: On the negative side, we lost more than half of the band due to this transition–including some very close friends that were literally closer than brothers. We lost a lot money and are always asking for financial support from friends, family and strangers alike–after all, that’s the plight of the missionary. We’ve lost a whole lot of comfort: No more five star hotels and comfy beds (and very little wifi). We spend more time in the air in a given year than we do with our families that we have left behind. That sucks.
It sounds horrible doesn’t it? But when you weigh it all on God’s scales, the above is oh so light compared to:
POSITIVES: We’ve seen over 80,000 decisions for Christ over the last three years. This has literally changed the makeup and future population of heaven. I’m talking about souls saved and lives forever changed in places like Haiti, the Philippines, Honduras, Kenya and Papua New Guinea–this would never have happened without such a huge course correction. While the rewards here on earth may be slim (aside from a lot of frequent flyer miles and that soul satisfaction that you are maximizing your gifts for God’s Kingdom), our rewards in Heaven are priceless, immeasurable and yes, ETERNAL. And I’d much rather store up treasures in Heaven then down here on Earth.
Wait… I can see it: the lush green forests of Lifou as we rapidly descend. We’re almost ready to touch down. When we land we will literally hit the ground running and minister two full length outreach concerts in one day–over 5 hours of singing and preaching with an already hoarse voice. But I’ll be doing it with a very different band. Brothers and and sisters that are truly family, missionaries at heart that are genuinely all in! Though we aren’t fully funded yet–and still have funds to raise for this very trip, God is our provider and He always takes care of us even when it doesn’t add up on an excel spreadsheet. Hold on…
Errrrrrrrr! Whew! That was a close one! We just landed in the rain, hydroplaned and skidded. Yikes! Now everyone on the plane is clapping. We made it! We’re alive. And honestly, I’ve never felt so alive. For I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be. And the center of God’s will has never felt so sweet! Alright I’ve gotta get off the plane.
Thanks for your prayers and support.
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