Creating With the Creator

A songwriter who co-writes will tell you there is magic that happens when two people merge their creative juices. Stories emanate with different views, from all angles. What culminates is a song with depth, seen from two different sides of the story. Just listen to a song that has been successfully co-written. There is a unique strength to the song that happens when two talented people collaborate. Having a relationship with another songwriter who ‘gets you’ is magic. One that can finish your sentences and see what you are seeing is priceless. Just imagine if you worked along with the ultimate cowriter. The Creator himself!

Genesis 1:1 tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth, it was good. Our Creator is the master storyteller. The master songwriter. He took nothingness and created somethingness. Molding a song called Earth in seven days. Such beauty in his majestic works. The blue of the sky has many levels…it’s not just ‘blue’ as we see it, but it has a nuance all of its own, many different shades, combining so many colors. The heights of the mountains, the depths of the sea, the noise that the wind makes when it runs through the valley, the dance that raindrops perform as they spiral down the windowpane. All of God’s creation is such a beautiful song. We not only hear it, but we see it. That is what truly makes a good song, one that moves us by affecting all of our senses.

God’s word continuously speaks about what we can do with his strength. Phillipians 4:13, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives me strength.” The bible tells us in Genesis 2:18 that “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We think that these are both true in all aspects of life, especially when we are dealing with the creative parts of ourselves. Years ago it was unheard of to create a song mixing two genres. Today, though, through joint effort, many musicians are understanding the essence of combining two seeming-less different genres into one song. That latest love song on the radio, featuring a rap/hip-hop artist. It plays with your mind, twists the story into a masterpiece that could not have moved us in the same way if it was done alone. When we create with the Creator, His creativity brings our song to different heights.

We coined the term “Conduit of Creativity.” When you think of a conduit, it is like a section of pipe. This particular creative conduit is shaped like an L. The top end is where creativity flows in from the creator. At the other opening is creativity that flows out to the people. The conduit itself represents a human. The role for the human is to allow creativity to flow unimpeded through the conduit. When this happens, the creativity is rich in depth and holds value to consumers.

God could have allowed creativity to flood over the world like hot caramel over an apple (He actually did this in Genesis chapter 1), but if He had continued, it may have been too much for the world to absorb and endure. Here is an interesting observation about the nature of God. He created us in his own image so He could collaborate with us to write His Story, through our stories! He also understood the concept of not doing it alone. He wanted us involved in His work, penning along with Him.

So throughout the ages, God had partnered with a small fraction of humans… His chosen minstrels, whom He knew would be sensitive enough to detect even the smallest portion of creativity flowing in from above, and who positioned themselves to be a conduit of creativity. It takes a very special person to be in tune to the frequency where God is transmitting. This is why creative people are so sensitive in nature. They are literally tuning in 24/7/365 to creativity they can barely perceive and are constantly searching the dial for the best signal.

Creatives are generally “up and down and all around” types of people. Meaning, they tend to be sparked by the side of the brain that governs behavior, intellect, emotions. Have you ever come across a placid creative? I haven’t! Creatives are curious, creatives are risky, creatives are compulsive. All of these traits are what keeps the conduit of creativity from clogging up and blocking the creative flow.

Ever have writer’s block? Almost every creative has at one time or another. Why does this happen? We can explain this phenomenon in one word. Self. Self is what blocks the conduit every time. When self becomes the focus during the creative process, it is like having a 12” hairball down the sink and caught in the U part of the pipe. Nothing gets through. In order to get rid of the block, some spiritual Draino is in order.

Creativity should not be undertaken for acquiring financial or personal gain. When it is, creativity greatly suffers. This is why most music you hear on the radio sounds the same. It becomes formulaic, generic, and homogenized. However, when a new artist hits the airwaves with a brand new sound it is because they have their pipeline cleared and are creating solely to create and enjoy the process of creating. Commerce is not a bad thing per se, but it should not be put before creativity. Creativity comes first, and then if the creation has value, commerce will follow. The Master songwriter understood all of this. Creation was first and foremost on His thoughts.

Tuning in to the Creator with a purposeful attitude and with the mindset of collaboration is the first step. Sitting down with His words, listening to and viewing His creation and believing that He is writing next to you, pen in hand, will give you peace and calm in your songwriting. John 3:30 (msg) states, “That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for Him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.” Move over and receive writing guidance for your song from the Creator Himself! Slip off to the sidelines and create a great song together!!!

Creatively His, Keith and Sue Mohr
Keith and Sue Mohr

Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr of “The Mohr Creative Group” have years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded The Inner Vizion in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide. Also check out The Indie Mechanics for more helpful info!

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Am I Good Enough?

Am I good enough?

