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Hollywood's top movie soundtrack vocalist says ministry is every Christian’s ‘mandatory duty’

Steve Amerson
Steve Amerson |

Hollywood's leading movie soundtrack vocalist, Steve Amerson, says his passion for singing goes back long before he fully understood that his musical gift came from God. 

In an interview with The Christian Post, Amerson, whose songs have been featured 175 films, including popular movies such as "The Hunt for Red October," "The Patriot," "Star Wars," "Rogue One" and Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," said that by the time he was 4, his parents couldn’t help but notice he was already an “extraordinarily” gifted musician.

As Amerson reached late adolescence, he continued to pursue studies in music that included over a decade of singing lessons. He later attended Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he combined his love for music and interest in theology to form a deeper knowledge of his faith.

Amerson, who's based in Los Anees and has his own Christian music ministry known as Amerson Ministries, said he never anticipated that his musical studies would lead to a  decadeslong career in the arts as a singer, songwriter and recording artist with numerous albums. 

Now age 67, Amerson said he's been able to reflect on and transcribe many of his memories from throughout his music career in his memoir,Tales of a Troubadour.

The book tells of Amerson’s life journey into his music career, his love for God and his passion for evangelizing, particularly through his written music and singing. 

“When I sing, I feel God’s pleasure,” Amerson told CP, noting that his ministry has given him a multitude of opportunities to minister to others about Jesus through the words of songs. “I believe we are called to give our God-given gifts to others to glorify God. We are called to be salt and light in the world.” 

Amerson said he founded his ministry in 1988 to reach the global Church with Christian music and minister in song to those who are considered “unchurched.”

Through his ministry, Amerson said he's reached people across the United States, Israel, Australia, Canada, Turkey and Greece. He's also reached people for Christ as a guest soloist for the crusades of the late Billy Graham and Luis Palau, and traveled and ministered with Pastors David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindoll and Jack Hayford, along with Christian teacher and author Bruce Wilkinson, according to his website.

In the political realm, Amerson told CP that since 2014 he's been asked to sing at the U.S. Capitol for worship services that have been a tradition since the early 1800s. The tradition, however, ceased from 1869 to 2014, Amerson said. Since the gatherings resumed seven years ago, Amerson has been a frequent attendee of the worship gathering where he prays with congressional leaders. 

“It’s not just about making beautiful sounds, it’s about allowing lyrics to pierce people’s hearts,” he said, noting that he learned that important lesson during the early days of his music career. “The most rewarding parts of my career and life have been spent using my gifts, not just musically, but relationally and through words to communicate God’s love and grace to others.” 

When Amerson attended the services before they were put on hiatus due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, he said he'd handwrite 200 notes to hand out to people in Congress. Each letter shared a different Bible verse with words of encouragement. 

Even though he hasn’t sung at the Capitol worship services in over a year, Amerson said he's continued to deliver 200 handwritten notes each month to members of Congress to spread the Word of God.

“It’s not just music. If I’m speaking with someone randomly at any place I go, I often find myself sharing the Gospel with them or praying for them,” he told CP. “I believe in divine appointments where Christians are called to encourage others — whether we know the people or not — by what we say.” 

Amerson said he grew up in the church and was raised by Christian parents. His father was a United Methodist pastor. At age 17, while he was working at a Young Life Camp as a dish washer, he said it became clear to him more than any other time in his life that God can use anyone in any setting to bring glory to Him. 

Amerson said that throughout the decades of his life, many of which were spent attending various churches and engaging in personal evangelism efforts alongside his music ministry, he has noticed a trend among Christians. He said he finds that it’s common for some Christians to miss out on opportunities to use their gifts to share the hope found in Jesus and that in these cases, Christians will also shy away from speaking to others about the Word of truth found in the Bible. 

In Matthew 5:13-16, Amerson said, God instructs His followers to not only be “salt and light, but not to hide your light or spiritual gifts and to 'let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.'”

Among the most memorable moments throughout his music career, Amerson said, was when he ministered to someone while using his spiritual gift of singing faith-based music at a secular symphony concert. After the concert, he walked past the orchestra that had just played while he sang, and a woman from the audience, who worked as a nurse, stopped him. The woman proceeded to say: “‘Hearing you share your God-given gifting with so much love and passion is inspiring me to go forward and do my job as a nurse with more godly love to glorify God. Thank you.’”  

“People often think that sharing their gifts in a faith-based way and preaching the Gospel to others is reserved for leaders in the churches,” Amerson said. “But they fail to realize that all people of faith should pray for others and spread the Word through word-of-mouth and through their God-given talents.” 

Amerson said he believes it’s important for Christians in any industry — whether someone is a mechanic, teacher, lawyer or any other job —to fulfill a “mandatory duty” of being a witness and ministering to others in various ways. 

“I am often grieved when I have prayed for random people and they always tend to ask me, ‘Are you a minister?’ I shouldn’t have to be a minister to do what God calls everyone to do,” Amerson stressed. “We should all be praying for random people who need to hear prayer, wherever we go — not just pastors and ministers. People’s lives are genuinely impacted by genuine prayer.”

Amerson added that he's looking forward to people reading Tales of a Troubadour, which highlights his journey and how he found his faith, founded his faith-based music ministry and overcame adversity in finding work within the music industry.

Amerson said he hopes readers will be inspired to not only surrender to Jesus, but also discover what their spiritual gifts are. And if readers are inspired to find out how God has gifted them by reading his book, Amerson hopes that they'll take things a step further and share their gifts to glorify God and then inspire others to do the same based on coming to a knowledge and acceptance of Jesus as Lord. 

“I hope the world will be touched and truly moved to action for Christ because the Word of God is the source of truth. And truth is lacking in our world today,” Amerson said.

“We often hear of people sharing ‘their truth’ and ‘my truth.’ But what people need to focus on is the truth. I ground my life and decisions on The Truth which lies in Jesus Christ alone,” he added.

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