This Friday, we will be conducting a class on "Music Ministry." Naturally, we feel that, as part of the class, we need to review our philosophy of ministry regarding church music. I will be handing the following information out in the class and felt like it might be profitable for others to read who will not be attending the class but are interested in the topic.
We will be covering a lot more in the class about policies, procedures, and what have you, that are obviously not included below, but I hope it is beneficial.
Our Philosophy Regarding Church Music
1. We do not embrace the philosophy of "mainstream Christianity."
We are aware that we can't honestly judge the philosophies and motives of other churches, and it is not our desire to do so. We also realize that nothing is "wrong" simply because it is modern or mainstream. However, we try our best to use godly wisdom and discretion in recognizing certain dangers with some of the trends of the day in regards to church music. It is our opinion that mainstream Christianity tends to have the wrong focus. Music should not be too inward (focused on the style of music that we prefer) nor should it be too outward (focused on the style of music that our community prefers), but it should be focused upward (what best glorifies the Father?).
2. We do not embrace ecumenicalism (the promotion of acceptance of many varying belief systems within the church) in our music.
Songs promote ecumenicalism when they water down doctrinal truths or blur denominational lines. Obviously, we don't throw out a song simply because the writer doesn't believe exactly like we do or because the message isn't thorough enough, but we do try to search the content and sing songs that encourage our fellow believers to continue on in the biblical doctrines that are in line with what we teach.
3. We do not believe music is a "grey area."
Music has a significant effect on our bodies, minds, and spirits. Children recognize how music makes them feel, and you can see it in their behavior as they listen to various styles and rhythms of music. The business world (restaurants, shopping centers, etc) recognizes how music styles affect the way people feel, and they use it to achieve their desired atmosphere. Psychologists recognize how particular styles affect learning. Even plants are apparently affected by music styles.
5. We do not believe church music is about ourselves
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" (Ephesians 5:18,19)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:16, 17)
Music in the church is about aligning our mind and spirit with God and it is about teaching and admonishing (warning) other believers. It is in contrast with "drunkeness" which promotes "excess." Excess is defined as,
"(in morals) any indulgence of appetite, passion or exertion, beyond the rules of God's word, or beyond any rule of propriety; intemperance in gratifications; as excess in eating or drinking; excess of joy; excess of grief; excess of love, or of anger; excess of labor." (Webster 1828)
Based on Ephesians 5:18 and 19, we conclude that, If the Holy Spirit contrasts music with something that is immoral (drunkeness), music must not be "amoral." As the improper use of ingredients used to make food and drink can be bad for you, so can the improper use of words, notes, rhythms, and beats used to make music. It is our desire to stick with what we believe to be most acceptable in the sight of God.
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)