Playing and Singing with Excellence Part 1

Featuring John Telman Posted on February 26, 2009

The church is a unique place especially when it comes to music. Every congregation includes people of various musical tastes and abilities.

There may be a 40ish man who was a trumpet player in high school 25 years ago. Alongside him there could be a young student who recently picked up a guitar for the first time. And of course most churches will have either a grandmother or grandfather who has played the organ or piano in church for over 50 years. One other group of people are those that have played or sung before, but are incognito. In other words, no one except their family knows of their abilities. Does this sound something like your church?

The challenge for leaders in worship ministry is to help people of varying skills and abilities plus differing musical tastes to play and sing with excellence.

I often like to remind myself of the directive from Hebrew 10:23-25. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together.”  Three important statements are vital to this discussion.

Hold Fast The Confession Of Our Hope

Jesus Christ is the one we place our hope in and we gladly confess that he is God who came to bring salvation to all man. Excellence in playing or singing music in church must begin with a recognition of God. He is the one who makes us all one body. Our service of worship is based on who he is. Whether a rookie or a seasoned veteran in worship ministry, Jesus is the glue. No matter what our skill level is, we worship him and keep our focus on his greatness and majesty. What we know or don't know pales in comparison to the revelation of who God is. As a worship ministry, we are people who do not glory in our talents, but hold tightly to the confession of our hope: Jesus Christ.

Let Us Consider How To Stimulate One Another To Love And Good Deeds

Earlier, I mentioned that Jesus is the glue in the church. When God is not the focus of life in the church, fragmentation can take place. Regrettably, sometimes this means churches split. Even more than that, churches can be fragmented while remaining in one building. While there may be some good reasons to have focused services where Baby Boomers meet separately from a service for Gen Xers, biblical problems are birthed. The body of Christ is to encourage each other to do loving and good things. It is hard to encourage each other when we don't recognize God in them. The older folk in church must speak into the lives of the young and conversely the young must encourage the older to “keep truckin” until Jesus comes! Musically, we can learn from each other, even if the styles of music are different.

Not Forsaking The Assembling Together

As touched on above, it is imperative to understand the importance of everyone in the body. The apostle Paul goes into much teaching regarding the honor we are to give each other in 1 Corinthians 12.

Assembling does not mean gathering together in one place. I can put parts to my computer on a table but it won't work as it should until I assemble it. The body of Christ works properly as we recognize each part as vital and cherished. My hands protect my eyes even though they work independently. How do we practically assemble together when we are so different? It is beautifully done when we treasure each other though we may be different. Patience, loving words, random acts of kindness, and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit enable us to assemble together.

You may have heard the cute story that when Satan fell to earth, he fell into the choir loft. This is to indicate that many problems take place in the music ministry of the church. Truth be known, he probably messes with all ministries of the church. Nevertheless, excellence of ministry has taken place when celebrating God and how he miraculously makes us one.

It was a joy for me to see in one church, a man in his 60's serving alongside a singer in his teens. What brings greater glory to the Lord than a church that focuses on him and not earthly things that divide?

Excellence begins with strength in the local church and, as we have discussed, it happens with a view of the greatness of God and a proper recognition of his body, the church.