We allow the above question to attach itself to so many areas of our lives. It travels through the mind of every young person entering into the world of sports. Actors ask this of themselves with each role presented to them. First-time parents have this wonder floating through their brain months before their child enters this world. It is a phrase that is voiced both out loud and inside from an early age. That healthy competition that begins in our youth sparks the flames of self-doubt as we enter into our teens and those flames are fanned into adulthood.

Am I good enough? It is a subjective question. Many times asked and answered solely based on one’s feelings or comparison to others. This question is reflected in the eyes of contestants during our Nashville Rising Star songwriter open-mic competition. As rounds continue and each songwriter listens to others share their songs, what they thought was a great song they had crafted, they now question.

For many Christian creatives, they find this to be a daily and ongoing struggle. They state and truly feel that they have been called by God to use their talents for His glory. The words, though, find themselves precariously perched upon a double-edged sword. Doubt heavily weighs upon them and their creativity wanes. Put on shelves awaiting the dust to settle.

Am I good enough? Every human has voiced this at some time in their life. It seems to come with the role of being human. The words that are being penned in this article are not directed to the person that has a momentary thought. It is the second thought and the third thought and those that are without end that will incapacitate vision and cripple mission. A Christian who writes and performs to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, to give the world hope through their music and to bring joy to an audience, must learn how to become the master of that thought.

Am I good enough? I sought God’s word for the answers.

Isaiah 43:4 Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Psalm 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Isaiah 49:16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Psalm 139:13-14 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

It seems to us that God thinks you are good enough. As a matter of fact, we believe He puts a strike through the word enough.

The real question when one ponders ‘am I good enough?’ should not be determining the amount of goodness in one’s heart or art. The question we should ask ourselves is, ‘good enough for what?’ First we must define the word good, quantify the word enough and finally determine the word what.

You may be thinking, at this juncture, about the individuals who truly cannot carry a tune or write a lyric worth reading. This article is not challenging those facts. Training and education are a necessity in every field. Striving to always grow better in your gifts is a given. Everyone is called to different avenues with their gifts. Talent is something that will be recognized and brought to the forefront. Some are given large platforms in which to help change the hearts of man through music. Others are called to their local church to lead worship in their congregation. Many will use music to just reach that one, with a guitar and a song that came from their heart.

Knowing that you are good enough is a first step in honoring what God has called you to do. Made good by our Father in heaven, sheds a whole new light.

Creatively His, Keith and Sue Mohr
Keith and Sue Mohr

Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr of “The Mohr Creative Group” have years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded The Inner Vizion in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide. Also check out The Indie Mechanics for more helpful info!

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Top 13 Tips for Indie Success

We recently shared this information at the Christian Musician Summit near Seattle, WA in November 2015. Here’s our notes!

“Top 13 Tips for Indie Success”
Keith and Sue Mohr aka “The Indie Mechanics” have served thousands of independent artists and songwriters over the past 20 years. Keith and Sue will share their “Baker’s Dozen List” list of must do’s and dont’s to take your music career from 0 to 60 in no time flat! Find out what they are in this can’t miss class!

1- Discover Who You Are and your passion.  What is the desire of your heart? Do you feel called? Why?

When you know who you are, it is more apparent to those who don’t know who you are, because your content will be more refined and defined. Knowing who you are focuses your content. Having defined content makes you more professional, and guides the consumer towards you instead of confusing them and driving them away.

A desire of your heart is as important as a calling, but they are different.
A desire is something you want to do, a calling is what God wants you to do.
How do you know the difference? You won’t probably know right away.
Calling is like fruit a farmer harvests and desire is the seed.

The acronym W-O-R-D can help determine a calling

W- The Word of God
O- Others may speak into your life and affirm a calling
R- Revelation
D- Dreams

2- Bloom Where You Are Planted

Be a whale in a fishbowl, not a minnow in an ocean.

Many feel they must move to Nashville or even the USA for God to use them (or to feel they are of use to God). What the issue really is, is that the person thinks it will be easier for them to “make it” if they relocate to where they think the action is.  They come to Nashville, end up realizing it’s no different than their own town, and usually end up working a menial job, or moving back to their own town and starting over building their reputation. It’s a big waste of time and can break the heart and spirit of the creative.

It is best to stay where you are, serve your church, your community, YOUR WORLD.
You don’t need to save the World, Jesus has that taken care of already.

3- Act like Kirk and think like Spock

Star Trek fans know that Kirk was an emotional rollercoaster. It was way over the top drama with Kirk, but he had great and creative ideas and took huge risks that paid off big time.  Spock on the other hand thought things through, determining what was “logical” after he examined all the data. Both are needed in order to be a successful creative. Kirk is creative, Spock is all business.

