The Songwriter

The Suicide Of Gospel Music

Psalms 50:1-6
4 He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me this consecrated people,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”

Last night I learned about the suicide of a Gospel singer. And this is not the first time I’ve received news of this kind. A few years ago, a Gospel minister preached, and sang at my church. One month later, that very preacher/singer who ministered at my church, just one month prior, committed suicide.

It breaks my heart to know that someone who spent the majority of their life singing and telling people that Jesus is the answer for all of life’s problems, could be so far removed from Jesus, when they needed Him most. They were fooled by Satan into believing that not even God could fix the mess of their lives. I have to wonder, did they ever really know the Christ they sang and preached about? I hope that they did. But certainly, they were not “following Christ” when they decided to end their own life. That is not a decision that Christ has ever led anyone to make. The decision of suicide, always comes from another source, other than Christ.

I know another Gospel singer, whose whole world blew up and came crumbling down around him, over night, a few years ago. He became suicidal. Yet something about the message and the power of redemption that he sang about, found it’s way through the darkness that surrounded him, and he did not take his own life. He somehow found the courage to let “real” christians who loved him, gather around and hold him up, when he couldn’t do it for himself.

This latest news of suicide makes me stop and take inventory of my own life, my own relationship with God, my ministry, my writing, and anything else that I try to do in the Name of CHRIST. Are the decisions I’m making being made as a result of me following Christ?

It has not been too many years ago that I battled serious, clinical depression. I sought help, and I found it. I found Godly council in Christians for whom I have deep respect. And I found God to be real when I needed Him to be. At my lowest points, when suicide seemed to be an option, thank God my Salvation was “Real Enough” to point me in another direction. To God Be The Glory!

If you are finished with your life, why not try giving it to Jesus? Surely He can do a better job with it than you have.

All of this causes me to wonder, how “real” the salvation message is to the Gospel Music industry as a whole?

When I got my first paying job in a full time Gospel Quartet, we worked a lot of concerts with other professional groups. I soon learned that not everybody on stage who claimed to follow Christ, actually did. I asked by boss, who had been in the industry for 30 years, why someone who was not a “Christ” follower, would even want to sing Gospel music. His reply to me was, that for many unsaved people who have talent, Gospel music is an easier road than Country or Pop. It’s cleaner and pretty safe, most of the time. It’s a smaller industry, and easier to make your way to the top without spending the millions of dollars it takes in other music styles.

As I write this, news is on the TV of yet another terrorist attack, just two weeks after previous attack. People everywhere are dying and crossing over into eternity without Christ. The Gospel Music industry carries the answer to all of this world’s problems. It’s Jesus Christ! But how is that message of the Gospel supposed to make a difference in this world if we don’t live up to Psalms 50:5. We have to be the “Consecrated People” who have made a covenant with Jesus Christ. It is a blood covenant made at Calvary’s cross, when you accept Him as your Redeemer and Lord.

The issue of Ministry vs Entertainment needs to be laid to rest forever. Gospel Music can be entertaining, but if it is Entertainment alone, THEN THE ENTERTAINER NEEDS TO SHUT UP, AND SIT DOWN. The “Gospel” is serious business, where people’s lives, and where they spend eternity, are at stake.

People are dying while some “Entertainers” present a gospel show to “Christians” whom they go back stage and make fun of. I have personally heard many performers make fun of the very people who buy their CD’s, and are moved to tears by their talented presentations of Gospel songs.

There are Gospel Singers who have never made a “real” public confession of faith, even though they stand on the stage and present Gospel songs as though they are Christians themselves. Those people are impostors of the Gospel. It is a sickening thought of how many Gospel “Entertainers” consider their audiences to be fools. There are those who consider their fans to be simple minded idiots who are easily moved emotionally. It’s a “Gospel” show intended for the sole purpose of selling products at the merchandise table after the concert. And too often, the people sitting in the seats don’t know the difference, because they don’t know Christ either. It’s a classic case of the blind leading the blind.

We are commanded as “Followers of Christ” to daily take up our cross and “FOLLOW” Him. Jesus Christ is the leader. And where does He lead? He leads in Green Pastures and the Path of Righteousness. He leads us beside Still Waters. He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death, but remains beside us so we don’t have to fear any evil thing while we are there. He leads us to a table that He has prepared for us, right on the battle field in the presence of our enemies. He is the one who Leads. He is the one who Anoints. He puts Angels all around us. He has strategically placed Goodness and Mercy in a position to follow us. And He leads us all the way to our final goal, the Eternal House of the Lord.

If the Gospel Music industry follows any other path, or tries to take the lead down a path of our own, then we are committing spiritual suicide.
We cannot, and must not lose sight of the Gospel and why we proclaim it.
It is LIFE!

Let me ask you a question.
Gospel Songwriter – when was the last time you fasted and prayed over your songwriting?

Gospel Singer – when was the last time you got alone in a prayer room and sought God’s power and anointing to change lives at your next concert? Or even make a change in your own life?

Christian Record Company Executives – when was the last time you looked at the impact of an Artist’s message and presentation of the Gospel, before looking at marketing potential? Are the doors of your company open for the ministry of spreading the Gospel, or marketing entertainers? Why are you a “Gospel” record label?

To those who have chosen to end the precious gift of life that God gave you, I pray that you rest in peace, and that God has mercy on your soul. He will be the one seated on the throne, on that final judgement day. He will see your heart, and He knows all things. He will judge righteously and justly, according to the blood of Calvary’s cross. And I promise you, He won’t make one mistake.

Daryl Williams

Nominated for several awards including Grammys, Doves, Singing News Fan Awards, and Absolutely Gospel Music Awards, Daryl Williams has made an undeniable impact on the Gospel music industry. This prolific songwriter of over nine hundred songs has had his songs recorded by Larnelle Harris, The Gaither Vocal Band, The Cathedrals, The John Hagee Family, The Speer Family, The Nelons, Gold City, LuLu Roman, John Starnes, Jimmy Swaggart with Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and many more.
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