Tune In To Juice TV Live!

Tune in to Juice TV Live (show airs on TBN) Friday December 9:00pm CST as we will be discussing thoughts from Creating Monsters with host Wes Howard & Kat Vazquez. The show will also feature musical performances from About A Mile, Kolby Koloff and Crystal Rome.

If you would like to attend live, Call 615-531-3505 to reserve your seats.

Politics of Music

untitled-design-10

What an incredibly strange year we have experienced with the US Presidential election! I’ve read about crazy elections in our past but the one we just experienced felt a bit like war. While the huge division and disfunction in our country was exposed, something even bigger revealed itself.

I talk a great deal about platforms and stages, with primary focus being on creatives. However, politicians are given some of the biggest platforms. As platforms for presidential candidates grew, the monster was feasting on ego and pride. A handful of candidates professed to be Christians, but as we watched the debates it was difficult to see Jesus as they ripped each other to shreds.

Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed similar behavior amongst Christian artists vying for the top of the charts. While smiles don their faces in public, conversations backstage, in green rooms and on tour buses are laced with jealousy, pride and ego. If we are all on a quest to make Jesus famous shouldn’t we lift one another up as brothers and sisters in Christ? Imagine the size of the platform if everyone joined together, shared success with all and offered a helping hand to the less successful?

There is only room for one at the top and his name is Jesus. Let’s join together and make him famous!

Keith Stancil Logo

A Week of Accolades

2016 GMA Dove Awards

images

This week is Christian music accolade week or better known as the GMA Dove Awards. Last night, some artists took home a prestigious Dove Award while others went home empty handed and maybe feeling a bit rejected.

Let’s face it, most of us want to be recognized for our achievements and accomplishments? I know I do. The amazing thing is that God recognizes us regardless of whether we have trophies on our wall or not. When we are about his business of carrying out The Great Commission, we are heroes to him. Music is a powerful tool and the Holy Spirit often utilizes it to draw listeners to Jesus.

Today, lets celebrate both the winners & those who didn’t win at last night’s GMA Dove Awards show. When one person finds Jesus through hearing a Christian song, the entire Christian music industry should celebrate. The Christian music industry was originally designed for one common purpose of carrying out The Great Commission!

Please join me in praying specifically for two things this week.

1) For the GMA Dove Winners and that they would be humbled by the recognition, that God would prevent the monster from boosting their ego and that they would be even more energized to continue taking God’s message to the world!

2) For those who didn’t win an award and that God would prevent the monster from making them feel like a failure and fill their heart with jealousy. That God would remind them to recognize that anyone carrying out The Great Commission is a winner in his eyes.

Keith Stancil Logo

 

Kingdom Building

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-7-25-25-am

Undoubtedly, we live in the new world order of social media. Most everything we do in life is centered around building kingdoms of Followers and Likes on social media. Even Bible Study groups use Facebook to stay in touch with one another and to quickly deliver messaging. Our daily lives have become so busy that we now depend on social media to keep us connected.

For those who work on a stage, connection is even more important. Music artists, speakers, authors and even pastors have been drawn into the emphasis and importance of one’s following. Record companies, book publishers, booking agents and event programmers demand big followings in order to do business with music artists, authors, speakers and pastors. That in turn can create an unhealthy emphasis on one’s number of followers.

I would encourage all of us to examine our focus. Are we more concerned about following Jesus than we are about building a following? Do we have faith that God will bring the audience he desires to hear the message we are proclaiming? Are we kingdom building or building kingdoms?

Keith Stancil Logo

 

College of Integrity

Commitment, Pride, Ego, Entitlement

books-1012088__180Last week I was out on a college tour with two of our artists. The tour is making stops at a number of Christian universities over the next couple of months. During the week I experienced two contrasting scenarios.