4- Play Catch with God

Inspiration is like a ball that is thrown to us by God. In order to catch the ball, you must see the ball. If your eyes are not on God and are elsewhere (your self, or your wants), you will not see the ball coming and the game of catch is over. But if you see it, catch it, and throw worship back to God, the game continues, and the more you catch and throw, the better your get and the more God unleashes creativity to you.

5- Bigger vs Better

Most want to get bigger, meaning being more successful, more popular, make more money, acquire more assets, etc.  Most times, this mindset leads to frustration, disappointment, bitterness, and never being satisfied. I say instead focus on getting better. First, being a better disciple of Christ. When you focus on getting better instead of being bigger, God sees this, and releases blessings, opportunities, and greater creativity.

6- Persistence + Resistance = Definition

This is what I called “The Creativity Equation.”  If you do something often, overcome things that try and keep you from doing it often, you will see increased growth and refinement. Ask any bodybuilder what I mean, and they will tell you. Ask any successful songwriter or any activity that requires skill, and they will say this equation is right on.

7- Be Ready, Willing and Able

If you want to see growth in your music as a songwriter, or artist, you must be ready, willing, and able. Ready to move forward once things start happening, willing to put in the time and effort in to being ready, and able to be in a position to be willing and ready. Otherwise, you will not grow as fast as you desired.

8- Create Momentum

Do something every day that is related to your musical ambition. This could be writing a new song, answering email, finding an opportunity, knocking on a door. Momentum is like rabbits. Put a few together and you get way more. Momentum breeds momentum.

9- Don’t Be A Lone Ranger

Being by yourself can lead to isolation, loneliness, or even worse. It’s good to get together with other creatives and engage in real life community. Hanging out on Facebook or other social networking site is not real community. Be independent… together!

10-  Have Rational Expectations

An investor can only see a return if they invest wisely. Going to the Lord with capfuls of work and thimbles of expecting Him to overflow you with blessings is not rational. God does His miracles when we first go into faith inspired action. 

11- Be ready for rejection

Not everyone will get what you are doing. Get over it and get on with it. Don’t dwell on those who don’t lavish you with praise Don’t let rejection turn into anguish. Look at rejection as a learning experience and carefully take into consideration why you are your content was rejected. Then, fix the issue.

12- Be Good!

It’s very difficult for Christian creatives to self-evaluate their content. Try and obtain critiques and evaluations from a professional, or someone who is not emotionally attached to you. People generally know what is quality and what is not. Performance and craftsmanship matter.  Conversely, do not get hung up on perfection. Be more concerned about excellence than perfection. We’ll never be perfect but sure we can be excellent.

13- Have fun!

What an awesome honor and privilege it is to create with the Creator! Don’t take that lightly, be serious about what you are doing and want to do, but also have fun doing it! When something is not fun, it becomes a curse, not a blessing. Give your ambitions over to the Lord, be willing to sacrifice it if He asks you to. Be content with what God is doing, yet set realistic and achievable goals.

You can do it, with God’s help!
We hope you have been encouraged, challenged and inspired by this class and notes.

Feel free to reach out to us if you need help in your music mission!

Sue Mohr-
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Keith Mohr-
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Move to Shake

Move to Shake

We are going to let you into a personal secret. Change is the rule of life. Nothing stays the same. These statements ring true in the personal and business part of our lives. Just as fashions change and then re-emerge, we have seen the same thing happen over and over again in the music scene. There was a time where our conferences filled to overflowing and we had to turn people away. Our dance cards were lined up to the brim and we had a waiting list. Just as the industrial revolution changed how ‘life’ was done, the ‘social revolution’ has changed how music is done.

Yes, look around, it is a fact that people constantly need to add and subtract from what they do. Just follow the lives of successful musicians. Scroll down in your social feed. Change happens continuously.

Our slogan with Indieheaven has always been, “Let’s be independent, together”. Artists have taken that message to heart and the majority of them are now truly independent. They followed what we had taught them, which, in turn, released the need of the über, hand-holding that once was a huge part of what we did. We were paid on that ‘hand-holding’ and service-oriented system. The realization hit us right between the eyes. Our teachings were pointing right back at ourselves, we needed to re-invent ourselves. It was clear that without putting some change into action, we would turn into stale bread; or worse covered with mold. That surely would not feed the multitudes. We knew that we needed to not only find a way to fill our baskets up, but our baskets possibly needed a bit of renovation too.

Then it dawned on us. One day, while grumbling a bit to the Lord about how things were going in our entrepreneurial endeavors, He dropped this thought. “If you want to be known as a mover and shaker, you gotta move and shake.” The voice was pretty loud and boomed. Like the vocal chords of an Italian mob boss. There was no denying what we had to do.

