Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm weighing in on church music today!

I've been thinking some about the purpose and place for music in the local church and would like to share my thoughts for discussion. First off, I have come to the conclusion that the music we use in public worship services should be "blended" in style. Why? Let's begin with the purpose of worship. First, because music is often so closely associated with how people view worship in the local Church. In the mind of many, good music equals good worship. But, in the context of scripture this mindset can be too limiting and even misleading.

Jesus states that "true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him" (John 4:23). Worship is nothing more than centering Christ in our hearts so our lives can stay in balance and fulfill the purpose in which God intended for each of us. My studies indicate that worship mostly appears in the Bible as a verb. Why? Because worship is an act of our will through which we invite the Holy Spirit to center us in the life and customs of Jesus so we can go forth and emulate Him to the world to the glory of the Father.

True Spirit-led corporate worship will present Jesus in a manner that will address the personality and preferences of all. A blended style that presents a classic, traditional and contemporary palate for participants will give each one the opportunity to use music as a means to center Christ in their heart more easily in a public venue. It could be much like it was on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:6), where each one could sense the Holy Spirit and respond in their own language (so to speak). Through a blended venue each one's preference is valued and God can use corporate singing as a means to center Christ in the hearts of all who desire to worship Him through the Spirit and unto Truth (Jesus).

Speaking of Jesus, His take on worship was clearly stated in Luke 22:19, "this do in remembrance of Me." Paul echoes these very words to the Corinthians in his first letter (11:24) to address their disunity and unloving attitude towards each other in the local church. He reminds them that their attitude and structure was to cater to the needs of the Body (attendees) so that each one could center Christ in their heart without the selfish distraction of others. When we come together for corporate worship we need to present a full musical palate that permits the Holy Spirit to penetrate every life with the image of Jesus so they can leave the premise purposed in heart to love and serve their fellow man as He did.

According to Jack Wilcuts in his book "Why Friends are Friends," we gather in the meetinghouse with one another to "experience Christ in our midst" and to "practice the presence of Christ." What does that mean for us musically? It means that Christ is in each one who has gathered together corporately. It is through our coming together as the Body of Christ that Jesus is fully manifest. Presenting a full palate of musical style can be our way of practicing His presence in our midst by acknowledging His preeminence and honoring the unique way He chooses to express Himself through the likes and tastes of others. Perhaps that is what He meant by the phrase, "this do in remembrance of Me" musically speaking, for the Church today. What say you?

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I am not sure what the answer is but I find myself preferring new songs during worship because I think that I tend to focus on the words and what is being communicated about the worthiness of Jesus of my praise. If there is a song that is sung frequently because of my human faultiness I often find myself going through the motions instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to search my heart and help me to communicate my heart in worship to the Lord. I must admit that I tend to prefer the contemporary style of worship and I am 40 years old. I don't think the church should be afraid to adapt to the current culture without compromising the Good News of Jesus Christ and us as mature believers should find a way to center our hearts on Jesus through not only the style of music but many other ways the Holy Spirit uses to draw the church to His purposes and His ways. I don’t feel like we as a church body are being sensitive to what younger generation’s and even our culture’s desired styles of worship (not just music but the entire worship service being many aspects … such as the actual design of the worship venue, the use of media and the quality of media used to communicate the truth of Jesus, the style of teaching, the follow-up methods of the teaching, and the ways of being together which is sometimes referred to as fellowship). I think sometimes that decision by decision we could very well be growing a church that will cease to exist in future generations because of our resistance to change.

  2. Anonymous,
    I agree that the Church must adapt to the current culture. Let's keep in mind however, the current culture consists of at least three generations of people. All who like us have different preferences which we should value for the sake of Christ. Embracing culture in the Church does not mean we must ignore two thirds of the culture we want to embrace. Christ is present in all generations and needs to be honored accordingly.

    I think the same would be truth for the use of other media sources. I'mm all for it but again make it cultural sensitive keeping in mind who the audience is ... at least three generations of people. Jesus loves them all!