Scenario 1

One of the universities has a very strict conservative policy about what they allow on stage for concerts during their convocation services. They require their students to dress up, cover any tattoos and remove all nose rings etc. In order to be consistent, they ask any musician entering their stage to do the same. The Dean of Students noticed one of our musicians had a tiny diamond stud nose ring and another was wearing an earring at the top of his ear lobe. The Dean asked me if I could have them removed before our band took the stage. A brief conversation with our artist resulted in instant compliance. I was so proud of our team for acting quickly to acquiesce to the Dean’s wishes without hesitation. I think the Monster (ego, pride) was successfully starved that evening.

Scenario 2

At another university stop, we had asked for a local acoustic opener in order to create an opportunity for a student musician. We had limited inputs, limited soundcheck time and our desire was to create an experience that transitioned from acoustic to a fully plugged in band. Discovering they had picked a student band, I had a phone conversation with the leader of the band about the acoustic nature of performance we were looking for. The student didn’t like the acoustic nature as they normally play fully plugged in but he committed to figuring it out. Unfortunately, the student band showed up at soundcheck as a fully plugged in band. While the student was blatantly ignoring our wishes, we let it slide and didn’t address the situation. After sound check, the student approached me to ask if we were all good with his defiance. I explained why we had asked for acoustic and asked him why he didn’t comply. With no real answer, he then committed that they would stay within their 10 minute set time we had agreed on. His band then preceded to go 14 minutes instead of the 10 minutes he had just committed to. While it may seem trivial, this artist broke his commitment twice in an effort to grab what he thought was a better presentation and stage time for his band. After leaving the university, I emailed the student to share our disappointment in his broken commitment and to encourage him to re-think his actions with future music opportunities. The student apparently didn’t appreciate the encouragement and forwarded the email to some of the University staff. Instead of addressing the student’s integrity issue, the university staff, choosing to protect the student’s ego feeding behavior, was upset with me for sending the email. What an incredible teaching opportunity the University staff missed. The Monster (ego, pride, entitlement) was well fed at this university stop.

While it is impossible to get it perfect, our Christian universities certainly have major influence on the Monster that so badly wants to control the next generation of adults. Would you join me in praying for protection and wisdom over our Christian universities as they mold the next generation?

Keith Stancil Logo

Olympic Faith

Olympians for Jesus

Unknown

If you are like many Americans, you found yourself glued to your TV over the last couple weeks watching the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. While Americans picked up 121 medals, it was interesting to see winners from multiple countries giving glory to God. Olympic winners are given an incredible platform as every media outlet in the world wants to grab a interview with the winners. We have seen American gold medal gymnast, Gabby Douglas, speak about her faith in Jesus over the last four years and it was nice to see so many others join her in sharing their faith at this year’s Olympic games.

Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman swimmer to win gold – “All Glory to God. Isn’t he awesome!” 

American gold medalist Maya Dirado“I don’t think God really cares about my swimming much. I think God cares about my soul and whether I’m bringing his love and mercy into the world”

Ethiopian gold medalist Almaz Ayana“I pray to the Lord. The Lord has given me everything. My doping is in Jesus”

American women’s triathlon gold medalist Gwen Jorgenson“I really think you just have to keep God as your focal point and know that he is always number one. When you do that it will help you gain perspective on everything in life-not just endurance sports”

“We both know our identity is in Christ” – Mens diving silver medalist David Boudia says about he and fellow American diver Steele Johnson

How are you using your platform to make Jesus famous outside the church?

Keith Stancil Logo

chapter nineteen: TURN ON THE LIGHTS

Read Creating Monsters For Free

Claw B&W

chapter nineteen:

TURN ON THE LIGHTS

 

As a child, I remember having a fear that a monster lived under my bed or in my bedroom closet. My dad had a solution for squelching my fear, and it proved to work brilliantly every time. Dad would simply turn on the lights and have me look under the bed and in the closet to show me nothing was there.

