FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Turn a typical rock star upside down, shake them up and spin them around and the outcome may be a little closer to the kind of rock guitar artist found in Southwestern student Lindsey Miller. No amount of spotlight or stage could take her focus away from pointing people to the real main event: Christ.
“I get the opportunity because I work in both the secular world and the church world,” Miller says. “I always have a doorway to people outside the church. I feel humbled that I get the opportunity to share, to be outside in the world with the people, sharing through music.”
Miller, who came to Southwestern to pursue a Master of Music degree, has a history laced in music spanning from the time she began playing guitar at age 10 to her stint as a member of the now defunct rock band Oso Closo. She has played with multiple symphony orchestras and in well-known venues such as the Granada Theater and Lincoln Center, and has been a studio guitarist and writer for industry icons such as Universal Music Group. Yet, her personality would belie her distinguished list of accomplishments only barely mentioned here. Miller seems easy going, easy to talk to and easy to relax with—all things that likely help her to be so approachable and palatable as she shares the Gospel through her work.
Regardless of their response, Miller knows what she believes and does not shy away from sharing it with people.
“You have to maintain a balance of not being legalistic about where someone is in their life the first time that you share with them and also not condoning what they do either. So it’s a very fine line to walk,” Miller says. “Some people are open to it and some people [say], ‘I hate that stuff, I want nothing to do
Miller, a member and staff musician at Southcliff Baptist Church, says many of the people she meets find the church hypocritical or adhere to an individualistic concept of being spiritual but not needing church.
“It’s basically the mentality of ‘I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,’” Miller says. “I can’t stand that at all right now. Even Christians I’ve met now are like, ‘I don’t belong to a denomination; I don’t need to belong to an organized church; I’m just a disciple of Christ,’ and I don’t agree with that at all. Basically, church is a gift of God to humanity at the time that Christ provided salvation for us, so we're never to operate outside of the body of Christ. I think that’s an extremely dangerous thing.”
In addition to the accountability and fellowship that come from uniting with a local body of Christ, Miller says everyone has a part to play.
“Everyone, no matter what they think [or] how minute [they think] their role is, they have an essential role in the church, so they need to be in the body worshiping,” Miller says. “And you can't distance yourself from the overall cannon of theology either. If you're not in line with that, you're probably doing something wrong.”
Miller, who earned her Bachelor of Music in Jazz at the University of North Texas prior to enrolling at Southwestern, says Southwestern has offered a side of music education secular schools lack and one that is vital to music ministry.
“Dr. Gordon Borror was my teacher here my first year, and he’s retired now, but I generally believe I learned more from him in my first year than I did in all four and a half years of undergrad just practicing music, because the way he taught for worship and ministry just gave you the right foundation of what your life as a musician is to be based around,” Miller says. “It’s not based around making music the apex of what you believe in, but God. And from there, music flows out easily.”
During her time at Southwestern, Miller has fine tuned her perception of worship and her ideas about how it can become more biblical. She has learned that worship leaders should not only make sure the words of the songs conform to correct theology but also that the worship is Christ-centered, not people- or instrument-centered.
After she finishes her degree at Southwestern, Miller hopes to move to Nashville where she might be able to work for LifeWay as well as continue her musical work outside the Christian realm and minister to people who still need to hear the Gospel.
“But my whole thing is every day I say, ‘God, whatever Your will is for my life, I will totally do it, ’” Miller said.
Maybe her Facebook page says it best: “I live everyday like it’s my rockin’ last.”