By Nathaniel Bassey
Church leaders are very pivotal to young men and women achieving their full potentials in Christ.
I say this because I am a product of this. Most of you have read my story, and I keep telling it to encourage younger folks, and to put them in the straight and narrow path.
I have since found out that it is not Love or an act of kindness and goodness to put a young man or woman in the limelight, merely on the basis of talent. This is something I personally did not understand but as I grew, and matured in Christ, this has became so clear and real to me.
Many say doing so is to encourage them. But I say, true encouragement is discipleship, preparing and equipping them.
You see, in my days at the city of David, serving under my late pastor and mentor, I struggled to understand a few things. We would have guest preachers and music ministers from the USA and other parts of the world come, and whenever they saw me play, some would approach my Pastor to ask if they could take me abroad for some events. My Pastor’s reply to them, which he once told me, was this,”HE IS NOT READY?” I just couldn’t understand. Not ready? Are you God??? USA? How do you know I’m not ready? All these I thought in my heart. But do you know the truth? I WAS NOT READY. If you follow talent and gift alone, you can miss it. Truth is, Probably, I would have absconded in the States, towed a very different path from what I have taken today, and altered my whole destiny forever. But today, I’m full of thanks that I had a wise and spiritual man of God to make those hard decisions on my behalf. That’s why I advise music ministers, no matter how high God lifts you, HAVE A PASTOR. DON’T BE THE LORD OF YOUR LIFE. YOU NEED A MAN OR WOMAN WHO CAN LOOK YOU IN THE EYE WITHOUT SENTIMENTS TO SAY “CALM DOWN”
Anyway, back to my first gist. I believe in training and discipleship. In fact, that’s why the scripture calls the followers of Christ DISCIPLES, from the word DISCIPLINE. Because we are a disciplined people. Soldiers of Christ. And if there’s something soldiers do, they TRAIN, and are TRAINED.
Why am I writing this? I know a young person, who perhaps has zeal for the music ministry, and by hindsight and foresight, having gone ahead in this ministry by God’s grace, realized he has a lot of work to do. Because when it even comes to the Singing itself, struggles to stay on key through a song, talk less of a whole worship session. Then talking of the things of the Spirit, has quite a long way to go. Character nko? Very little or almost zero. And when you encourage such to stay, learn, seek God first, and then work hard to develop the gift and talent, would just think you hate them and trying to block their destiny.
And before you know it, they run away. And sadly, hear how they have been sponsored to produce a single or an album, and my heart just weeps for them. Also because some of us church leaders can’t be sensitive enough to pick and identify those that need to be FIRST, prepared before launched out. It would shock you to know that we do this in an attempt to make them stay in our church. However, this is done at the expense of their lives. Hear me dear, Jesus spent over 20 years preparing for a ministry of just 3 years. I say over 20 year just to leave out his very early days, but most would say 30 years. The one we call the WORD, himself sat down listening to doctors of the law, and asking questions.He did this for years before launching out. The way and time you launch out will determine how long you last. If you are in a hurry to launch out, you will also fizzle out in a hurry.
And talking about encouragement, this is how I was encouraged. I was taught the word, and encouraged by my pastor to first and foremost chase hard after God. Then musically, he encouraged me to practice for hours. I can never forget the time my pastor planned to have Wynton Marsalis to come to Nigeria, all because he wanted me to see a world class trumpet player and be inspired. He encouraged me by getting me music resources, books and my equipment to practice. He did this the times he travelled, and would ask what I wanted. Thank GOD I was wise enough to ask for things other than cloths and shoes. And as I grew, he had me minister a lot in church. And shortly before he passed away, began asking me to prepare to record my own songs. Can you see the trend? I began playing the trumpet in 1991 but it wasn’t until 2008 that I recorded my first album, 17 years after. And I’m not saying you have to wait 17 years. The point I’m trying to make is that there’s always a process and time involved in achieving true success and greatness. People differ, and their timing may be shorter than others.
Let me also use Sinach as an example. Even after many well known songs, sung around the world, that lady didn’t minister outside her church. It wasn’t until a few years ago we began seeing her do so. She had served in her home church, and still does. But you see a young man or woman, barely started, and they want to sing at the EXPERIENCE and tour the world.
You want a powerful music ministry, one that glorifies God, touches lives and nations. One with posterity, that will out live you after you have left this world? THIS IS THE WAY.
I’m not talking about packaged music ministry, something you run in the flesh and with money, NO SIR/MA. Something that ends even before you begin. I’m talking about true, effective and solid Christ-centered music ministry with undeniable Apostolic proofs. You will have to walk the straight and narrow. And here’s what I have found, when you are ready, the platforms and sponsors just show up, miraculously. And that is because it is God’s agenda and not your’s. And God sure knows how to fund his things.
If after reading this, you still think I’m trying to delay your turn to shine, then I’m afraid you are not ready for the real deal. But I pray for you today, that the Holy Ghost that has opened my eyes to these truths, will do same for you. And let me add, this is not just theory, by the grace of God I am a living witness, and can tell you, these principles WORK! Like night and day.
Let me end with this illustration. There are trees and there are trees. A Cedar is one of the most special trees in the world even in the Bible. While most trees will grow in a matter of weeks, a Cedar takes as long as two years to grow. But all this while, it grows downwards, taking its root in streams of water. And you can imagine what other trees will think of it. A failure, one that won’t grow. And it’s like the story of our lives. When God is working on you, it looks like a wilderness time. And appears as though things are just happening to others except you.
But then when a Cedar tree starts to grow, it grows so tall and wide and can live as long as 2,000 years while others last but a few years. It would interest you to note that some Cedar trees that were in Bible times still exist today. This speaks of posterity. Let me ask you. Which would you rather be, A CEDAR TREE or every kind of tree????
God bless you.
( please send to every stake holder in the music ministry. The young and aspiring ones, even the established ones, Pastors and well wishers)