Sometimes being part of a church music team/worship band is an inspiring and encouraging thing, something you absolutely enjoy and look forward to. But other times it can become a bit of a drag, unfortunately! And if you are the leader, and you are experiencing the latter emotions, then oh dear! This is not good news for anyone, especially the congregation. Something needs to change and fast.
What to do?
The Cambridge online dictionary defines “a shot in the arm” as something which has a sudden and positive effect on something, providing encouragement and new activity. And that is precisely what I believe this great little set of 6 bible studies can do for you.
The study book “Sing for Joy” written by Nathan Lovell (2010) is produced by the insightful people at Matthias Media, as part of a range of Interactive Bible Studies. It would be a great shot in the arm for a flagging music team (or leader) as they work through it with others, in order to re-energise and refocus. It would allow you to raise and explore all those tricky issues about the behaviour and motives of church musicians/music in an unthreatening manner. Each study is around 8 pages long (in 60 page study booklet).
Here is a sampling of the topics you will discuss while diving into God’s Word together:
#1 What is Church and Why do we sing there? – looks at music as a natural expression of joy, and why singing is the right response for God’s gathered people.
#2 Praise be to God – looks at the nature of biblical praise, the songs of the Bible, and how we praise God in ways other than singing.
#3 True Worship – traces different meanings of the word “worship” and the implications for how God’s people serve in the Old and New Testament eras. The ideas of worship and sacrifice are explored through the texts of Romans 12 and Hebrews 12-13. Connections are drawn between true praise and true worship.
#4 The Function of Church Music – looks at the many different ways music benefits God’s gathered people.
#5 The Gift of Musicians – explores what it means to be gifted musically, and how to be a servant-hearted leader as a musician, rather than a self-focused one.
#6 Music & Lyrics – considers the importance of song lyrics which should “continually refocus our mind on Christ, teach us His Word and remind us of what he has done for us” (p.57)
One of the most useful and simple definitions given in these studies regarding with purpose of church singing was this: “we sing in church because we are rejoicing over who God is and what He has done for us. Our singing is a response to the Gospel – an extravagant, joyous response to our God who has delivered us from our enemies, redeemed us for Himself, and gathered us together as his people” (p.35)
Describing church musicians as both servants and leaders was a really interesting approach, and a really useful one I think.
“Like it or not, musicians are in the role of leadership within our congregations. It has always been this way. In David’s day there was a band consisting of 120 trumpets as well as cymbals, harps, lyres and a whole tribe of singers (2 Chronicles 5:12)! They dressed up in fine linen and stood apart from the rest of the congregation and led them in praise. What a spectacle that must have been!” (p.47)
We will definitely be discussing that at our next team meeting! You can order these studies by following this link to Matthias Media. I am sure they will help get your whole music team back on the same page. . . and singing from the same score!