Walking through life, I sometimes fear the scariest monster of all resides in me. So what do I do with the fear? Using the technique I learned from my dad, I simply turn on the lights. The quickest way I know to turn the lights on is to diligently study God’s Word, spend time in prayer with Him and surround myself with true Jesus followers who hold me accountable. With the lights turned on, God will certainly reveal any sign of a monster. As long as the lights are on, there is no way for the monster to control my mind or actions; but the minute I allow the lights to dim, the monster will begin to surface.

For me, turning the lights on often reveals Dr. Frankenstein at work. While I feel called to work as an artist manager, I struggle with how to walk out the manager role without creating monsters. Despite my best efforts, some monster-driven hearts have slipped through on my watch. Even though it seems like those were mistakes on my part, I can’t help but think God put me in those artists’ lives for a reason. If only for a short season, God can use us to mentor them. While it may be frustrating to see an artist feeding the monster, I continually remind myself that my role is to plant seeds and lead them to the light switch. God is the only one who can illuminate, and ultimately defeat, the monster.

 

MY PRAYER

God, thank You for loving me and calling me into the role You designed specifically for me. I pray You would give me wisdom as I help manage the ministries and careers of artists You have called for Your purpose. Please help us recognize the monsters present in our flesh as a result of the fall. We ask for Your help. Thank You for giving us a way to overcome the monsters. I pray You would use us to help spread the news of Your son, Jesus, as He is the only one we are called to make famous. Please kill the monsters in all of us and let Your glory shine!

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows
to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

(Galatians 6:7-8, ESV)

 

For Your FREE

Study Guide VISIT

www.keithstancil.com

Keith Stancil Logo

chapter eighteen: KILLING THE MONSTER

Read Creating Monsters For Free

Claw B&W

chapter eighteen:

KILLING THE MONSTER

 

So we know the monster lives. Now what? A well-fed monster can gain enormous influence over the person it dwells within—an influence so strong that outside voices of reason, and even the voice of God, can often go unheard. Feeling responsible for feeding and creating the monster, we become determined to find a way to break through. We must find a way to kill the monster!

I have found the task of dismantling the monster an extremely difficult and seemingly impossible undertaking. As egos grow, the monster raises a massive defense shield to protect his or her ego from outside intruders. The defense shield repels even the closest friends and loved ones as it perceives them as enemies. The monster surrounds itself with “yes” men and women who are plentiful and standing in line just to get the opportunity to hang out with the monster. Monsters like to hang out with other monsters, and anyone who speaks truth and wisdom quickly becomes the enemy.

When I married my wife over a decade ago, I entered into a celebrity family. My step-daughter is a multi-Platinum selling, GRAMMY®- nominated artist who was mentored by some of the best Dr. Frankensteins in the music industry. She found herself worshipped by millions of fans at a very young age. In her case, becoming a celebrity at fifteen years old wasn’t planned. She simply wanted to sing. I think it’s impossible for anyone under twenty- five to even begin to comprehend the implications of becoming famous. A quick look at the lives of most childhood stars shows the negative effects being worshipped often leaves behind. Their adult life is filled with trouble as they attempt to fill the emptiness the childhood stardom leaves within them. None of us were designed by God to be worshipped, so it would be ridiculous to expect a young person to walk through a celebrity experience perfectly unscathed.

Watching my step-daughter struggle with an ego that was planted and fertilized by the music industry helped me understand some of the difficulty artists encounter. Thankfully, Diana was by her side to help protect her from some of the craziness. Even so, the struggle to maturity was enormous. When one is surrounded by people willing to attend to one’s every need, basic survival skills become skewed. As with any human, if someone serves our every need, then it’s impossible to realize our true dependence on God. What happens when the “yes” people disappear? Complete emptiness is inevitable. In the case of my step-daughter, she was abandoned by many of her “yes” people the minute she encountered a difficult time in her life. Many in the Christian music industry abandoned and shunned her at a time when she needed their love the most. Thankfully, she had a mom and grandmother who cared for her way beyond any success she had achieved. Many prayers were lifted to God on her behalf; and as He promises, God was there to fill her emptiness. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a childhood celebrity who doesn’t know God or who doesn’t have friends and family who lead them in His direction and intercede with prayer. Interestingly, today if you asked Diana if she could travel back in time, would she have allowed her fifteen- year-old daughter to enter the music industry at such a young age, her reply would be a resounding “no.”