This may seem about as deep as the shallow end of the baby pool, but there are many examples in the Bible where God instructed others to do the very same thing. Think about this. Jesus commanded Peter to get out of the boat and walk on water. Imagine, if you will, Peter responding, “Oh Lord, my legs are so very tired, and you have no idea the kind of day I’ve had on this here boat. I’m going to just sit here and let the storm ride out” Or, when the Lord told the dudes from the wedding party, “You want more wine, fetch me those jugs of water and I”ll make it so.” And the guys say back to Jesus, “Nah, that’s ok. We still have a bit of a buzz from the first couple of jugs. We’re cool.” I mean, really? The whining, the lack of passion, depression, anxiety, self-centeredness and just plain lack of moving hit us humans daily. We can keep feeding these until we are over-bloated and disappear into entrepreneur nothingness, or we can move and start shaking it all up.

Maybe it’s time to question what’s going on with your loaf of bread. Are you sitting in un-change? Not able to dream anymore? Just getting ‘stale’ by the day. Are you finding yourself waiting for action to just appear? In many encounters reiterated in God’s word, He urged and invited us to be a collaborator in the miracles that He performed. Remember when Paul was in prison? The angel said, ‘get up’ and then the chains fell off. In essence, he said, move and shake it, Paul. Even the woman that had been ill for many years had to ‘touch’ the hem of his garment before she was healed. We could go on and on. Let’s suffice it to say that God believed in moving and shaking. And, He wanted our stories to be part of History.

Create a move and shake list. If time and money was not an option, what would take your music and artistry to the place where you believe God is sending you? Ok, now take out the time and money option part, and begin to move and shake. Just a step at first, then put some hip movement into it, let it move up to your shoulders and before you know it, you are ‘moving’. Creating momentum. Not able to listen to your old excuses, because the tune of the move and shake is overpowering those thoughts.

This world was built on movers and shakers. This world changes because of movers and shakers. This world continues to grow due to movers and shakers. You are in good company. Ok, gotta go, we got some moving and shaking to do.

Creatively His,

Keith and Sue Mohr

Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr of “The Mohr Creative Group” have years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide. Also check out for more helpful info!

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Who Cares?

Continuing my series of uplifting blog posts lately (seems like it!:) This question popped into my mind after realizing something very important for anyone who is a creative, driven entrepreneur such as myself.

Who Cares?

What a tough question to ask yourself. I mean, c’mon…everyone should care about what I am doing, right?

Well.. wrong.. the bottom line is this.. There is so much information and content laid out before us every single day that it is impossible for us to ingest it all. Especially online. What we do ingest we rarely, truly care about, or want to investigate further, and even less we ingest that we’ll share on our wall, twitter, pinterest, vine..etc..etc..etc.

We are kidding ourselves if we think anyone outside of our immediate family and super close friends care about what we are doing.

And the faster one realizes this truth, the faster one can get over it and get on with it.

So, how do you make people care about what you are doing?

Jeff-CWC-PicLet’s look at the recent ALS Cold Water Challenge and how it took the world by storm. A guy comes up with the idea, videos a few cold water challenges, contacts the media, the media spreads the word, the video goes viral, then others take up the challenge, and off to the races it goes. Last I heard over 100 million dollars has been raised, and billions of gallons of water wasted:)

It was the fact that 1 person cared about raising money for ALS that got the snowball rolling. It was like a match setting fire to a bone dry pine forest. All it took was that 1 flame to ignite the entire forest.

Once people saw others on video doing the cold water challenge, herd mentality took over and everyone started videoing themselves and challenging others.

Brilliant I tell you.. just brilliant marketing! This is what is called “cause marketing” and this is the way you get people to care.

When it comes right down to it, we must give people a reason to care. No one is going to care more about you than you. So, take what you care about and tell others about why you care, what you are doing about it, and how you and them can do it together.

I’ll be discussing this topic and much more in my upcoming course called “Indie University.” It’s a series of conference calls where I’ll share everything I know about music ministry, business, and life in general. I’ve been at this a long time!

So, check it out at Indie University. It starts up September 8, 2014.

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The other day, I sent out an email blast to indie artists and songwriters on my email list. I was sharing about what we offer through Indie Impact Promotions, and my new online course for Christian indie artists, Indie University.

In that email, I asked everyone how it was going in their music and mission. I was hoping to hear back from some who I could then engage and serve. I did hear back from some, letting me know what they were up to and how they were progressing. That made me happy, to learn they had not given up. I see so many artists giving up these days, and I have mixed feelings about it. In one regard, I see it as a great winnowing of chaff that needed to be burned off in order for new growth in the fields. On the other hand, it made me sad that many are not seeing growth and progress and are laying down their gifts and talents and for some, their call.

Here is one reply I wanted to share, anonymously of course.. But read what this person wrote to me. I’ll share my thoughts below.

