What type of music does your church play? What type do you think is best?
Worship Music in the Bible
You might not think that there is worship music in the Bible but there most certainly is. In fact, when we read the Apostle John’s writings in the Book of Revelation, he reveals that he “heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth” (Rev 14:2-3). This was not unique to the New Testament because in Psalm 150 they encouraged the use of the trumpet, the psaltery, the harp, the timbrel, stringed instruments, organs and various kinds of cymbals but there was also singing and even dancing, so worshiping God with music is nothing new at all. The Apostle Paul writes that we should be “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19) and to “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” (Col 3:16). Paul adds that these songs are to be song “in your hearts to the Lord” and not for show or for our own pleasure alone.
Every church is different. Some have their own unique personalities. The type of music that each church likes is highly dependent upon what they’ve been raised with or by what they’ve been most influenced by. This means, there may not really be any wrong worship music that can be sung or played in church, but of course that is qualified by the assurance that there are godly lyrics that are free from condoning anything sinful. For me to tell you what type of music you should listen to would be the same as me telling your church what they should listen to. I’m not qualified to do that for them any more than I am qualified to tell you what you what songs you should hear in church or in private. We can tell by nature that God loves variety. They way some churches worship in Brazil are different from those in the U.S. Believer’s in Africa worship differently than those who live in the Philippines. And that’s okay. God is good with that. Why not? God doesn’t desire “cookie cutter” Christians so neither does He wants us all to worship Him in the exact same way. That would be legalism. As long as we worship Him in spirit and
truth, we will be okay (John 4:24).
I was a guest at a contemporary worship service one Saturday night and I knew the music was going to be loud the moment they handed every one of us a pair of earplugs as we were coming in the door. That was an ominous sign that turned out to be true; the music wasn’t just loud, it was way too loud. I couldn’t even talk with the person next to me, so at least it was for me it was much too loud. But then I noticed, it wasn’t too loud for the others; they seemed to be enjoying themselves, but the only negative thing that came from my experience was that the vocals were at such a shrill tone that I couldn’t understand the lyrics. To me, that takes away from worshiping God in spirit and in truth. Even so, this young crowd had probably memorized the lyrics and knew every word from what I could see. Just because this isn’t right for me doesn’t mean it isn’t right for them. I cannot know their heart and so I will not judge them. Just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean it’s wrong for them. I can live with that.
Worship music at our church is a mixture of traditional hymns and contemporary worship music. We let the congregation participate in the selections. The worship music leader sometimes consults the pastor’s sermon title to make the song tie into the message but most of the time he tries to let the Spirit lead him into what he thinks we should sing. It isn’t just his decision as he speaks with the congregation about what they like and asks them about their favorites. We try to add a new song every once in a while and we provide the words on our big screen so that everyone can learn it. When we have a mixture of traditional hymns and contemporary ones, it seems that most are pleased with the music portion of our worship service. The psalmist adds that we should “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:1-2), but he doesn’t say what type of “joyful noise” that should be. God leaves it up to us to worship in ways and with songs that we like, but again, as long as the songs have biblically accurate words, we can live with the differences.
Singing praises to God is often our favorite part of the worship service. We can pour out our hearts unto God in song and let the Spirit of God move us in ways that only godly worship music can. Music adds to our worship service and lets us glorify God in song. That is most pleasing to God because He alone is worthy of all honor, praise, and glory, so let us “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:1-2). That’s what it’s all about.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.