Discipling Music Minsitry

In the last few years the focus of music ministry has been so closely associated with worship that in many circles the two monikers have become interchangeable.  If people (including many leaders) did not have such a truncated view of worship, misshapen by pragmatism and church marketing lingo, that might not be so bad.  Worship, after all, is all of life (Rom 12:1), and thus there is a sense in which all functions of the church are, in the end, worship.  Given that understanding then, discipleship is worship, service and ministry are worship, and so forth.  For a moment let’s think about music ministry from a specific involvement in the church and in the lives of the people who are involved in music ministry, both delivering and receiving its application. 

It is important for us to contemplate music ministry as it applies to discipleship and discipling.  Since what we sing has a way of forming us, then the music we select and sing certainly must be assessed for its capacity to teach us biblical truth and to shape us into Christ-like people.  The songs must not only be textually sound, but our way of making the music also has a way of maturing us.  This is a complex process that deserves extended contemplation by leaders and planners.  I am in constant consultation with churches driven to find music to “attract” people based on presumed style tastes.  If our music-making is to help make Christian (Christ-like) disciples, then it seems sensible that its character and origin would not conflict with attitudes that are compatible to a Christ-follower (disciple).  Maturation of believers should be part of our thinking-praying as we consider music we will select and music-making in which we will engage.  Do not read too much into that statement stylistically lest we end up with a “Western music is God’s standard of beauty” mentality that is ill conceived.  On the other hand, it seems grossly immature to simply take a pass when it comes to thinking about Imageo Dei and its implication to our art forms, our reverence for the one we purport to worship, and our attitude toward our fellow creatures – created and creating beings.

If you have led a choir for any length of time, I know you have heard the unavoidable whine at some point in your ministry.  Perhaps it was in a youth or senior adult group, or in the church choir.  You handed out the new anthem, read through it the first time, and someone felt self-appointed to state, “I DON’T LIKE THIS!” or the slightly more subtle, “Where did you get this?” (interpreted, “You wasted the church’s money on this music because I do not like it at first listen).  Many a music minister has paled in such a scenario and lost a golden opportunity to recognize the “teachable moment” presented.  Granted, we must resist the internal desire festering that wants to lash out at the sourpuss who dared to vent their opinion, and we must contain the temptation that may even be worse, to wait until rehearsal is over and then talk about the person’s attitude behind their back. For the pastoral musician, the opportunity presented when people openly express such an attitude, is to dig deeper into the music to help the choir member(s) better grasp how the music selected will move them toward maturity, and in a double dip bonus, show them how singing the music as ministry can speak to hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters in Christ who will experience the music through our singing ministry.  Spoken gently in a true spirit of love, such pastoral response can bear rich benefits as discipling ministry that helps develop Christ-like spirits and perceptions about our responsibility as music-making ministers (yes, choir members ARE ministers).

(see Gen 1:26-27; John 3:16-17; John 13:35)

Growing in the Knowledge and I pray in the Likeness of Him,

Paul

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church Music, Leading Worship, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts

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