I compose because I have to.

It’s in my nature – a drive to interpret and organize – to distill my experience.

First really, for myself – I’m a much better version of myself when I’m composing.

And while in some Christian conversations there’s tension regarding selfishness or putting energy into pleasure, I think it’s a basic reflection of God’s creative impulse to work in this way –

Like in the first story, where He rests after concluding “It is good.”

In a sense, He was His own first audience, and so it is for most composers.

Refining and revising until you’re satisfied is a sacred labor.

Regarding giving, I try to live generously and open-handed with whatever gifts I have because I believe they’re given to me both for my benefit and for the greater whole.

So I have to be brave in the way I care for myself by doing creative things and also in the way I share myself.

By sharing (presenting/performing), I also step deeper into my community – seeking to be known or understood by my family. (This is coming from a pretty solitary person.)

I try to come to that part of the work with not just an artistic rigor, but also real honesty, believing that I help to create trust and intimacy by a willingness to be vulnerable.

I also believe that bravery in sharing creates space to experience the timeless God within time.

I’ve been moved so deeply by other artists’ compositions and performances – in ways that are hard to describe ..those holy encounters that no one else would understand.

Being faithful to show up for your work (your music) ultimately contributes to the flow of those holy encounters in the world.

So I believe we’re all called to pursue (or simply follow) seemingly frivolous artistic impulses.

It’s a rich life when we all bring gifts born in sacred solitude.

The bigger idea is that I believe God is Himself invested and participating – calling us, inspiring us ..present in and through our individual efforts.

By His design, it all rises into a beautiful composition that we sometimes glimpse in awe, and will eventually perceive even more clearly.

Join, learn, and grow with other like-minded church music directors in our FREE private Facebook group. Click below to join!

About the Author: For the past two decades, Tom has endeared himself to audiences across the U.S. and Europe with a unique delivery of story and song that’s both transporting and intimate. Offering his recordings on a pay-what-you-will basis has always reinforced the kind of gathering-of-friends his concerts have become.

 “This affords me and my listeners the risk and reward – the connection inherent to giving. I believe there’s no such thing as an independent artist.. my grassroots family has kept me buoyant over the years, and helped me celebrate the uncertainty of doing things a bit outside of the music industry.. but it’s always felt more like a calling than a career.”       – Tom

In addition to his concert schedule, Tom conducts workshops throughout the year on song-craft, performance and the intersections of faith and art.