By S.C. Shaw
I want to stress the importance of proper music in the church. Not all “good” songs are good for corporate worship. Some can actually be a hindrance to the congregation of Gods people. As a music leader at church, I have a responsibility to deliver God’s message through music. Not focusing so much on “our” experience, but giving people something to sing all week as they go on each day living as Christ has instructed. We sing for the praising of His name, we sing for the suffering, we sing to bring peace, comfort, and joy, we sing to encourage one another, but most importantly, we sing to glorify and make much of God.
Sometimes we can give the wrong message (specifically to guests or non-believers), either through the songs or the sermon, that following Jesus is always warm and fuzzy. If people walk away thinking that way, then when they go through a difficult time of life, or “storm and trial,” they’re faith will suffer because it was based on shallow truths. They will cry out, “I thought Jesus loved me?” and may turn away from Him because they lack categories for suffering or attack in their songs. Providing good, theologically rich and accurate lyrics allows people to go through that same storm and be able to sing out words like “When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there who made an end to all my sin”. That makes a difference. That’s the kind of truth that helps us trust God’s power to work through and in all circumstances. Giving people a real view of God and His glorious attributes through music is a huge responsibility.
If our lives are supposed to be truly and completely reliant on Christ then why should our church “worship” be any less? There are plenty of great songs that are wonderful for a believer to sing in the car or at home and may facilitate a great, worshipful experience, but that doesn’t mean the song is right for the church body. It’s like a pastor getting up to deliver his sermon and all he says over and over again is: “God is so great, wonderful and His name is strong, I love Him so much. He is so good. I want more of Him, His name is powerful. He is awesome”. Now each statement is true, but you’re not teaching much. Those that know all that to be true can say, “Amen!” and may get excited by those words. However, what about the rest of the people who don’t know God on that level? They need to know why God is all those things. And why do we long to be near Him. Why and how He is merciful and gracious. Why Jesus is enough even in the times of suffering. When those things are taught, then God’s bigness is more fully understood and our wretchedness is in proper perspective. Hence, our need for a Savior names Jesus because we believe He is the only one that can truly save us.
We have no power, righteousness, goodness, holiness, humbleness, etc. apart from Christ and His work on the cross. We are to be seeking Jesus every day. Dying to ourselves is a moment-by-moment thing. Music that only says, “Jesus is my boyfriend” type of themes doesn’t help us do that. It hinders our awe, by making God’s glory so small. These songs may have their place in your headphones, but not in the church. But I would seek out deeper and truer songs for your personal use as well.
I hope to help those who seek to make God’s glory known in a bigger way through their music. If that’s you, please contact me with any questions or insight you have because I don’t claim to have it all figured out. However, I am convicted on this topic: It’s time to place substance back in our congregational worship.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Solo Music StevenShaw.co
Ministry Page www.MisfitMinistry.com