Why I Play in Churches
When I moved to Nashville, I played clubs and bars. I didn’t have any songs about Jesus, and I opened for bands like Sister Hazel and Lisa Loeb. When I met Mitch Dane (the producer of Arkadelphia, and now a dear friend), he suggested I play in churches. Honestly, I was 23, and the thought had never occurred to me. I didn’t know anyone who played music in churches, and images of the Gaither Vocal Band danced in my head and I thought he was crazy. But I got one church gig, and then another, and soon I found myself touring the country opening for Andrew Peterson (now a dear friend and creative cohort) and then Caedmon’s Call, who then invited me into their creative process as a songwriter.
Along the way I wrote some Jesus songs of my own, and I developed a deep love and passion for for the church. I saw how God was using my gifts for his glory in a unique way, and that has helped shape my mission. Now I play mostly in churches with a mix of songs that hope to reflect a broad and true picture of life. Folk and roots music has always revealed truth through singing stories. And these days I think of myself as a folk singer for the church. Even the kids music that I write has a folky flare, but they don’t seem to mind… everybody knows that kids love stories.
If God were not invisible, I might play anywhere. But I almost always
sing at least a few songs about Jesus in my set, and that can make un-churched (or over-churched) people nervous, with his personal claim on truth, and with God being invisible and all. Then again, if we could see him, it might
make us all jump in our jammies and hide under the covers.