I have a young rapper friend, Jeevan. God has been using his style and music to bring many pub goers and drug addicts to Jesus. He is at times disliked by some traditional Christians for wearing his hair in dreadlocks. Let’s not forget that we are all in the process of being shaped according to God’s will. We would not want to be found judging someone’s appearance to please our cultural mannerisms; God has different purposes with each of our lives. The Lord enabled me to serve and fellowship with him in a closer way. I realized that God could use his music to go to places and reach out in a way I was not called to do.
Some Christians argue that music is not important and the message is all that matters. But in fact, the question is not really whether music is as important as the message. Music is just one of the different mediums that is used to spread the gospel. Some use puppet shows, some use music, some others just scream it out without a tune. Each medium and style reaches out to an audience that no other medium can reach out to.
Here are few thoughts to ponder on about Music and the Church.
The type of music differs from one culture to another. It is a fact that music and cultural identity go hand in hand. If you decide to sing hardcore rock-style song in your service, you will have some who will dislike you for it and some who will really appreciate it. If music is a medium to bring people closer to Christ, then pay attention to the community’s needs that you minister to.
Don’t Beat it Down
Even as musicians try to be culturally relevant, the Church must also be conscious to the need of the present generation. It is true that music has changed a lot from the last decade to this. The style of songs that were sung in the last generation is no more the ‘in thing’ for this generation. And very often, I have seen pastors and worship leaders go tight fisted about what kind of songs are to be sung. While being relevant, it is good to bring balance and keep up with the times as well.
Turn the Lights on Jesus
I would not go as far to say that there is too much attention given to the execution of the worship today because I believe that it is also important that we do things in style for the King of Kings. But there is caution that we need to exercise. Do not let the focus be turned away from the Creator to the creation of the music. It is possible that music can be so good that people are lost in the talent and not in worship. You are a fine worship leader when you can step back and people are still lost in worship.
Fine Tune it
Now the style, the culture, people’s likes and dislikes; none of it should stop you from doing what you do in an excellent manner. Find the right chord, learn the best technique and get the best tune for your Master’s presence. Aim at the best in the best possible manner without sowing rebellion. Remember to cater to the diverse taste of your audience in the service. Lean not on your own understanding. Seek God to fill you with wisdom for every individual service. It is only the presence of God that can change the hearts of the people. Soak in God till He stands out louder than your music – now that’s fine tuning!
And till that day (Revelation 7: 9-10) where we all meet in heaven and sing the heavens song, in heaven’s style with heaven’s music, the Holy Spirit will be your helper.
Question: What do you like to see the church accommodate in terms of music?
What are the challenges you face with music in your church?