It’s been nearly 3 full years since we last gathered as a community for CMB Momentum. I’m incredibly pumped to gather with so many friends and colleagues in the radio and music community. These past 14+ months have been incredibly challenging for us all. I think it’s caused me to dig even deeper into my purpose and mission in the music community. I know it’s cause so many of you to do the same thing. Knowing that this is the first major gathering for our industry in quite a while, I wanted to reflect on something that’s been on my heart for a while.
In the past, Momentum conference has been a significant place for music companies to showcase artists. In many instances, it’s where our industry is able to experience a song or an act for the first time. It’s typically the toughest room any artist has or will ever play to. Sure, there are a spattering of people throughout the room who typically soak it all up. However, at every table there is at least one or a handful of folks who are impossible to impress. Distracted by our phones…group texts, IG posts, @ArmChairPD Twitter threads occupy minds as artists share their stories and their songs. The back of the room is typically filled with label people, booking agents, managers and publishers who are even more impossible to impress. For artists, this environment is often shocking when they’re hoping to engage the room, lead people in a moment of worship, remind people of the gospel, share a remarkable story, etc.
Space and time away from something often allows us to reflect. In doing so, I want to encourage you to do a few things…and to leave a few other things in the past.
1. Celebrate the reality that we are here! It’s such a joy to do the work we do. We get to be part of an industry that is built on songs that make much of Jesus. That’s wild! AND we’re finally gathering together after nearly three years. Seek to enjoy each moment. We are not promised next year…we aren’t even promised tomorrow. Celebrate the moments and the experiences this week. Soak it all in.
2. Put your phone down and listen. Engage the artists and the speakers. Participate if invited…or even if NOT invited. How wild would it be for an artist to one day say, “performing at Momentum 2021 was one of the most encouraging things I’ve even done as an artist”…that’d be crazy!
3. Leave the music meeting at home. Allow yourselves to enjoy the performances. Surrounding your ego, desire to judge, your cynicism, your research, your preconceived notions and anything else that might be holding you back from experiencing what the Holy Spirit would have for you this week. This week does not have to be an evaluation of songs or artists. It might be the refresh your soul needs. You might be the person who finally experiences the right song at the right time.
4. Seek to encourage others and remind each other of the gospel this week. The past year has been really difficult. We don’t know the battles each other are facing. There are a lot of weary people in the room this week. I’m one of them. Lay down your natural instinct to compare yourself to others. Set aside insecurities. Get to know some people this week. Encourage others! Offer a kind word. Stop and pray for someone who you suspect might be overwhelmed or hurting. We are the Kingdom! We are all facing the trouble Jesus guaranteed us that we would face. Take heart, He’s overcome the world. Let’s remind each other of that this week.
5. Be present with people. This conference is loaded with distractions. There is a tendency to look past people…to see who else is around. It can make the people you are with feel like you are looking for a better offer…someone more exciting to talk to. Enjoy the present moments. When they pass, move along. Making someone feel seen and heard can be such a gift. Let’s practice that this week.
Momentum 2015 changed by life. I had just quit the music business and moved back to Wisconsin to live at my parents house while we picked up the pieces and began a reset. I walked into the room that year incredibly insecure. I did not feel like I belonged. But I came. I was present. I chose to walk into the room with vulnerability and with honesty about my life and what had happened…and why I was there. God transformed me prior to that moment. I thought it was all over for me but in surrendering my dream to be someone in this industry, He was stripped my of my idolatry. He was giving me a new identity. He was showing me that JESUS was enough for me. That work the Holy Spirit was doing in my heart was also spoken to me in the hallway that week by someone who had eyes to see me and hears to hear what the Lord wanted me to know. His words helped set me free from my insecurity and fear. Momentum 2015 was a week I’ll not soon forget.
Momentum 2021 might just be the catalyst for your encouragement and freedom like it was for me 6 years ago. It might be the moment the Lord uses you to bring this for someone else. I encourage you to be present this week and to open yourself up to the experience that the Holy Spirit desires for you. Life is short and the work you do matters. Let this week refresh your soul so that you can return to your family and friends and job ready to dig even deeper to make the gospel known!