As the adage goes, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” A small town southern boy certainly couldn’t argue with that. At least from a distance, the Big Apple seems to be the most competitive place one could imagine.
Presumably, NYC is where the best of the best live and work – writers, artists, financial gurus, professionals of all sorts, and – more to my point – musicians. I’m just enough of a musician to appreciate that playing gigs on Broadway, in a New York recording studio, or with a big city orchestra requires the kind of intimidating, world-class talent and skill that would send us hacks crawling back to Podunk.
So, when I got a recent email promoting the Christmas tour of modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty, I was thrilled to see Carnegie Hall on the tour schedule, as well as other prestigious venues including Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Fisher Music Center in Detroit, Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, and many other public venues and churches.
Yeah, I know big city acceptance isn’t the true mark of success for Christians. On the other hand, shouldn’t we be thrilled when the gospel is proclaimed and made beautiful to people in places that hold great sway in our culture, some of which are not known to be overly welcoming to the Savior?
That’s what the Gettys do, and they do it on a worldwide stage with God-glorifying excellence.
And the Gettys are not the only Christians whose excellence captures an audience outside the church. Let me point you to three from the music world who may or may not have come to your attention but whose God-given talent has been improved upon with a lifetime of work, thus earning them the opportunity to build a gospel bridge to the unbelieving world.
Yolanda Adams is a veteran gospel singer who has sold nearly 8 million albums, according to Wikipedia. On August 11, she appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show where she sang with great joy and conviction:
I've got, got the victory / I've got the sweet sweet victory in Jesus. Yes I do / He's our mighty conqueror. / In him I will trust all my battles he’ll fight. / I've got, got the victory / I've got the sweet sweet victory in Jesus. / For me He died but He rose on the third day. / That's why I have true victory everyday.
Doyle Dykes is a greatly admired guitarist from the Chet Atkins school of playing. Here, representing Guild, a guitar manufacturer, Dykes wows an audience of pickers while sharing his love for God and country.
Phil Keaggy has been a part of the Christian music scene for over 40 years. He plays a mix of churches and other venues. Always ready to proclaim the gospel through his music, Keaggy is without peer on his instrument. Here, at a public venue in Nashville, Keaggy delivers a jaw-dropping performance of his song “Salvation Army Band.”
Do you know of other believers – in any field – whose excellence has gained an opportunity to share the gospel? Is so, tell us about them in the comment section.
And learn more about the Gettys upcoming tour in this review from AFA Journal.