The words "pastor" and "artist" aren't often used for the same person, but Justin McRoberts is an exception that proves the rule. Co-pastor of a church in Concord, California, McRoberts is also a hard-working indie musician and author with a busy touring schedule.
McRoberts's latest work, The CMYK Project, started with an encouraging letter he received at a difficult time. He began writing letters of his own, and commissioned three different artists to create artwork for a book containing them. What ties the book together is the idea that Jesus is master of everything—especially a community full of lovely, crazy, terrible, and forgiven people. In addition to crafting the book, McRoberts wrote fifteen original songs as a soundtrack. These different elements combine, much like the four printer's inks of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, to paint a compelling picture of life together under Christ's lordship.
CT contributor Jonathan Ryan interviewed McRoberts at home in Northern California, during an A's/Cardinals baseball game, and by e-mail.
How do you balance the roles of pastor and touring artist?
I don't really think I do, to be honest. I've aimed for balance in the past and I always felt like I missed it. We planted the church about the same time I launched a career in the arts, so my vocational branches grew up together. This means I'm always tending both to some degree. I soon realized achieving balance just meant forcing my own expectations on my life. I realized I needed to focus on what God put in front of me and not worry about an arbitrary "balance."
So, now I look at my twin callings revolving through "seasons." Seasons of ...1