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.
During the years I lived in Amsterdam, there was a group there called the Metal Missionaries. For a time, they were seeing significant fruit reaching this particular scene.
When this style of music was no longer mainstream in Holland, they became unfruitful, and their ministry died. This was because they had based their entire strategy on metal music, and were unwilling to adapt to the changing times.
Sadly, it seems many bands and ministries lose their edge because they fixate on the latest trend. We live in a time when preferences shift regularly, and unless we are willing to recognize this and react accordingly, we will quickly lose our relevance.
When I started No Longer Music back in the 80’s, it was at the height of the punk rock revolution in Amsterdam and throughout Europe. Given this, it made a lot of sense for me to start a punk band to reach this scene.
We ended up being one of the pioneer Christian punk rock bands that played exclusively outside of the church.
This caused our band to receive a lot of attention, and both the Christian and non-Christian media were always wanting to talk with us, because we were relevant to what was happening during that time.
I did countless interviews on TV and radio, and articles were written about my band in well known secular newspapers all over Europe. But as the times changed and the punk scene died, I needed to adapt. If I had been stubborn and refused to reinvent the style of my band, I would’ve ended up playing in retirement homes for old people with mohawks (which is fine, if that’s what God's called you to do).
What I realized early on was that if God was going to use me as a radical voice to the Global Youth Culture, I had to be willing to let my band evolve and keep up with the times.
Since No Longer Music started, it has gone through four significant shifts in music genre and style, and because of that, it is more effective than ever.
Today, we are playing bigger shows, reaching more people, and having a greater impact—all because I was open to change.
If you want to have an impact that lasts for decades, embrace change and let your art evolve. Otherwise, get used to playing for ten people in a lame coffee shop.