Thanx for the email! As far as my music stuff goes, I’ve not been doing much. Haven”t written anything in over 12 months–havent really been inspired. There are times when i think about participating in your CCM exposure program. Yet my songs are not yet “commercial ready” quality. I need to do more remixing. But, since I’m not doing anything musically, there is no justifiable reason to put anymore effort into the songs. Things might change if I were to stumble upon someone with whom I could collaborate with. 

Wow.. very interesting reply. This artist has basically given up. They have what they think is mediocre content (at least they are truthful in their self evaluation, which is a plus).. so they are hesitant to promote it. (I totally understand and agree) They admit they need to do more work at it.. but then follow it up with they aren’t doing anything with their music, so they can’t justify working on it and bettering their craft and content. However, they leave the door open if they “stumble” upon someone.

This poor person is stumbling, and that mades me sad for them. I can’t imagine going through life stumbling around, drifting about, wafting in the wind, just hoping to go in any direction. However, I do understand where they are coming from.

There is a lack of work here, and lack of faith. It really takes both to see an increase in whatever it is we want to do or need in our lives.  I totally get that as well,  I have to make decisions daily  in order to take care of everything on my plate. Sometimes I just want to bury it all, and drift myself.

The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) came to my mind after reading their reply. It sure appears they have buried their talent, desires, dreams, ambitions, goals, hopes…. Not sure if it is because of fear, or laziness, or lack of desire. Maybe all 3. Maybe they just don’t know how to go from Point A to Point B.

I’ll be covering this and so much more in my Indie University series of educational/motivational classes starting up September 8, 2014. Check it out. Maybe you are like this artist, who simply needs to know you are not alone, that you are struggling for direction, or worth, or who knows what and needs to hear   it from a “professional” there is a way to be more effective and accepted.

Indie University won’t be only about improving ones art, it will also be about the renewing of the heart. I hope you will join us!

Keep up the excellent Faith-Work!
Keith Mohr

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There Shall be No Promotion Before It’s Time

Today, I was having a discussion with an indie artist who was interested in promoting his music through my Indie Impact promotional offer. (we send a blast out to our entire email list letting them know of indie artists they may not be aware of.)

After reviewing his content (video/song/pics/website) it was apparent this artist was not ready to tell the world to take a look at what he can do. (remember Stuart from Saturday Night Live??).

Here’s what I shared with him:

DSC03030 (640x480)As an independent artist/songwriter, You only get 1 shot at people. Think of it like opening up a bakery and selling your cakes..if you skimp on the good stuff and have inferior ingredients, or if you have a microwave mindset and dont let the cake fully bake, people won’t eat more than a nibble. They’ll then set the fork down, walk out, never come back, and tell their friends to never go to your bakery, and out of business you shall go. (unless they are your family or in your church:) Here’s the bottom line.. We think God will make our cakes taste good to people because He loves us..and He does love us.. but like Meatloaf sang…”He won’t do that.” God loves us, but until we give people whom we have no relationship with a reason to love us, they won’t even care about us.

I know that may come off a bit harsh, but you may know from my years of having my own conferences in Nashville (CIA Summit), teaching at the Christian Musician Summit, writing columns for Christian Musician Magazine and CCM Magazine that I have my finger on the pulse of indie success and I call it like I see it.

Bottom line is this, God has called me to be an encourager. I encourage you (and myself) to take a good hard look at what you are producing and putting out there for consumption. It’s vitally important to have your content not create discontent. (I may have even made you discontent with my content here, if so, let me have it!)

I’ll be teaching about this and much more at Indie University, my conference-call course where I’ll share everything I know!

Check it out and register today! You don’t even need to leave home. School starts September 8, or on your own schedule!

===> Click HERE to learn more.

Also, let me know how you are doing! I’d love to speak with you about YOUR music mission and if you are content with your content:) Just contact me via the contact form  and we’ll make arrangements for an “on the house” 15 minute consult with me.

Keep up the excellent faith-work!
Keith Mohr
Mohr Creative Group

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Rings of Influence

I have been thinking alot lately about “rings of influence.” It’s like a Bullseye, with your innermost core being the red center, and outer rings radiating from the center. Relationships in the inner core are those who you know the best, and those who really know you. That could be family, business associates, and close friends. Going outward from the center, the next ring would consist of those you know, but not very well, and those who have a working knowledge of you. Next ring would be those you do not know, but those who know about you, like a fan, or people who learn about you. For example, I have on my email list about 75,000 people. They all know about Indieheaven, many know who I am, but I do not know most of those people. And outside of that ring would be the rest of the universe. People you do not know, and those who do not know about you.

