More than ever, it is becoming necessary to educate worship artists, or should I say believers in general, concerning what it means to live “a set apart” life according to the practices, principles and ideologies originally recorded in the scriptures - not only in logos, but by rhema. So many of our Christian foundational teachings have been skewed and watered in our present society as more and more people embrace a “feel good” religious practice. As a result, it is imperative that apostolic and prophetic voices arise to push this emerging generation into a place of understanding and embracing what it really means to chase after the heart of God verses chasing after a gift; the tangible rewards of the gift that can come from men; and the intoxicating need to entertain, be entertained, be an entertainer and to be worshiped or idolized.
In the instructional guide, “The Set Apart Way: For Christ Centered Creative Artists,” author Sepia Gladden not captures this understanding. She digs deeply into the multiple levels of what it means to be “set apart” into Sonship. Each chapter pushes the reader into a place of conviction, repentance, renewal, prayer, intercession and dying to self by presenting truth, tools for support, nuggets for practical application as well as encouragement, empowerment and strength
It is written specifically as a training guide for leaders who work specifically with worship artists; however, an individual artist could also take the guide with its accompanying workbook and go through each of the 31 lessons thoroughly. Some of the topics I enjoyed most include:
- Okay, God’s Called You. Now what?
- No Word. No Ministry.
- Know Your History
- Humble Yourself!
- You Need Power Not Just Talent
- There is a Church Industry, and
- Role Models
- Love Them: Don’t Condemn Them
Gladden addresses topics in this teaching that are sorely needed in the body today as our young people are lured into pursuing record deals and chasing contests verses seeking to work the works of God, and win souls. With Holy Spirit at the helm we are not only introduced to the traps of ministry, but the rewards that come from living a life worthy of our calling.
What really makes this instructional guide unique, however, is that is packed with her own personal testimony and experiences. She speaks as one who fully understands the heart of a worship artist and the pull that elements outside of the Word of God can have on a man’s soul. Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, this book was written in a way to meet you in that place. Whether you are a seasoned saint or a teenager, there is a place of connection that bridges any barriers for learning. In addition, each lesson ends with prayer application and thought provoking questions.
I would highly recommend, The Set Apart Way: For Christ Centered Creative Artists, for anyone seriously seeking Father’s heart concerning moving in pure ministry through their artistic gifts and talents, and especially for leaders/mentors seeking a practical guide to equip their students.
Gladden defines the creative artist (or worship artist as mentioned in this review) as dancers, DJs, singers, authors, musicians, comedians, rappers, steppers, actors, poets, puppeteers, producers, spoken word artists, playwrights and other creative gifting that flow from Father.
Apostle Theresa Harvard Johnson
Founder of Voices of Christ Literary Ministries
Life is a journey of discovery, filled with accomplishments, shortcomings, and the opportunity for growth. The person that we were at the beginning of this journey may now be unrecognizable to us. This holds true for Sepia “Sista Sepia” Gladden. Her journey began in Columbus, Ohio, where she as a young woman, struggled with her identity. Sepia didn’t have a desire to live nor did she understand her purpose for living. In her own words, she states “My ears, eyes, and heart were closed. I was just going with the flow, awaiting my death.” During this difficult and confusing time, she found herself heading down a path of destruction.
At about the age of eighteen, Sepia moved to Atlanta to pursue the one dream that she did entertain. This was her desire to become a major player in the music industry as a female rap artist. As she began building relationships with others in the music industry, she was exposed to many lost souls in desperate need of peace. While her intentions were to come to Atlanta to “blow-up,” on the music scene, God had another plan for her life.
It wasn’t long before she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and started walking in a new direction. “All of my desires were filled when I came to Christ. In Him I found peace,” she declares. The next few years brought growth for Sepia, as she immersed herself in biblical training classes, served in an evangelism ministry, co-hosted radio shows, appeared as a featured act on several Gospel CD projects, and began taking speaking engagements. Somewhere in the midst of these accomplishments, she also managed to get married and start a family. This is what can happen when you allow God to intervene and interrupt your expected end. He can truly change your agenda
One more task that God has graced Sepia to take on is the role of authorship. He’s entrusted her with a new book entitled The Set Apart Way (for Christ-Centered Creative Artists). This book came about after she and her husband founded Set Apart International Ministries. Sepia didn’t hesitate to share that, “I never knew or imagined I would ever write a book. It’s truly God’s hand.” She describes the book as being, “a word of encouragement to strengthen creative artists'." Her mission is to offer practical examples of different things believers can do to live a set-apart lifestyle. The book, which also has an available Bible study workbook, was inspired by Matthew 7:13,14, which asks us to enter through the narrow as opposed to the wide gate, which leads many to destruction. Sepia implies that, “pastors speak broadly, but creative artists’ need to be ministered to in a way that applies to them throughout their creative journey. God wants to get greater Glory while we’re using our gifts.” The book, backed up by the Word of God, offers God’s views on topics such as humility vs. pride, and how to properly present yourself before going to minister. Sepia wants to remind readers that, “God wants us blessed. He has promises for us, but there is a cost. There’s a requirement.” In writing this book, she set out to usher creative artists’ into the presence of God so that they can obtain all that God has for them here on earth.
Within the Set Apart International Ministries umbrella, also lies a SACA (Set Apart Creative Artist) Mentorship Program, which encourages growth and participation. Sepia has a heart to give and simply desires to be a part of the solution and not the problem. She understands that the closer one comes to God, the closer one becomes to who God created them to be. Please support the works of this self-published author, who tirelessly contributed to this writing during times of inspiration over the course of five years. Be sure to visit www.thesetapartway.com and www.setapartinternationalministries.org to find out more info on the book, the author and the ministry