In a candid and introspective interview with Worship Leader, singer-songwriter Sarah Reeves opened up about her musical journey, from the early days in her youth worship band to grappling with the complexities of fame and self-centered ministry. Reeves’s honesty provides a rare glimpse into the challenges faced by artists navigating the intersection of music, faith, and celebrity.
Celebrity Culture and Worship
Reeves began her musical odyssey at a young age, honing her skills in the church environment. From competing in youth worship band competitions to securing a record deal and making albums, her trajectory mirrored the classic path of aspiring musicians. Yet, as success and recognition followed, so did the pitfalls of celebrity culture infiltrating the sacred space of worship.
“I let it go to my head a lot,” admits Reeves, reflecting on the period when she found herself using her platform to minister to others. The delicate balance between authentic ministry and the allure of celebrity church culture became apparent, leading her to a moment of self-examination. “It got all twisted and tangled up, honestly,” she confesses.
This tumultuous journey prompted Reeves to take a step back from crafting worship music. “It just felt icky to me,” she acknowledges, revealing the internal conflict she grappled with as her focus shifted from serving others to achieving personal milestones, such as securing a number one hit. This turning point compelled her to peel away the layers and reevaluate her motivations.
Motivations Become Clear
Reeves resurfaced in the world of worship music with newfound clarity, emphasizing the need to remove the “me” from the equation. Her recent return to writing worship for the church came with a profound realization — the importance of serving the congregation and the divine, rather than her own artistic ambitions.
“I always want to have just that, okay, I’m serving the vision of this house and I’m serving the people and God, you know, ultimately,” Reeves states emphatically. Her renewed focus centers on the transformative power of worship songs, aiming to provide solace and connection to those navigating life’s challenges, be it a single mom in the back row, a couple recovering from an argument, or someone experiencing the pain of divorce.
Reeves’s journey serves as a reminder of the intricate dance artists engage in when navigating the realms of faith, music, and fame. Her willingness to share the pitfalls and revelations of her own path adds depth to the conversation surrounding the role of music in worship and the responsibility that comes with wielding a platform in the realm of celebrity Christianity.
As Sarah Reeves continues to evolve as an artist, her commitment to authenticity and humility in the service of others stands as a testament to the transformative potential of music when stripped of ego and focused on the higher calling of communal worship.
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Joshua Swanson is the Editor-in-Chief of Worship Leader. He's also the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Authentic Media, Worship Leader's parent company, and the former CEO and Co-founder of the creative agency GTMA. His proudest achievement is his marriage to Rachael Joy and partnering with her in founding New Hope Children. As a performer and speaker, he’s appeared on TV networks like ABC, NBC, Lifetime, and Hallmark. His companies have worked with major brands like Sprint, Pokemon Go (he was also in a Pokemon movie), Pepsi, The Latin Grammys, the Billboard Awards, Corona and over 75 national developers. He’s narrated over a hundred audiobooks and was awarded Best YA Voice twice. His companies have been Inc. 5000 three different times.