Navigating Trials as a Working Music Minister
When God called, like little Samuel, you answered “Speak Lord, your servant hears”. You plunged headlong into His work, and have not looked back since. But… now you’ve jumped in with both feet and you are wondering how you will land. Because of the nature of your calling, you know that you cannot take every “gig” out there, yet, you know you may not receive an honorarium every time you minister in a church. For many music ministers, this means having a steady day job.
Now, this can be a real problem. It is easier to produce music when you have good clean energy, and a lot of time on your hands, but your 9-5 job is designed to suck away all of it. How then, can you make the best of your ministry, without going broke? Let’s take a deep dive.
First, don’t quit your day job.
Seriously, don’t do it. Quitting your job is not a guarantee that you will make more from your music, it will only ensure that you have more time to focus on your music, but the biggest con is that you lose a steady source of income. Try to find a job that suits your music career better, preferably one within the industry, but if not, then just hold on a little longer.
Quitting will come later when you have developed a reasonable alternate source of income, so don’t worry. Instead, you must make the best with what you have now.
Find your Big Picture
My first advice is to be certain that this is what God wants you to be doing. If it is, then know that He has “… thoughts and plans for you” (Jeremiah 29:11). Find out what it is; this is your Big Picture. Now, draw up your ideal image of what success will look like for you, don’t limit your imagination, make your dreams as big as they can be. Think if money was no issue, what would I do? Write it down.
These are smaller, workable achievement points to help you get closer to your big dream. It could be
Record a new song or Get signed by a record label.
Take a step a day
With your goals in mind, set assignments that help you achieve that goal, and each day. take at least, a step towards it. The journey of a thousand miles does start with a step after all.
Make time for your music
Pencil it into your daily routine, preferably at a time when you are most creative. As a believer, your devotion time is a good time for this. You get to bring your music before the Lord every day! But also put in other things, such as daily voice training, that help you stay in touch. This way, you give deliberate energy to your music. Many people make to-do lists to help them get all their tasks done, but it is more helpful to attach time to the items on the list. Schedule out your day, break it into small portions and attach a task to each portion.
Find other avenues to monetize your music
Market yourself. Diversify your musical outlet. Social media is ripe and available for the plucking, you are producing premium content, don’t hide it. But remember, use the social platform, don’t let it become a distraction to you.
Use music streaming platforms: It doesn’t pay a ton, but it will generate passive income.
Teach if you are good at what you do, others will want to learn from you. Utilize this opportunity.
Play at corporate events, such as weddings.
Use Upwork to get audio-related jobs.
Become a freelance songwriter.
Curate a YouTube channel; you can make money from ads and you get to put your music out there.
Find your Tribe
There is a host of Holy Ghost-filled people making their way in the entertainment world, find them. Together, you can do what none of you can do alone. The three-strand cord cannot be easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Also, find other people that compliment you. You know your music, but another person may know how to market you better (an agent), while another may good at finding places for you to perform. You are not an island. You cannot do all of it by yourself.
Remain in touch with your Source.
As a minister, you have one thing that other musicians don’t: God. He is your source of strength, energy, and grace (Acts 17:28), and the best part, is He never runs out! Never get too busy for Him. The Word of God is chuck full of instructions on how to make the best out of your day, this is our biggest cheat code. What a blessing!
Finally, always remember, He who has called you is faithful, Paul, the Apostle reminds us “…and my Lord shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus our Lord”