Those of us that teach and preach with the language of music had better be respectful of its great power. It is not to be used for manipulation or self-promotion though music is composed of properties that can easily do both.
Consider Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty emperor of Babylon. In Daniel 3 we have the story of the King building a statue of himself and then commanding everyone to bow down and worship him. He knew a soundtrack would enhance the spirit of the people… so, he called together all the musicians – the horn, flute, pipe, lyre, harp, and drum (specifically mentioned) – and then the phrase, “Every kind of music,” for the purpose of playing the very first “Stand Up” chord that would kick off the worship of the pagan king.
Think about your favorite movie scenes and remember what the music does to draw out even more emotion. If you read those scripts, they likely wouldn’t move you very much. You could even observe the scene. But, if you took the soundtrack away it would fall flat and emotionless.
You might remember the most recent Country Music Awards on television. The performance that everyone was talking about was a duet with a pop star and an emerging vocal giant in country music. I watched a clip of it and I have to admit, the performance was amazing. People were swaying and raising their hands – responding audibly and visibly to the music as if they were in church – and the song was about drinking whiskey.
We need to consider the awesome medium God gave us in music and decide to steward it well with the truth of God’s Word remaining the focal point. If we aren’t very careful, we can love what we do for the sake of the music. We need to love Jesus more.
If it’s Country music, it’s probably about drinking. At least that’s what it seems like lately. If it’s Urban music, it often has violent themes. If it’s Pop music, it’s a love story or a broken heart. If it’s Jazz music, it can mesmerize us with grooves and intoxicating chord progressions.
Like Nebuchadnezzar, we need to use it all. But if it’s Christian music, it needs to be Jesus… first and above all.
It’s not about the music. It’s about Him.
To see more leadership blogs from Mike and LifeWay Worship Resources Leadership Team, visit LifeWay.com/WorshipMinistry.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.