I encourage all who read this to create your bulls-eye and determine who falls into what ring. Here’s why.. I have been sharing with one of our Indieheaven members the importance of influencing the innermost core and how to balance it with trying to influence people in the universe. As good a tool the internet is, it has provided an incredible vehicle for artists types who tend to have a “visions of grandeur” M.O. to invest a large portion of their time trying to impact the universe and gain “friends.” This has proven to be a time wasting venus trap to artists as they neglect those in their inner core. It goes along with the “bigger is better” mindset artistic types have, when in reality, better is better.

I shared this information with our member, I will refine this as I have time, but you should get the concept of influencing your core and rings of influence.

“It is important to act local, but think global. God can do whatever God wants to do with us, but I am a firm believer that it is up to us to create the momentum that He then takes and multiplies. I am glad you are impacting your community! This is also wise, because as you impact and enrich those who are in your inner core and inner ring of influence, they then share about you to their inner cores, and it spreads out like ripples on a pond. Imagine throwing a handful of rocks into a pond and seeing the ripples of influence emanating from each stone. The key is that each of the stones in your hand must be inner core relationships. The greater the influence you have in your inner core relationships, the larger the stones and the larger the ripples.”

I also shared this, after they lamented that it is difficult to get people to engage and comprehend their mision.

“I understand where you are coming from, but it is what it is. I still run into this every single day, and I have been hammering away at my mission non-stop 80 hours per week at least since 1997.

We’re always going to run into credibility issues with people. People simply are very closed minded to new things. It is our job to win them over. To convert them into our kingdom, so to speak. And that happens by word of mouth. Look at the way Indieheaven has grown. I do not go out and approach artists who are outside my core of influence and try to convince them to join Indieheaven. I wait until they come to us, and then… then they are in our outermost ring of influence. They come to us because our inner core has told them about us and shared that we are a valuable resource, or because we treat people with respect and tell them the truth, etc.. Whatever the reason be, it is through word of mouth that people come to us. When they come to us, I spring into action.

You need to do the same thing. Look at the relationships in your life and determine who fits into what ring. It is a great exercise to do regardless. Then, figure out ways to impact those inner core people. Then, radiate out from there. This is also biblical. Look at how the disciples spread the gospel message. They started in the town their leader was killed in.. where people knew what had happened. They passionately and excellently shared the message, and people were converted. They then radiated out from there. That is how it spread. As time went on, the messengers used the technology of the times to share the Gospel message. We must use the technology available to us to spread our message, which really is the Gospel message, just delivered in our own special way because of our content.

Same goes for our missions. We start with those who know us, we focus on them. We do however, have this incredible tool called the internet, which allows us to get our content into a worldwide medium. We cant neglect that, but we should not focus on that. I would say 75% inner core, 25% out side your cores would be a good ratio of where you place your focus.”

Get started on doing your mission better, and the bigger will come!
Keep up the Excellent Faith-Work!
Keith Mohr

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The Path of Least Resistance

I love to fly. Sitting inside an aluminum tube as its wings bounce up and down from turbulence is enough to bring any person closer to God. I find flying to be a very spiritual experience. I pray non-stop! I also love looking out the window. Seeing the earth from 37,000 feet brings a new perspective. As I viewed the earth passing below on a recent flight, the “Still, Small Voice” spoke to me. I thought about the path we take as artists, musicians and more importantly, as human beings. I heard the phrase, “path of least resistance.” I pondered this phrase for the better part of my journey.

KP-Meandering RiverFrom my vantage point high above the earth, rivers appeared to weave back and forth. They meandered as if they weren’t sure where to go. This added many miles to their journey when they could have had a straight shot to their destination. Some meandered so much that they cut themselves off and formed an “Oxbow Lake,” which was filled with stagnant water.


el-chorro-caminito-del-rey-los-gaitanes-gorgeFurther into my journey, I noticed one particular river somewhere near the Rockies that was straight as an arrow and appeared to have a strong current. The river cut right through a huge mountain range! It was a river with certain direction, sure of its destination and determined not to be stopped. I was impressed by that river!

What does “path of least resistance” mean to you?

I decided to ask our members on what they thought about this phrase. The following is a sample of responses I received from this diverse group of artists. I hope their sharing speaks to you as it did to me.

The path of least resistance is best if an artist is trying to go through, instead of around, that which opposes him. Water is a great incessant force on Earth, eventually eroding everything in its way. The “path of least resistance” is not the same as “the path of least effort.” The work of the Holy Spirit is like powerful water wearing away rock and mud of the Flesh eventually becoming weary worn and succumbing to death. Only the Spirit can do the eternal work of God, not the Flesh. It takes Man ages to learn this phenomenal geological process that most assuredly, though slowly, moves mountains. Sadly, believers in Jesus want to use TNT (Their Natural Talent) to explode earthly terrain rather than remaining patient and allowing the persistent agency of the Living Water to chart the course. The Door is the path of least resistance, but we must first overcome beating our head against the proverbial wall before we find rest in the Lord. My head still hurts from this pounding lesson.

