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I was just sitting here thinking. I was nurtured on my gospel music journey by the Pioneers. Delois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters my family, I sang BGV's for "Auntie Nellie" Inez Andrews and even played for her once. I was in place at Pilgrim Baptist Church when Professor Dorsey made his transition and helped assist Lena McLin and Catherine Dorsey in the planning of his Homegoing Musical Tribute. I've sang with my Godmother Ethel Holloway. I shared the pulpit with Sammie Cheatum, Rev. Ernest Franklin,Rev. Stanley Keeble, Pastor Clay Evans and Fellowship, Professor Robert Anderson, Gladys Beamon Gregory, Evelyn and Geraldine Gay, Rev. Jessy Dixon, Eugene Smith. I appeared with Queen Albertina Walker, Eddie Williams, Gloria Griffin, Rev. George Jordan, Pastor Maceo Woods and Christian Tabernacle, The Hawkins, The Tommies, The DFW Mass Choir, The Mississippi Mass Choir, The AARC Mass Choir, Lil Lucy Smith Collier, Devella Norton Tuck, Louise Overall Weaver. I've been blessed to sing before Rev. Cleveland, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, RoseMarie Rimson, Cassietta George, Rev. Charles Nicks, man the list goes on I'm sure I've omitted some by human error but you get the idea. Most of these names are not heard of now. I was listening to some of what is called Gospel music today and however all of it is not bad, some of it lacks something. I pondered trying to put my finger on it as I sat in this service tonight but it didn't hit me until I got home. CONVICTION. Yup. That's it. The older Gospel waymaker's instilled in me that in order for the people to receive a song, you have to feel it's message first. And one sure fire way to start that is to be convicted and contrite in your spirit. I'm sorry but a lot of artists today although I enjoy their presentation and vocal abilities, it just doesn't hit home. I hope you all understand what I'm saying. I'm not condemning any particular gospel music genre or style, because I believe that it all is praise to God. However there are some of us who leave many worship services empty, vague and blah. Almost as if we haven't been in the presence of God at all. I want to offer a challenge to every gospel musician, vocalist and layperson to spend time with God before you prepare your music for presentation. Let Him speak to you and direct your path. For over a span of 17 years I served at Rock of Ages Baptist Church with Pastor Wiley doing 3 services a Sunday, with no choir. Just the musicians and I. No long drawn out tedious rehearsal, just me standing to the mic and giving God all I had. And let me tell you, some of my BEST ministry moments occurred during those times. It was not my doing, but it was the presence of God and the anointing that did the ministering. I couldn't just do everything Monday - Saturday and then hit the floor put on a suit and tie and sing down Power from on high on Sunday. I had to spend time with God. Set myself apart. Pull away from people, places and things. Sacrifice time and even food sometimes to be a blessing to the people and to hear from Him. Many times I would not eat on Sunday until after I'd ministered. I wanted to keep the line clear so I could hear God's voice. Many Sunday's God would give me a song to sing that would coincide with the Pastor's message with me having no clue as to what he was going to preach about. I thank God for that. And I thank God for the Singers and Saint's of old who instilled in me the necessary discipline and seriousness of preparation for ministry. I've been doing what I do for over 40+ years and it's never failed me yet. If I can help any of you gain greater in your music ministry calling, please let me know. I say this not to boast or brag, but to sincerely offer wise counsel. If those of us who are today's Pioneer's do not instill in the Millennials what this is about, our music, especially traditional gospel music will be lost. Learn some hymns. Practice anthems. Diversify your music catalog. Expand your music library to include ALL the congregation not just a select few. I've grown to love some contemporary gospel which shocked me.How about that? LOL And build a brand of professionalism with your name. Let your words have weight. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Develop a level of integrity that does not demand respect but commands it. I've never had to ask anyone not to disrespect me. I carry myself respectfully. I laugh and joke but when it comes to ministry, I leave that other stuff in the car. Dress appropriately. Dress appropriately. DRESS appropriately. Invest in full length mirrors in your bedroom. At least two so you can get a FULL view. If you see it, then we see it and baby it's too tight. Put on the whole armor of God. That means FOUNDATIONS! Lycra. Spanx. Athletic T-shirts. Comfortable GOOD undergarments, men included. Ain't nothing worst that you up ministering trying to usher in the Glory and you gotta make a quick shift in YOUR atmosphere in the front before you step to the mic. And beloveds, BATHE! Did you hear me? BATHE! In season and out of season. You can have on Hermes', Louboutins, Ferragamo's and Ballencia's, but have not invested in a $2 bar of antibacterial soap, some baking soda, peroxide, bleach, Pine Sol or something, you are as sounding brass and tinkling cymbol. You stank baby. And no matter how SHOB you appear from a distance, its what you smell like up close that people will remember. Finally, all of us have weaknesses. We're human. But please ma'am and please Sir try to get your flesh under submission while in the Lords church. It's getting outta hand. It's more folks in the narthex, vestibule, basement and parking lot than in the sanctuary. This is not the place to come hook up or connect unless you're trying to hook up with God and connect with His word. And finally my fellow musicians, dress to impress. Now I may not be able to play this contemporary music stuff y'all singing now, but can't naya one a y'all say you've ever seen me and I look frumpy or sloppy. My parents who were/are fashion ICON'S (My Mom's at 92 can still jump so cold and sharp on you ya eyes will bleed like tears) taught me since I was big and people were going to look, give 'em something to look at! There is no greater respect that a musician can gain than being known for timeliness, prepared and groomed. If you're over 30 years old you need to ditch the back pack Bro. And you gorgeous young ladies stop letting these dudes come up and approach you inappropriately dressed. Dude 42 years old wearing True Religions, Sunglasses and Chuck's to Sunday morning service! Girls rule the world, y'all got what we want. Make us earn it! Ok ok enough already. It's time for my medication and jello. Yup I'm 53 years old and Pastor vintage mother of the bride dresses tea length Charles Jenkins called me a legend. And guess what? I'm honored that someone of his caliber recognized me as such. Love ya'll, do better!