On music and worship – part 3
As a result of completing studies in this area, there are four things I think churches, especially small country churches, need to consider in their music ministry:
Firstly keep the music simple. Spending hours at music rehearsals is very time consuming and not necessary to produce God honouring music. It is simply not possible to play a song the way it sounds on a CD because of the “extras” which are added to the CD. Church musicians need to play within their ability and play the songs simply with a clear melody line and a minimum of flourishes.
Secondly churches need to cultivate a team approach to their worship and have someone responsible for leading the team of worship leaders, musicians, singers, sound technicians and projectionists so there is unity, support and encouragement within the team. This also means there needs to be a list of songs which everyone adheres to. It will reflect the direction the leadership would like the music ministry to be heading. The list needs to be updated regularly to include new songs and exclude songs which have been exhausted.
Thirdly the worship team need to realize they are there to serve which they do by helping people to connect with God through clear melody lines and clear lyrics which help people focus on God.
Fourthly most worship teams would benefit from being taught a Biblical understanding of music and worship. After all the Bible has a great deal to say about music. Classical trained musician, Lowell Hohstadt, believes the Scriptures are quite specifics about the music we use in worship. It should be predominantly melodic in nature. Singing is fundamental to this kind of music. Throughout Scripture even instruments are encouraged to be used melodically, whereas rhythmic expression is less emphasized. (Ps. 98:5; Is. 51:3; I Cor. 14:7-9; I Cor. 13:1; Eph. 5:19)
Having excellent music does not necessarily translate to excellent worship. However there are many congregational members who genuinely want to connect with God through singing worshipful songs. If worship teams can be encouraged to keep the music simple, remember they are part of a team, focus on serving and be open to instruction their churches can experience great times of worship. It is not the number of musicians and singers, or even the ability of the worship team that makes for good worship but rather the heart attitude of the people involved.