Specialized Ministry — November 2007
By Michelle Maggard, State Girls Clubs Coordinator, Arkansas
All around us, there’s a melody being played to our Creator at all times. The trees wait in anticipation to clap their hands, the birds sing a love song, and the animals make a melody all in exaltation to our Abba Father! Isaiah 55:12, 13 (MSG) says, “The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause.” Inside of us is a melody that brings forth passionate emotion. Music within the church allows us the opportunity to enter into a mindset that is conducive to accepting the word of God into our hearts. It permits an escape of passionate emotion to be given to the Creator of the universe, and expresses the joy of God’s presence.
There are many aspects of music ministry, two of them being vocal and instrumental. While all people that participate in the music program may not have appropriate voice control, you can train members vocally at each meeting, showing the correct ways to enunciate words, how to read the proper notation, and how to understand the dynamics of the piece you are learning, to name a few. There are various instruments that can be used in a worship setting. Let your church be the guideline as to what is suitable to your congregational needs.
To have a successful and flourishing music ministry in your local congregation, I believe there are certain criteria you should try to fulfill. They are:
- Have a variety of music planned each week. Don’t stick with just one style of music. Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
- Be in tune with the spiritual awareness of your church. The intimate relationship with God is different from person to person. Be keen to your church’s understanding of worship, and be sensitive to that. Understand that worship is an individual experience.
- Be current with all types and styles of music, while never forgetting the traditional songs. Listen to what music others are currently implementing in their worship service.
- Seek God when planning your worship service order.
- Be prepared. Have notebooks ready, microphones in order, etc. Stage preparation is very important.
- Be submissive to your pastor. While we may not always agree, God has placed this person as the leader of the church, and it is God’s order for us to be submissive to them. Hebrews 13:17 (NASB): “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”
- Be early to your rehearsals, and to service times. It isn’t easy to be early, but it permits you time to get your thoughts together, it relieves your stress, and allows a quick time to seek God and get yourself spiritually prepared.
- Train your leaders. Participate in training seminars. Allow them the opportunity to be your hand extended in the various sections (alto, tenor, soprano, bass).
- There will be times when you are confronted. Not at anytime should confrontation be allowed to take place during rehearsal in front of other members of the music team. Never react, but always be proactive when it comes to confrontation. Take a second, and come back to the situation. Proverbs 15:1 (MSG): “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.”
- Set guidelines, but also be flexible. Some rules will not always apply to everyone, and every situation.
- Be aware of the needs of your church. A 50-member church will operate differently than a 1,000-member church. Be attentive to that and do not try to be something that you aren’t!
- Spiritually prepare each musician prior to your rehearsals, and church services.
- Set a vision and an objective for the music ministry, and abide by it. Let that be your motto that is spoken repetitively to the music ministry team. You are a team, with a coach, heading out for one goal and that is to prepare the congregation for the word of God.
- Care for, and nurture the worshippers. Don’t chastise. Encourage your musicians, never put down, and never embarrass publicly. Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG) “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”
Music Ministry is an important part of our spiritual process. The music we sing must be true to the scripture. Music is always changing. From the time of the reformation, until now, there have been different sounds. What we sing today will become different tomorrow, so be flexible to stay open to change. Each movement has brought about different types of music from notes in the minor key of the men’s Welch choir, to the early days of the Pentecostal movement, to the Brownsville Revival, to Hillsongs, music calls people to revival. Whether singing and playing music when the Ark of the Covenant was carried or when there was a sound as the Holy Spirit was being poured out, music leads us to the heart of God.
The ultimate function of music ministry is worship. You were created for this! We are commanded to sing praise. “Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name” (Psalms 30:4, NASB). No matter what your occupation may be outside the church—nurse, construction worker, bus driver, etc.—your ultimate purpose is worship. Realize this, and let it be the grounding force that governs your everyday life. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NKJV).