Where Are All the Successful Christian Artists?

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In this videoThomas Terry addresses the challenge of compromise in the life of the Christian artist, where career success is often pitted against faithfulness in the Christian life. Can success and faithfulness be coupled?

The following is a lightly edited transcript provided by a transcription service. Please check video before quoting.

I think the challenge for faithful Christians in this fear of art is that what it requires to achieve success means that you have to give yourself totally to what success requires. So that means if I want to be a successful singer/songwriter, that means I have to spend 325 days on the road, aggressively touring, performing in different venues all the time. That’s going to pull me away from my local church where faithfulness is produced. If I want to be an actor, I’m going to have to make certain choices that call for my career to be in the front seat and my faithfulness to be in the back seat. And so that’s why you don’t see very many Christians really succeeding in their sphere of art because, to some degree, their career is pitted against their faithfulness as a Christian. Compromise must occur.

So what I think needs to happen for more Christians to find success is to redefine what success is. If what they imagine as success is financial security, the world’s fame, or the world’s acceptance, well then, that is going to cost them the total of their life. But if what they define as success is “Am I finding satisfaction in what I’m creating? Am I doing it in a way that brings God glory? Am I doing my art in a way that is serving people?” Then you’re going to redefine success, and you’re going to have a lot more faithful Christians who are successful.

But the world deems success differently than the way the creative does, and so that’s something that we have to reexamine and realign. And that’s a really complex thing to do, but I think we can do it.