I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed (and seen in some folks close to me) is the attitude that “since this is my ‘calling’ I don’t have to work at it; God will take care of everything”. While I certainly would agree that God has His eye on us and cares for us and will supply all our needs, we are certainly expected to use and “exercise” the various gifts we’ve been given. (I think of the parable of the Talents). Whether those gifts are in music as far as talent and ability or if those gifts are in something like management, or promotion, etc. (to keep things in a musician/band context). I think to sit back and wait on something to be thrown on our plate when we should be out there moving our ministry forward (and praying daily for discernment to know how that is best approached) is not something that is pleasing to God.

The PLR is very much a spiritual issue. It is instilled into every one of us simply due to our Adamic nature. At the root is selfishness and discontent. Look at the garden scene, God said do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do…ok you get it! Oh yeah, there was one don’t! (ONE DON’T!) Where did we choose to hang out? You see it was suddenly appealing and fogged over all the beauty and wonder of the perfect environment God had just put His magnificent finishing touches on. PLR is PMR really! The path of “MOST” resistance. Throughout the Bible God has dealt with man in terms of “DOMAIN”. We continually conduct new surveys on God’s measurements. I believe we all need to humbly beseech the God of domain, and honestly ask, should we be so bold, Lord, what is the domain of this ministry? Am I staying within your measurements for it? Once we hear His clear domain, or calling, along with it’s measurements, we then work the field with passion, always keeping in mind whose field it is, perhaps then He may extend some boundaries, but even if He does not…? We don’t look to the left. We don’t look to the right. We plow straight ahead! We work the fields! This world is affected by PLR in the direct form of laziness. Whatever we do, I guarantee that there is a right way, and a wrong way, and no in between. A sold out abandonment to mediocrity is what God is looking for in artists. He is a God of detail and integrity! He is a God of order and structure. He is the God of the long way around…The way that holds up when put to various tests.

“If I just had a label behind me, things would be so much easier and I’d make it.”
I find it interesting – no, maybe sad is a better word – that many indie artists think of going for a label deal as the path of least resistance, when it is actually full of resistance. I know artists who’ve lived here in Nashville for 10+ years, still pursuing the illusive ‘label deal’. Doing the indie thing on the side; and they say it like they have a scarlet letter on their chest. Not even realizing that they’ve been doing ‘it’ on their own, or could do it even bigger and better than they are on their own.

“I have to do this on my own because it’s easier, and so I can get there first…unless you can help me get there faster.”
Another path is the competitive one. Why? Because it leads to isolation and a ‘what can you do for me’ approach to creative relationships – even relationships in general. I don’t mean competitions; I mean competitive from within. I only know this is a path because I deal with this one myself. Artists are so afraid that someone is going to get the better gig, be better than they are, meet the ‘right’ person before they do, write the ‘hit’ song before they do, that we become islands. The only time we let someone onto our island is if we see a potential benefit to us.

“I need to do this with other people because I need community and I don’t really care who gets where, as long as I can help someone along the way.”
What so many indie’s don’t see is when a group of artists pull together, amazing things happen. Indieheaven is a perfect example this. Gig sharing, creative collaboration and relationship we wouldn’t trade for anything. Without that, this would be a lonely journey we are all on.

When I started making music I thought; “OK no problem, I’ll just write some good songs and get them recorded and send them to record labels. They’ll love me, because I’m awesome of course, they’ll sign me and take care of everything.” Woohoo, success made easy! This was my path of least resistance. In fact it sounds like a path of NO resistance. As you can see, following this path didn’t exactly work out. It didn’t end where it was supposed to. In fact, it never even started. It’s like trying to run through a brick wall, then backing up and trying it again and again expect different results. This is an interesting paradox. I tried to “make it” by finding a way that required little to no work from me. Seems like that would be the easiest path doesn’t it? The irony is, that if you can’t move forward on that path, isn’t that the path of MOST resistance! When I stopped expecting a free ride and got off my butt and started working for myself, my career started to move forward. So it stands to reason that the harder you work the more you move forward, and technically, the less resistance there is.

Let’s go back to the brick wall. So you’ve rammed into the brick wall over and over and have decided to try something different. Get some knowledge and make a plan to get your music out there yourself. That brick wall has become something more like a big boulder, Hard to push but still able to be rolled forward. Pretty soon after you gain more knowledge and more experience, the boulder gets smaller and smaller. Note that sometimes you’ll have to roll the boulder up hill and sometimes you get to roll it down hill. And, the boulder never goes away all together. YOU always have to be the engine that runs YOUR career. Major label artists didn’t just get a big break. They had to work hard to get where they are. Their boulder may be a bit smaller than yours but so what! Keep rolling!