God gives us great examples in nature. One of the greatest is watching a mother bird with her babies. She feeds them and attends their every need while they are younglings. Once they begin to show signs of strength, she pushes them out of the nest in order to teach them to fly, which is similar to our role as artist managers. I not only want to see artists fly, I want to see see them fly with the integrity and the purpose God created them for. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing an artist live their lives according to God’s plan.

My struggle with helping artists build platforms is similar to that of parenting. No matter how intentional we are with mentoring, it is impossible to control the outcome. I’m often reminded of the old saying, “You can buy them books and send them to school, but you can’t make them learn.” As much as I would like to tame every monster I encounter, the only one I can directly control is the one that desires to reside in me. Maybe my personal experience in battling the flesh can be used to help artists realize and understand the existence of the monster that fights to control their minds and actions. While it may be a daunting task, it’s one I feel called by God to take on. Exposing the monster early on and encouraging artists to allow God’s Word to be their manual for living life will significantly impact the monster survival rate. After all, God is the ultimate monster slayer.

READ THE FULL BOOK

Keith Stancil Logo

chapter seventeen: MONSTER MUSIC

Read Creating Monsters For Free

Claw B&W

chapter seventeen:

MONSTER MUSIC

 

Music is an incredibly powerful force. Amazingly, it helps us through both good and bad times in life. I’ve experienced music’s power in some of life’s most joyous celebrations, and yet, music has also helped me process some of the darkest times in life. Contrary to what some may believe, I think God uses both Christian and mainstream music to stir and change human emotion. God may have actually used some of those secular records my youth leader encouraged me to burn to help me on my journey to finding Him. On the other hand, Satan recognizes the power in music, too, so it’s very likely he used music as well to make my journey to finding God a little more difficult.

One of the most well-known mentions of music in the Bible was when David was summoned to play his harp to soothe King Saul’s troubled soul. In an interesting twist, God brings torment to Saul’s soul but then uses David’s harp playing to assuage the torment.

Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well,and the harmful spirit departed from him.

(1 Samuel 16:14-23, ESV)

God also used music to give Elisha powerful words to speak.

And Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah,
I would neither look at you nor see you. But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon him. And he said, “ Thus says the Lord, ‘I will make this dry streambed full of pools.’

(2 Kings 3:14-16, ESV)

While music plays a significant role throughout the Bible, those two examples show God using music for specific purposes. Clearly, the ability to create music is a powerful tool He gifts to some. Even when artists with rock star attitudes and lifestyles make it to the top of the Christian radio charts, God can still use the music to draw the lost to Jesus. A good friend of mine, Pete Orta, has an incredible story of how God used his music before he was actually saved. Pete was a member of the Christian rock group Petra. He played for large audiences around the world impacting thousands of lives. Pete didn’t have a relationship with Jesus during that time, but God still used him to spread the Gospel through music. Thankfully, Pete eventually found Jesus and is now being used by God in huge kingdom-building ways. A few years back, Pete founded In Triumph, a ministry that rescues and disciples troubled young men.

While God can and will use music made by non-believers for His purposes, it doesn’t mean the non-believers He uses will spend eternity with Him in heaven. Pete’s story of redemption is glorious, but sadly, not all will end in a similar way. The Bible tells us in Luke 12:48 that God expects much from those who are given much. Clearly, large platforms fall on the side of much. If Luke 12 is indeed true, then celebrity status comes with giant responsibility and eternal ramifications. I can’t imagine standing before God after living the monster-controlled life of a rock star and answering His question, “So, how did you use the platform I gave you?”

