Summary: Part 7 of this series focuses on the integration of music in the worship service.
Worship Is A Verb Part 7
As you may recall, my current series is titled “Worship Is A Verb.” My hope through this series is that we will all come to a point where we fully engage God in true worship – that our worship experience here will not be based on following an outline or set program, but as the Spirit of God leads us in each service. To date we have discussed the historical perspective of worship and how what we do today is based on what was recorded in Scripture. This morning and for the next couple of weeks, I want to go a little deeper into some of the specific areas of worship so that no matter what Church you visit, if they are worshiping God, you will be able to freely join them in worship. This morning my focus will be on the dynamics of music in worship.
I. Sing Unto The Lord
David said “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.” (Psalm 96:1) The first thing we need to understand is that we are not singing to each other during our worship service, we are singing to the Lord. When the choir comes up here to sing, they are not singing to us, they are singing to the Lord. Although we get to sit here and witness what they are doing, in truth, they are not singing to please us, they should be singing to the glory of God. Now let me pause for a moment so this may sink in. You see, we miss this very important point in our Churches.
When you attend a secular concert, the performers are judged not only on how they perform during the concert, but also if they can sell out the venue. The better the performance is at one concert, the more tickets that are sold at future concerts. Well that mentality has found its way into Church thinking. Choirs no longer sing to glorify and please God, they sing to the Church members. So when there are only a few Church members in attendance, the choir does not sing as hard as if there are hundreds in attendance. If a choir is invited to another Church to sing and the Church is half empty, you may or may not see them “singing” to their best. This also comes down to the individual level. When you look across the members of any choir, you will see some singing hard while others are looking bored and barely moving their lips. Do you think this pleases God? Absolutely not! If we were able to always remember that we are not singing to please people but to please God, it would make a huge difference in how we sing and how much energy we put into it. So praise team and choir, I am putting you on notice – no more singing to the congregation. When you step up here to lead praise or to sing, sing as if there is no one in this place but you and God and you are giving Him His own private concert. No more performances, just heartfelt singing to our Creator and Savior. I promise you, our praise services will be changed and how you sing in the choir will sing. You are not singing to us, you’re singing to God.
II. Four Principles Needed To Integrate Music Into Our Worship
There are four principles I want to share with you that we need to consider as we integrate music into our worship service moving forward.
1. The first principle is “Worship is not determined by musical style, old or new.” There are people in Church that believe that only certain types of music can be utilized within the Church if you truly want to enter into worship. This is not the case as I have shared with you before, worship starts and ends in the heart. Tradition for the sake of tradition will not preserve the blessings of the Lord. Change for the sake of change will likewise not determine future blessings. An emphasis on either extreme will be divisive to the body of Christ because no matter which way you go, someone is not going to be fulfilled. Our focus should not so much on the style, but on truly worshiping God. So our goal should be to help the worship service experience become individualized to the point that we can personally enter into worship despite of the music.
2. The second principle is that “The minister of music and Pastor are equally responsible to minister worship to the entire congregation.” To this end there must be an understanding between these two individuals as to what is being accomplished. I am blessed to have Cynthia and Randy taking care of this and I do not have to worry about it. Cynthia functions as the Pastor overseer of the music ministry and Randy is the minister of music. If you will function in this Church in the music ministry, you will go to and through these two people as I have given them that responsibility because I trust them. Where there is a disconnect between the pastor and minister of music, normally you find the minister of music leaving the church which causes a lot of discord within the membership. These two leaders must walk in harmony with each other if the music is to flow appropriately.