What an incredible group of deep thinkers! We all need to stop on occasion to think about the path we are taking. Are we meandering or seeking the will of God, which is like that river flowing, sure of its destination? With the Holy Spirit acting as our current, the path becomes more clear and straight, with the power to break through any obstacle.

Until next time, may your field of dreams be lined with work down first and faith down third.
Keith Mohr

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Count The Costs

So, you want to be a CCM artist? Awesome! There is nothing more gratifying than creating and performing music and seeing people’s lives changed. I think it’s great to aspire to inspire, but you better get ready to perspire and keep the fire! Ask anyone who has a music ministry and they will tell you it is hard work, and that 99% of the time you are working to create material and secure engagements. 1% of the time, you are on stage doing that thing you love to do!

Since 1997, I have worked with literally thousands of emerging artists in their music mission, founding and operating Most of the artists I come in contact with are hobbyists, who enjoy getting out there every so often to crank up the band, or share a song. Nothing wrong with that! Some are more serious artists who are doing it full time. I have the utmost respect for artists who are full timers, because it is incredibly hard to get to that point and sustain a full time music ministry, especially these days!

It has never been more difficult to make it happen in a Christian music ministry. In the old days, the cost of doing business, er…I mean ministry was far less expensive, with the exception of creating quality music. These days, a savvy musician with chops and technical skills can produce great sounding music with a MacBook pro and Logic. I know, because that is what I use in my studio! On the flip side, gas just hit $4 bucks a gallon (I wonder where it will be when you read this article?) and diesel is at $5. My good friends from the indie band “Bread of Stone” have a wonderful Prevost tour bus that has a 200 gallon tank and gets 7 miles per gallon. Do the math! These guys are out there doing it regardless of the costs, and  the Lord continues to provide! Now that is work and faith my friends!

I asked members of Indieheaven ( if the cost of doing their music mission has impacted them and how they were overcoming this obstacle. 

“We did lose a gig because of gas prices. They knew we were coming from two hours away, but the second I asked for gas reimbursement, they couldn’t get rid of us fast enough!  I was even willing to negotiate a little, but their attitude was like, “Ok, we can’t accommodate you, thanks for your interest–bye!”  LOL.  Guess we’ll just stick closer to home for a while.”

“Yes, the guys in my band have started asking from more money to cover gas expenses….ouch. That means that I am having to charge more at the venue or pray harder that God will provide more….as He always has and as He always will.”

 “It impacts the number of musicians and the scope of what I’ll do to some degree, but by and large I just realize that the ministry will take in a little less cash from the gigs and the honorarium will basically go towards paying the other players who support me.  All CD sales go to the ministry and a percentage of the honorarium.  If folks can’t go, I don’t necessarily say no, I go acoustic and change up the setlist, but not the point.  The other thing I do is try to get a full weekend booked.  That way one event pays for the expenses, the other helps support the ministry.”

You can see these artists have a balanced outlook on the costs of accomplishing their mission and have a plan in place to deal with it. And that is good! It is important to count the costs before striking out on a mission. Starting out in a music mission these days should not be taken lightly.  Count the costs my friends. It is far less expensive to do your ministry local, instead of traveling far distances. It’s also the way an emerging artist can create a local base of fans and supporters. I see too many artists who spend too much time on the internet trying to influence people on the other side of the world, and neglect their own communities. Act local, think global. I am a big proponent of impacting people who are in your immediate sphere of influence and let them talk about you to others, instead of you spending time on the www tooting your own horn to people called “friends.” This is a subject for another article!

Do yourself a favor, make a list of what you think it will cost you to accomplish your music mission, and then multiply it by 10 and that will be the real cost. It’s not for the faint of wallet. For those who are smart and seek council from others who have been there and done that, they will  learn  to maximize their investment and see the most return. For those who fail to plan, their plan will probably fail. Be smart, be wise, and most of all, be realistic about what you can invest and keep your expectations in line. It will help you to not be discouraged when things don’t happen as fast or the way you thought they would happen.

God provides for our needs if we are earnestly seeking Him and doing His will. Be sure to take the time to find out what His will is for your life. It is the most important investment you can make, because if you are pursuing a music ministry without the Lord’s blessing and endorsement, there will be a high cost to pay. Make sure you are not going after something that is based on blind ambition and vain conceit. I see this out there every now and then, and it breaks my heart because I know there will struggles, trials, disillusionment, disappointment, bitterness, and eventually burn out coming down the road. 

Remember, seek God first and keep Him first in your music mission. Make service the keystone of your ministry. Work hard at it and pray hard for it, and do not settle for mediocrity. In everything you do, do it with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your ability. 

Until next time, may your field of dreams be lined with work down first and faith down third. 

Keith Mohr
Keith is president of, a resource for independent Christian musicians, bands, worship leaders, songwriters and more!

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