The main reason we are Christian music ministers is to love people closer to Jesus. We hope that our music will connect with people and help to open their hearts to our message. So, it’s important to create excellent music but it’s even more important to have the ability to speak our message well. Most often our message of the Gospel is not presented by preaching a sermon; it’s given through our personal testimony.
If your band was a secular band, interested in promoting its quality and style of music, you would tell funny band stories and subtly highlight things such as your music experience, gear used, and your music education. But, since your band is a Christian music ministry; interested in ministry first, you want to talk about what God has done or is doing in your lives, highlighting God’s work rather than your expertise. To put it simply—we tell the story of God in our lives.
When we tell God’s story in our lives
what we say on stage, off stage and in our press kits
becomes much simpler.
The easiest way to figure out your story is in a group of people who know you well. This could be band mates, friends, or family. Ask people to picture themselves as a person with a similar problem to one you have dealt with in your life. Here are some possible scenarios: “My parents are getting a divorce and it’s tearing me up…I’ve been good all my life and I still don’t feel good enough…My addictions have hurt everyone around me…I just don’t see why cutting is so bad even though everyone says it is”.
Next ask the people in your group to imagine that this imagined person stumbled upon your band web site or saw you in a live performance. If they met you or read your biography, what would they want to hear? “My parents divorce almost tore me up too, but God…” “I was always the good kid and I got teased because of it, still I never felt good enough. When God showed me…” “I lost everyone close to me because of my addictions. Then God…” “I used to cut but I stopped because God…”.You get the general idea. Everyone will have a different story and it will be told differently from everyone else’s story—that’s what makes your personal story so powerful! The group of people closest to you has a more objective viewpoint on your life than you do. Their insights and comments will help identify your strongest areas of ministry.
Try to speak a short version of your story in 2 to 3 sentences. Unless you’re a solo artist, your written biography should not be more than a paragraph long (less than ¼ of a page). Remember that you are telling a ministry story. So, the audience does not need to know things like where you were born, your favorite food, what gear you currently use, your musical influences etc. unless they are directly related to the story. Structure your story so that you share the problem, then how you connected to God through it, and then the end result of your life now. Again, you would try to connect to your fans in a completely different way if you were in a secular band. But as a music minister, you want to tell a compelling story of Gods work in your life. Your goal is to bring people closer to God through your personal testimony.
Be aware that you’ll probably have to edit, edit, and edit some more to be able to share your story in a compelling and concise way. It’s OK, take your time and get it right. Ask a few people close to you to listen to your story and then read your biography. Make sure it conveys what you are trying to say as clearly as possible.
When you have practiced clearly communicating what you want to say,
you can stop worrying about what to say and focus on when to say it.
Most often our songs are written from our hearts. So, our stories will most likely connect well to one or two songs in our bands set. Just before or after these songs are ideal times to share your story. Ideally, the band will plan who is going to share their story in between which songs as your plan your set list. But performing on stage is not always under ideal circumstances. Each member should have their stories ready to share at a moments notice whenever something does not go as planned. Whoever has a microphone and is not involved in solving the problem should immediately start talking. Did the guitar player break a string? The drummer can share his story while the guitar player switches instruments. Did the venue blow a circuit? Each band member can move to a different spot up front on the stage and share their stories to small groups of fans without a microphone. This encourages the audience to get closer to the stage—they are up front and ready when the power comes back on instead of losing them to different places in the venue.
Sharing your story off stage will become a part of conversations with fans before and after shows. You know that awkward hole in the conversation that comes after “Hi! It’s so nice to meet you.”? Fill it in with “Would you like to hear something amazing that God did for me?” and then continue with your story.
Your story should be told in written form in your band biographies. Band biographies are frequently left out of press kits because they are difficult to write, especially for young band members. More often than not, new bands biographies come off as silly and detrimental to the bands ministry. But, well crafted band biographies can be used to demonstrate the professionalism of the band when handling business matters and, more importantly, show that you are serious about the quality of your ministry. Biographies can establish a connection between band members and potential promoters and fans before they meet you personally.
Your story will change over time
as you have new life experiences.
You can always change and add new stories—this is a sign that God is continuing to work in your life. But as music ministers, we should always have a story ready to tell. Telling your story with excellence, in a concise and compelling way, can be the first step in changing someone’s life. The trick is to do it REALLY well so your fans look beyond the music to your message of Christ’s love.
Your story will help define your band’s mission.
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