If you listen to my music, you’ll quickly recognize that it is stylistically diverse. This is because I believe that defining one’s music mainly by style is very limiting. Whenever I sit down to compose a new piece, I try to consider which sort of style(s) will be most effective to communicate the intended message. However, It is my observation that churches define their “identity” mainly by style and demographic. This seems contrary to the apostle Paul’s admonition to not make these sorts of distinctions (Galatians 3:26-28).
This emphasis on stylistic identity has created a real struggle for me. For example, many churches have dismissed In His Own Words as “not the kind of thing that they do.” Obviously it’s not the words of Christ that they “are not into”, but rather the musical style in which Christ’s words have been set. On the other hand, churches who have embraced In His Own Words or my Christmas project The Word Became Flesh, have rejected my most recent project Sing Praise to the LORD–A Musical Exploration of the Psalms, as “too contemporary.” It appears that my music is an equal opportunity offender.
Rather than trying to subjectively ascertain which style will appeal to a certain group, or the largest group, or generate the most sales, I try to take my cue again from the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 9:19-23) by considering which style will be most effective and appropriate for each piece I compose.