Why I Quit Music for Missions and What I Was Most Afraid Of

Nine years ago, I had what you might call an epiphany, and what I would consider a spiritual awakening. Back then, I was positioned in a thriving music career, where I was responsible for finding, signing, and developing bands, in what is known in the industry as A&R (Artists & Repertoire) work.
Chad Johnson

Chad is the founder of Come&Live!

Website: www.facebook.com/chadjohnson

Although I loved music, I had never studied music nor business, had no rhythm, was unable to carry a tune, and couldn’t play a single instrument. I felt an earnest appreciation to be part of a team that was pioneering careers for wildly talented artists.
 
My spiritual epiphany, to combine what we both might call it, was coming to the awareness that being a privileged music guy wasn’t the path meant for my life.
 
The problem was, I couldn’t stop dreaming of something different.
 
Still, I was afraid that leaving it all would result in career suicide. I had a young family, depending entirely on my income. I didn’t have total clarity as to what I would do if I exited the music industry, and I had no backup plan if everything should fall apart.
 
I was even more fearful, though, that if I didn’t follow my heart, I would forever live in regret of what could have, or would have been.
 
As I clambered for direction—any kind of confirmation that I hadn't gone spiritually insane—the Holy Spirit peacefully and unexpectedly gave me four simple, yet bold instructions:
 
1. Make your life all about Jesus
2. Stop worrying about money
3. Equip artists and others
4. Give yourself away
 
My true calling came at the peak of music industry success—an unexpected, undeserved, twelve year career, generously affixing my name to an album or two. With my wife’s nervous blessing, I abruptly left the conventional music world, feeling one part impassioned and three parts foolish.
 
I cashed out my 401(k), gold plaques, and the record collection, and I began living an adventure that has, albeit reluctantly,  led me to every continent on the planet with Come&Live!, the nonprofit community several friends and I started in response to those four instructions I had sensed the Spirit prompting me with.
Not following Jesus, my heart, or what Jesus was saying to my heart, would have been the safest option available to me. No one was asking me, much less telling me, to leave the music business. Years later, I’m fairly sure that had I not left, in due course, I would have failed, because my heart had lost all the passion it once had for the business of music.
 
It’s hard to stay alive very long without passion.
 
Maybe I could have tried harder to re-engage, or to give the whole thing another shot. As fathers, providing for our families is a huge responsibility that we can never ignore. Truth be told, I prayerfully contemplated my music industry dismissal for nearly three years before eventually putting in my notice.  
 
Giving in to the temptation to avoid risk would have been safe, but I would only have been a parading facade. Ultimately, I would have missed a life layered with thousands of risks.
Whatever risk God has you taking (or is calling you into) will likely require far more courage than you currently possess. I wish I could promise you that it would all be easy, but that would be false advertising.
 
So, I encourage you with what has encouraged me:
 
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." - Philippians 1:6
 
Jesus, remind me, remind us, right here and now, that You are far from finished with us. You are faithful. I admit that much of my journey away from the music industry has looked drastically different than I anticipated. Some of my original motivation to quit music was fueled by frustration against a business I no longer felt passion for, rather than by a pure desire to see your Kingdom advanced anywhere and everywhere.
 
What risk has Jesus called you to take in life?
 
Did that risk result in (or is it resulting in) what you originally hoped it would?

Related items

  • Artist Interview: CrossFya
    Crossfya was birthed out of a passion for music and faith in Jesus. The three-piece lineup is a blend of DJ, rappers and singers from the UK. During their high-energy, live shows, they mix Future House, Trap and Dance music. In this Skype interview with founder/deejay Tim Cooke, aka "Lantern," we discover what puts the "fya" in Crossfya.
  • Change or Die

    A good friend of mine spent years learning how to play 80’s guitar solos. The only problem was they were going out of fashion. It was bad timing. For whatever reason, he refused to change his style, and so for years, he was alone and frustrated because he couldn’t find a band that wanted him.

    There is nothing sadder than getting stuck in a trend or music genre that is no longer relevant.

    I’ve seen the same thing happen in ministry.

  • Episode 66: Hillsong’s Carl Lentz Gets Grilled and a Terrible Discussion About Netflix
    Chad’s busy recording his audio book so what do we do? We record a podcast without him. In this episode, Ben, David and Luke look at a recent interview The View did with Carl Lentz (pastor of Hillsong NYC) where he was asked what his stance is on abortion and homosexuality. They discuss his answer, and the importance of pointing to Jesus and God’s love without compromising the truth of the Gospel. There are rants, disagreements and of course David’s Random Story!
  • I Don’t Do Paperwork!

    I am passionate about challenging millennials to get outside of the church and boldly share the Gospel. Each generation faces unique barriers to following God in a radical way. In every age, we are called to subvert the values of secular culture and confront the idols that are destroying people. There is perhaps no greater idol today than ourselves.

  • Episode 65: Harvey Weinstein, Digital Church and Chucking Cans at Possums
    With the sexual abuse allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein, the regulars tackle this sensitive subject, and discuss whether or not the messaging in our movies and music may be a contributing factor worth considering. They talk about how some churches are choosing to go fully digital, with online streaming, and if that can truly be considered "church", as well as the time that David hit a possum in the head with a can of beans.
Come&Live!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE digital copy of "Revolutionary, Ten Principles That Will Empower Christian Artists to Change the World" by David Pierce.

Country
Please wait