A while back, the family truckster was getting old, so I decided to buy a new family truckster. I really wanted the new Caravan with the fold down seats. I mean, that's cool. They call it Stow and Go. But it also meant a huge price difference in the vehicle.
I elected for the Manual Stow and Go: That means Eric wrestles the seats out of the van and "Stows" them in the garage.
For that kind of thing, you take the lumps that come from living without the "cool, ultimate feature". I mean, is it really worth thousands of dollars for that?
(OK, let's get off this example before I go trade my van in again).
However, in the world of approaching your music work and/or ministry, and doing the best you can do, I think you have to be a little more choosy, and move with a little more purpose.
For many of you, your music or artistic talents are your chosen profession, a serious pursuit, or at least, a full-time hobby. You lay awake at night thinking about what God wants you to do, how much you love it, and how can you live (or live more fully) doing what you love. I know you do, cause I do it too.
So you spend time, money, and effort on making sure you take the right road at every step.
However, many times you are presented with two options: The expensive and hard work road, that may lead to real success, or the cheaper alternative, which will cost less in time and money, but still get you more than you have now.
But remember the saying, "If you keep doing things the way you always have, you'll end up with the same results you always have?"
Don't you hate that saying? Don't you hate that it's true?
When I worked as a worship leader, I knew that if we just threw the service together, it would come out OK, and even fine. People would be blessed. The service would end and everyone would go home happy, free to live a life of religious fulfillment.
But did we give our best? Probably not. Putting in that extra practice, especially when you have to do this work every week, seems ridiculous. "We threw it together last week and it worked out OK," you'll hear a voice say.
But doesn't God deserve our best quality work? Shouldn't we feel a bit guilty that it's easier just to slap it together and throw it out there because we can?
The same holds for our work in professional music ministry pursuits.
To be honest, it's scary how much you can spend on recording a new album or EP project. There are more costs than you can imagine. Yeah it's cool that there is lots of opportunities and music companies here in Nashville, but the problem is they all charge money!
Charges to pay studios, charges to pay musicians, charges to pay people to carry musicians equipment, charges to pay engineers, charges to pay second engineers, charges for photos, design, mixing, mastering, duplicating. The list goes on.
Now, in the old days before we moved our company here, we could get by with putting a decent album together for folks outside Nashville. Clients would pay half what they do here, but the CD would be just fine. They would go out and sell to their church crowd, and their friends, and their moms and dads. And the clients would be pleased.
See, the truth is, what they really wanted is for the world to notice. Not the "secular" world per se, but at least the "people who love the music they made, and oh yeah, music industry people too."
The truth is, my clients wanted to live more fully, and that meant getting real exposure.
Well, God isn't sitting up there (or wherever He sits) thinking, "I don't want him/her living more fully so I'll hold them back."
I think we hold ourselves back. We sit quietly in mediocrity, because quality is expensive! "Why pay alot to possibly have some real success that I really want, when I can be assured of having something cheaper that will be OK?"
The answer is, “Good is not good enough”, especially if we are doing a work for the Lord. C’mon, you know the difference between a CD you made at a friend’s house and the newest cool Christian CD by that artist you love.
And moreover these days, the audience knows. And the Internet knows. And the industry folks know.
But most importantly, YOU know. And if you know you aren't giving the absolute best quality product you can to do this work for the Lord, will you be sold enough to take it out proudly to the world and work it?
Think about it.
Eric Copeland is president of Creative Soul, a music ministry support company in Association with Word Entertainment in Nashville, TN. They sit around all day helping artists and songwriters find better ways to reach the world for Christ. Need more info? Check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com