Authored by Collin Stoddard on December 1, 2015
Music has been woven within the fabric of church for generations. While the sounds and styles have developed and changed over thousands of years, its’ ability to move hearts and evoke emotion and the Biblical mandate of worshiping using musical instruments has made it an essential components of worship services today. Worship and music have become so closely tied together that “music ministry” has become interchangeable with “worship ministry.”
I grew up in the church. In fact some of my earliest memories and most shaping experiences involve music that I heard in church. I was four years old when my family attended Central Baptist Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and our good friend YVonne played violin in the worship team. Our dear friend Dave Shelly would sing and lead worship from the piano. At home with my family we would sing, “Oh Lord Oh Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth!” And I would try to peck out the notes on the piano. Through junior high Scott Myers at Pulpit Rock Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado led worship from the piano and I tried my hardest to copy him; how he played and even how he talked. I tried to emulate these people. Although I didn’t know what it was, these moments and this tool of using music to draw people into the presence of God inspired me and all I knew is that I wanted to be a part of it.
I’m sure God created music to accomplish this on purpose. I’m sure this why He told us to use it to worship Him. Music carries emotion and breaks down barriers. It crosses cultural and generational boundaries. Music has a unique power to change and influence how we feel. While the science and psychology of music is a fascinating discussion, the best part of music to me is the experience of hearing a chorus of voices, trained or untrained, singing the same song at the top of their lungs their love and adoration of our Creator. This to me is what makes church special.
These experiences and music’s ability to move people is what makes it personal and highly subjective, and perhaps contributes to the controversy it falls into in church today. Like many, I’m partial to the songs and styles that have inspired me and drawn me into the presence of God. Hearing others express their passion and preferences of what inspires them to worship tells me that they have a desire to worship God and that they have found what moves them. This is a good thing.
This weekend when you’re at church focus on the words. Focus on the melodies. Internalize them and let yourself be affected by them. Write down the song titles and listen to them during the week. If the songs and sounds you’re hearing don’t resonate with your soul, ask someone what moves their heart and try listening to that. Keep listening until you find it. Be open to hearing from Him through the music you listen to and expect Jesus to move in your heart. It will change your life and you will never get tired of worshiping Jesus. Jesus says that heaven will be a worship service and that should be something we look forward to!