Music Workshop: The Challenge of Music Ministry

The following article is taken from the music workshop, “Moving Music Forward in the Church” which was held on November 23, 2019. You can view the whole series with the tag MW2019.

The challenge of introducing and maintaining a vibrant, growing music ministry is evident in many ways. Preferences, biblical convictions and logistics all play a part in resisting change in music.

Biblical evidence

The Word of God from Genesis to Revelation is filled with music.

“His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.”

Genesis 4:21

“And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb…”

Revelation 15:13

We even have a biblical hymnbook in the book of Psalms. Here are some introductory thoughts on this important biblical subject.

The role of worship

Worship is an acknowledgment that God alone is worthy of our absolute devotion. Worship is not void of the personal connection the worshipper has with God. It is the meshing of the heart of the worshipper and their experience.

Worship is far more than just music but singing is definitely an expression of worship to the Lord.

The role of praise

Praise is the intentional exaltation of God for what He has done.  The very first song in the Bible is a song of Deliverance after the exodus.

I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.

Exodus 15:1-3

The role of remembrance

The Bible has a number of songs that look back. This is especially true of our gathering at the Lord’s Supper as we reflect on what the Lord has done for us. Remembrance is a precious act of worship.

I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.

Psalm 45:17

The role of surrender

Music is one of the best ways to express the surrender of our hearts to the Lord. We sing wonderful hymns such as I Surrender All and Reign In Us.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:4-5

The role of personal testimony

When we recognize what God has done for us we want to sing. Thanksgiving, praise, adoration, and exaltation all come from a place of testimony.

He has done great things for us and we lift up our voices to declare that to others.

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Luke 1:46-47

The role of instruments

Where do instruments fit into this discussion? The scriptures are full of examples of instruments being used in praise. In 1 Chronicles 25 king David sets the order of worship in the temple and lays out the parameters for singers and the use of instruments. Clearly Israel’s worship included the use of a variety of instruments.

There is an assumption by some that the early church did not use instruments in the worship of the church. The New Testament does not give a specific view of this therefore it is difficult to say this for certain.

Two verses give us an indication that it was probable that instruments were used in the early church. In Colossians and Ephesians Psalms are promoted within the church. It is impossible to sing the Psalms without running into the use of instruments.

Ephesians 5:19 uses the greek word Psallo which literally means to play on a string instrument, to play the harp. It would seem from these words that using instruments was the normal practice.

As we share more from the workshop we will dive into more practical topics around music.

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