Carman was a huge influence in my life and ministry over the years. He stirred me up to be bold in my message and use technology as a tool to present a no compromise gospel message. He once said on one of his videos” Not sure which one” “I had to make the decision whether I was going to be a Christian Musician or a Musical Terrorist” In other words was he just going to be a Christian artist / entertainer like where the industry was heading or was he going to be a musical terrorist that used music to knock in the gates of hell and terrorize the devil. His choice to terrorize the devil cost him greatly in the Christian music industry. Because this statement impacted me so much I have tried to ask this question of myself over the years, am I going to be a nice Christian entertainer that gets into all churches or am I going to use the ministry the Lord has given me to knock in the gates of hell and lead people to Jesus? I am sure this has cost me bookings in certain churches and not being accepted by most of the in crowd in the children’s ministry realm.
The music industry seemed to not like him because in their opinion he was not artistic enough and his lyrics were too bold and did not fit into their doctrinal boundaries. He did not want to charge for his concerts but instead he received love offerings that sometimes did not even pay for the venue, he gave away his albums to people that could not afford them at his concerts, and he prayed for the sick and expected to see God move in their lives. He also gave alter calls and led people to Jesus at his concerts which was an industry No No.
His lyrics did not match what everyone else was doing. When the rest of Christian music in the late 80 and into the 90’s was moving toward what we have now, he continued to write songs that where blatantly Christian and slammed the devil and called for repentance and revival. The industry finally spit him out. Younger generations moved toward what they called more artistic music with watered down lyrics and they had no desire for strong biblical lyrics that challenged them or stirred them up to serve God or fight against the devil and sin. Because of this Carman did some Children’s Music that was very creative and like his older stuff but as we all know Children’s Ministry can not support someone and with the younger generation moving away from powerful challenging music he was left in the dust.
I don’t know this for sure because I did not know Carman personally however, what I saw was a man that was used by God to stir up several generations that was chewed up and spit out by the “Christian” Music industry and was made to feel foolish and behind the times so he lost his creative edge because the Industry told him that it wasn’t cool any more and he started doing adult contemporary music that was less powerful and challenging and not as creative as his early albums.
I have felt the same pressure at time to conform to the trends of Children’s Ministry today and be less confrontational and use terms like “Friends with God” instead of “Born Again” This is the spirit of the world that has crept into the church to silence people that are bold for God. May we learn a lesson from this and do what God has called us to do no matter how the powers that be try to stifle the call of God on our life. May we not get all bound up in thinking that we need to be as artistic or as good as the world if God is using it. To be honest there is no way most Christians can keep up with the worlds budget or resources. Carman did first class music video production with the help of Stephen Yake however they say his style of music was not artistic or up to par with where the world was going. It saddened me to see someone that was used by God stifled and put down by a so called Christian Music industry that was more concerned about music that would sell to the masses rather than someone’s calling and anointing and the ministry that they were called to.
It’s time that artist and ministers that are called to be different start producing their own music and material again and break out of the mold that the music industry or the children’s ministry industry tells us we need to be to be successful. I will never be the latest greatest in the Children’s Ministry realm but I’m ok with that. Sure there are things I can change to be more updated and relevant however the bold message, call to repentance, and presenting the Gospel in a way that people make Jesus Lord “master, boss, supreme authority” of their life and not just “friends with God” can never change. I will continue to make sure that when I lead people to Jesus that they understand they need to repent and leave their old life behind and follow Jesus and that there is a supernatural chance that happens to them when they make Jesus Lord called being BORN AGAIN that will CHANGE them in such a way and empowers them to follow Jesus and quit doing things their way and start doing things God’s way. This will not make me the most popular Children’s / Family Evangelist however, this is what God has called me to do. I will continue to use technology as a tool to present the Gospel in such a way that children and families will understand it better and not just because I wanna have a really awesome program.
There will never be another Carman because the music industry would never let him be successful today. I am encouraged by artist like Matt Papa that have challenging lyrics even though they know that they will never get a record deal or be played on Christian radio. I inserted one of his songs in a video below. It’s something for all of us to think about..
Jubilee Gang Ministries