by Nathan Hill
“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.” (Psalm 96: 1-6)
It is an awesome privilege to enable the praise and worship of our God. At the same time we are mindful that worship (indeed love) is an act of the will, a choice that each one of us must make. I am reminded by John Piper that, “The moment that worship becomes about what I want, it is no longer worship.” So as we choose and use new songs we seek to glorify God and consider others.
I am aware that everyone has their own unique musical taste and preference, so balancing this is not easy, and in part why I have written this article. I am grateful for your patience and continuing prayerful support. We continue to welcome your feedback in conjunction with the testimonies of how God works through music to touch us and reveal Himself.
Songs come into our fellowship through many personal and corporate experiences. If you have any songs that you would like us to consider please let me know, including a brief summary of why you think we should use it at All Saints and how it has ministered to you in your worship. We can’t say yes to everything but I will reply personally to each suggestion.
What you can expect?
The Music Ministry Leaders spend time prayerfully, considering the whole congregation at All Saints.
- We aim to serve faithfully and are accountable to the Church Leadership.
- We select songs that affirm Biblical truths and which reflect the theme that God is communicating to our church through his Holy Spirit.
- We recognise that God is multifaceted and not limited to our offerings.
- We are responsible for the provision, encouragement and development of sung worship in this fellowship.
This is not a complete explanation of all that takes place – but we hope that you are encouraged by what you read. Using thefollowing guidance and questioning we aim to give our very best:
1) Does the song serve the congregation?
Although each generation needs to understand that worship is a choice we still have a responsibility to enable others to worship.
- Are we able to lead the chosen song effectively?
- Do we engage with the words and their meaning, the music and it’s style, the spirit and emotions, in each song?
- Do the songs minister to our team as we rehearse and worship with them?
2) Does the song serve the Evangelical mandate of this church?
We aim to introduce songs that are doctrinally sound but we are aware that songs are not perfect. Songs serve as musical pictures that convey Biblical truths.
- Do the songs make sense?
- Are they understandable to people who don’t attend church regularly?
- Do we engage passionately with the message of the song?
- Is it clear that we believe what we sing?
3) Are we using well the gifts of the musicians in the church?
Leaders are trusted to use wisely the gifts submitted to the church. We must use what God has given us and not wish that we had different skills and abilities. So we ask:
- Are we using the gifts given into the church?
- Are we developing as worshippers and musicians?
- Do we promote excellence?
- Are we attracting other musicians?
4) Do we sense that the Holy Spirit is speaking into the life of our fellowship through the songs?
Dwelling in a church, we get a sense of where God is taking us and what He is showing us through the teaching of the word and direction of services.
- Are we spending time in prayer and meditating on the Bible?
- Do we see the Holy Spirit at work in how our song choices support and reflect the life and teaching of Jesus Christ?
- Do we hear testimony of how the songs touch people and reveal God to those who worship through them?