Music and the lost

18 Dec

Growing up at my home Church I always appreciated the music and the style was never an issue for me. If anything I like the more ‘traditional’ feel of the services, but it seems that there is more at stake than personal preferences. I’ve seen people come to churches where the bible is taught faithfully, never to return because of the music, and who have settled for somewhere they felt more ‘comfortable’ but with a less firm grasp of solid Bible teaching. One student said something to me along the lines of “I know the Bible teaching isn’t as good and they’re all messed up with their spiritual gifts but I just feel much more able to worship God there”. I know that this is a wrong attitude to have, but it is a very common one nonetheless.

The first hurdle in Church-based evangelism is for people to come to Church in the first place, and most of the time for that to happen we need to invite people. The style issue could be more to do with people being willing to return and hear Christ preached again and again where conversion isn’t immediate. It is my hope to see churches as places where Christians feel able to invite their unbelieving friends, and where unbelievers will come under the sound of the Gospel as often as required and respond to it in faith.

As far as music goes, there is also the issue of how we best serve each other as we seek to worship God corporately.

A few disjointed thoughts:

Drums aren’t necessary for a more contemporary feel. They do help of course, and to be honest, for all the wrong reasons lots of young people do equate having drums with being a good church to go to!

People may be unhappy for change because they don’t fully understand the changes proposed. Good ‘contemporary’ Christian music is almost always different stylistically to anything in the secular music world. I am aware of people who are very set against any change. Is this because they believe in good conscience that modern music/drums/a different style is unbiblical, or is it more a matter of personal preference? Would it be right to risk offending a few if, by God’s grace, a style change led to more conversions? Of course God can work in all situations and it would be dangerous to assume that a simple change in style would directly lead to more conversions but at the same time we are called as Paul was, to be “all things to all people” as we witness to the lost.

I came across this rather insightful quote from Bob Kauflin (full article here):

Musical styles for congregational worship have caused quite a stir in recent years. Actually, they’ve been causing a stir for centuries, and for good reason. Music is a powerful medium that can affect us positively or negatively. However, the root of the division is often (though not always) people insisting they know what kind of music God likes. It hasn’t helped that “new music proponents” are often arrogant, insensitive, selfish, and impatient. However, we can make an idol out of what’s old and familiar as easily as we can make one out of what’s new and creative. Music must be wisely chosen for its ability to serve both the lyrics and the congregation in order to truly honour God. But thinking that we need a certain type of music to truly engage with God is, at its root, idolatry.

May God receive the glory as we become better at reaching out to unbelieving souls, and hearts are changed by the power of the Spirit.

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