(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
There has been a lot of back and forth regarding Christian artist auditioning for reality singing shows. This was especially pushed to the forefront a few weeks ago when Christian recording artist and worship leader, Anthony Evans, auditioned for the hit NBC show, "The Voice." Some of Evans' supporters questioned his actions. Some expressed confusion as to why he would audition for the show when he was already a successful Christian artist. There was no surprise when he made the show (if you have ever heard him sing then you would know this to be true) and was placed on celebrity judge, Christina Aguilera's team. The action of Evans auditioning and making the show has led to the belief that he is looking to cross over and sing popular music. Apparently, Evans felt some push back from his appearance on the show from his fans as he sent out this tweet last week, "To all of my core supporters…I'm not going 'Secular.' I just can't sing 'How He Loves' or 'Let It Rain' on The Voice stage." Evans then proceeded to tell his followers "don't worry." He later did a television interview where he said, "I'm not trying to pursue some other career."
This brings to the forefront a much needed conversation. Should Christian artist be able to take their artistry outside the four walls of the church? Can Christian worship leaders and artist stay true to themselves and their beliefs if they are on a non-Christian singing reality show? My answer is yes.
One of the biggest mistakes that we make as Christians is thinking that God only resides in the church, but this could not be further from the truth. I was once told that God doesn't just exist within the four walls of the church and that He (God) has people everywhere. In the case of the singing reality shows, Christians should audition for them. They should be a presence on these reality shows. I can hear the counter argument being made that these artists won't be singing worship songs, so they aren't showing people Jesus. Though I think this is a valid argument, I think it's a moot point. Firstly, singing a worship song doesn't necessarily show non-believers Jesus anymore than you standing in a garage makes you a car. Secondly, I have come to find that showing people Jesus makes it easier for you to tell them about him. No, Christians most times can't and won't sing worship music on these shows (there have been a few exceptions). But who they are, how they are and how they conduct themselves can speak Jesus a whole lot louder than a song ever could.
I remember during season 5 of "American Idol," then contestant Mandisa confronted Simon, a judge on the show, about a comment he made about her weight. I can't remember what she said verbatim, but she said something to the effect of, "if Jesus can forgive me then I can forgive you." Millions of people watched her handle what was a hurtful situation with dignity and class; her reaction to Simon showed millions the heart of Jesus. Now, Mandisa is one of the leading voices in Christian music. Though she has touched thousands through her music, I guarantee you; she was a greater witness for Jesus during that moment with Simon than at any other time in her career.
I once heard a speaker say, "There are two types of people in this world: a missionary and a mission field. A missionary tells people about Jesus and a mission field needs to hear about Jesus." Let's not judge someone's mission field. Hollywood is a mission field; someone has to go. Instead of judging, can we pray and ask God to lead them and to their light shine wherever he sends them? I don't know Anthony Evans' heart, but my hope is that he lets his light shine brightly on the mission field of "The Voice."