Being responsible for organising church music is a challenging task and not for the faint of heart. Yet music has a vital pastoral role in the church community. The songs we choose will either teach our people great bible truths, and build them up in the confidence of salvation in Christ – or not! Here is a great explanation of why and how our songs can effectively pastor the Body of Christ:
“Cross-centered songs affect our souls. You’ve heard the Martyn Lloyd-Jones quote about how most of our unhappiness comes from listening to ourselves more than we talk to ourselves. In light of this, corporate worship is a serious gift! Singing in corporate worship is a means of talking to yourself. This provides us an opportunity to stop listening to ourselves, to stop listening to sin, legalism, condemnation, and to begin singing and talking to ourselves. And by the end of corporate worship there is a good chance that we will experience the joy of the gospel. Not very often in our noisy world do we have such an opportunity to talk to ourselves. So what your church is saying in these moments of corporate singing is very important. And what a unique opportunity worship leaders have to transfer the hope of the gospel to people in corporate worship. And to think, you can do this each and every Sunday!”
(Bob Kauflin at Worship Matters)
Don’t ever give up on the pursuit of engaging people in corporate worship – they need it! And that’s why God calls us to the task. It works for His glory, and simultaneously for our good.
It is interesting to note that this is the very thing that sustains music leaders and musicians in their work. When we practice the songs of faith, speaking them to ourselves over and over as we practice at home, and again with a team before the service – all this practice allows the words of the cross, the glory of grace, to sink in more deeply. While some may see it as a big sacrifice to get out of bed early, or give up hours at home preparing music, this is the very thing that renews us in the Lord!
If you are not part of music leading at your church, please encourage those who are to keep working at it, and thank them for their efforts. Our musicians help us to give wise counsel to ourselves through song. This is precisely what David was doing as he penned the Psalms. Psalm 103 contains some of David’s most famous direct counsel to his own soul – and ours:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
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