Church Life
Doug Idema

Music Workshop: What to do about the Old and the New

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.

Worship, music, singing is an important part of our Christian/Church life; Exodus 15, Matthew 26:30, Colossians 3:16-17, Revelation 5:9. It allows us to express corporately and privately our love for Christ… with emotion

The polarizing effect of music

Music lifts the spirit and reinforces/teaches truths that are found in Scripture. Christian music is more readily available now than ever before, requiring discernment and effort

Music can also unite or divide as never before. We have seen churches brought together in worship and sadly we have seen them torn apart over this subject.

There are only 3 options when it comes to music

  1. Don’t Change
    • There is no mandate to change song choices or music styles, however, this option will alienate most younger people and will not promote unity in the church.
  2. Have a mix of traditional songs and contemporary songs
    • Any time you can bring all generations and preferences together in harmony you can accomplish unity. This can be a transforming and powerful exercise of any local church.
  3. Move to contemporary only
    • There is no mandate to keep anything from the past in terms of music however, this option will most likely alienate some and cause disunity in the church.

Obviously, you can see from my comments that I strongly support option 2. A mix of songs and music styles will ensure that all views are heard and there equal support for different preferences.

7 Considerations for change in music ministry

  1. Music / worship is critical to your church
    • It is important for the leadership to communicate the stand on the music ministry and be open for feedback and adjustments.
  2. Making any change will require strong leadership
    • I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the church’s leadership to be involved in the music ministry at the very least from a visible support level. Poor leadership in this area can bring disastrous results.
  3. Finding the right people is vital
    • It is so important to include the right people to join in music ministry. It will become evident quickly if there is pride or bad attitudes. Avoiding this from the beginning is key.
  4. It requires ongoing support and commitment
    • A music ministry will need constant review and adjustments. It’s not something you set up once and then forget about it.
  5. It requires some skills
    • We understand that not every church will have the same talent in music. That’s ok. Start with what you have and grow it from there. Get as many involved as possible who are willing to learn and put some time into growing their abilities.
  6. It requires sound and media equipment
    • We have found it much easier to make changes in music when the equipment we use can be trusted. Spend some money on good quality equipment (it doesn’t have to be the best). This will go a long way toward helping.
  7. Put the time and effort in
    • It should go without saying but if you want to do something well it takes time and effort. A music ministry is not going to grow by itself. It needs dedicated people willing to put the effort into making it happen.


As we go through this workshop and discuss practical tools to help we pray you will consider where your assembly is at and evaluate where it can go.

We need unity on this issue for the longevity of our local fellowships. Division will only cause the church to become less effective in the world we live in.

Doug Idema

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