Noah Oldham: 3 Reasons Music in Church Services Matters

Early in ministry, a mentor of mine pointed out that, regardless of size, churches tend to excel in only one of the two main aspects of the typical worship service: music or preaching. (Some, according to one of my non-Christian friends, excel at neither and therefore will never be attended by him or any other unchurched person.) I didn’t know if I agreed with my mentor, so I started to pay attention. I looked around our community. I even checked things out online. In general, he was right. 

I remember listening to a sermon by the pastor of one of the most popular worship teams in the world and wondering how he had a job. Then I went to an event and heard the worship team of my favorite Internet preacher and wondered how much he got paid, because they obviously didn’t have enough left over to pay a decent musician. Think about it: Most people choose their church based on one of these two factors. Some people I know want good preaching and feel like the songs are just commercials before and after the sermon. Other people have told me they could never attend a different church than they currently attend because no other church but theirs even comes close in the area of music. 

So when God called me to plant a church, one of the first decisions I made was that this church would be an exception to this rule. I wanted to lead a church that worked for God’s glory to have both good preaching and good worship. I think most pastors and church planters want this as well; I’m just not sure they are putting enough emphasis on it. So, for what it’s worth, I have three suggestions for improving the level of the worship music in your church. Sure, a lot of it has to do with getting the right type of people involved and using their gifts, but I am convinced there are small steps that a lead pastor can take to help the process along. 

1. Care about music

Do you care about music? In other words, do you feel like music matters? You may not. You may be one of those people that gets in the car and turns on talk radio or listens to a podcast. You may be a lot like me and like to spend your downtime in silence. I like to use my drive time for prayer and meditation on Scripture, not listening to the Top 40 Hits. But here is what you need to know: Even if music doesn’t matter to you, music matters. 

Music is one of the greatest storytellers man has ever known. Music not only tells the stories of our cultures, but it shapes our cultures by spreading ideas, concepts and truth claims of people and industries. A wise missionary will be able to exegete both the needs and the idols of his culture by listening to her music. 

You don’t have to be a musician to care about music. You don’t even have to be able to sing well to care about music. One of the quickest ways to lose relevancy with an emerging culture, generation or demographic of unreached people is to disregard their music. But if you want to grow in your caring, listen to music. Listen to stuff you like (sometimes), but listen to stuff that people around you are listening to on a consistent basis. Listen to the lyrics. If you can’t understand them, look them up. Don’t have a music budget to purchase stuff? Check out sites and programs like Spotify and noisetrade.com that legally offer music for free. 

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Source: Church Leaders