READ THE FULL BOOK

Keith Stancil Logo

chapter sixteen: MONSTERS OF COMMITMENT

READ CREATING MONSTERS FREE

Claw B&W

chapter sixteen:

MONSTERS OF COMMITMENT

Growing up in a God-centered family a afforded me great teaching through the example my parents lived. One of my biggest takeaways from childhood was learning the meaning of integrity. Dad taught me that aside from following God, integrity is a person’s biggest asset. Integrity is also apparently a big deal to God as there is quite a bit of real estate dedicated to it in the Bible. A few verses that I keep close by to remind me of the importance of integrity include:

But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.

(Psalm 41:12, ESV)

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
(Proverbs 11:3, ESV)

The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!
(Proverbs 20:7, ESV)

When I see a person exuding integrity, I can usually trace it back to their parents. Even many I worked with in the mainstream music industry hold integrity with high regard. Commitment plays an important role in most business relationships, and it exposes one’s level of integrity to the world. During my years of working at both mainstream and Christian record companies, I generally experienced a high level of integrity. Of course, there are normally contracts in place to help folks keep their integrity in tact, but there is also a high level of respect and pride in honoring commitments.

Surprisingly, when I entered artist management I began to experience something a bit different. First of all, I noticed many artists were leery of making commitments as their minds had been filled with horror stories of bad deals and contracts. While I have heard many of the same stories, I also understand that the music business has evolved and much of the “music business swindling artists out of money” of the past has been forced out. Technology has made much of the business that was once hidden very transparent. In the past, artists with large platforms who felt mistreated used their voice to broadcast to the world how they were wronged. Their voices were often heard louder than those they accused as most business entities quietly default to litigation to settle disputes. While I understand an artist’s hesitancy to enter into a contract, they certainly have an opportunity to carry out due diligence when considering partnering with a business. In Christian music, I would hope that process includes prayer. Prayer and due diligence should help make a wise decision as the Christian music business is quite small.

As we launched our artist management company, we expected a high level of integrity from artists. After all, we would be working with Christians right? We were advised by trusted veterans in the business to use contracts. While we followed the advice, we were also willing to begin working with artists before contracts were finalized. Big mistake! We had several experiences where we worked for artists for a year, only to find them avoiding making the commitment official. When it came time to pay us, they would lean on the fact that a contract hadn’t been signed. As a result, contracts became a much bigger priority for us. However, thinking contracts would solve commitment issues was our second biggest mistake.

One of the artists we worked with joyously allowed us to help build their platform. After years of hard work developing them as an artist and songwriter, we secured them a record label. The day they signed the record deal, something in their demeanor changed. Diana picked up on it immediately, while I was a little slower to recognize the change; and I probably chose to ignore it. The day following the record deal signing, the artist hit us with “here’s why we don’t think we should pay you commission on a large part of our advance.” I was extremely shocked and disappointed that the thought of not paying us would even enter their mind. We had invested a great deal of our lives over a few years making little to no money while preparing them to get a record deal, and this was how they were saying thank you? It was their parent who delivered the message, making the artist’s trail to the absence of integrity obvious. Eventually, the same artist would walk away from our contract as if it never existed, once again being encouraged to do so by parents who proudly wave the Christian banner. Was this really happening in the Christian music industry? I pray the artist eventually realizes the mistake they made in taking their parents’ poor advice and being dishonorable. Hearing stories from other managers, I’ve realized we weren’t the first or only ones to experience an absence of integrity from artists in Christian music. While there are plenty of artists who operate with a high level of integrity, it’s sad to see even one Christian who doesn’t.

Clearly, the monster desires to control our commitments. Stripping integrity and honor from a believer is a crafty way the monster prevents one from reaching God’s purpose for their life and ministry. Should we expect a non-believer to be receptive to a message from someone with a reputation of not honoring commitments? As I stated earlier, even many operating in the mainstream music industry regard integrity with a high level of importance. As believers, shouldn’t we desire to show the world how to live with integrity? Honoring commitments is one of the most visible opportunities we have to do so. God can give us the power to resist the monster.

READ THE FULL BOOK

Keith Stancil Logo