Choir Note-Sunday, May 12, 2013
I’m often confronted with the question in my own mind, “Why not any other type of music except hymns? Why not rap, hip-hop, contemporary, country, or any form of rock?” When talking with others about the types of churches they go to, the subject of music often comes up. A distinct feature about our church is that we sing hymns. But are they really more biblical than any other form of music?
Other forms of music are not inherently bad. Just by being something other than a hymn doesn’t make it sinful, obviously. I don’t listen to only hymns, nor, in fact, do we only sing hymns in church. Further, the Bible doesn’t command us to use only hymns but also Psalms and spiritual songs. The youth department uses songs other than hymns in our Sunday school hour. Most of the time they are Bible verses put to music. The children’s ministry uses fun songs to sing with kids. Are these ministries wrong and sinful? No.
Most other churches in our area use styles of music other than hymns. Are they inherently sinful? Well, not merely because they’re different. WE use different music almost every service. Where the big distinction comes is the overarching drive for the music ministry.
For example, are hymns predominantly entertaining? No. I just purchased an album of hymns by the Liberty Quartet and it is not the most entertaining of my playlists. In fact, from a pure entertainment standpoint, it’s probably one of the most boring albums I own. Contemporary music, on the other hand, is designed to be entertaining. It’s entertaining on purpose. Most church worship bands are based on what people like.
I am not here to judge whether that’s right or wrong, but you will have a hard time convincing me that the entertainment-focused drive is better than the content/truth-focused drive of the music ministry of our church.
Since music/content/entertainment and other terms often associated with the music ministry are not always an exact science, we have decided to help define what our music ministry will look like. It becomes more of a “science” when you draw some distinct lines like we have. While you might know people who genuinely find enrichment, depth, substance and sustenance in contemporary music, our church has simply decided not to go that route because it doesn’t seem to compare to that which is offered by hymns. Style aside, what’s your overall philosophy of music, and how does it affect your preferences?