4 of the Ways Music Helps Us Grow in Faith

4 of the Ways Music Helps Us Grow in Faith
Doug Lawrence

God is repetitive. He keeps saying things over and over.

One of the common complaints many aging congregants have about music in today’s contemporary church is that it is so repetitive even to the point of being boring and insignificant. We’ve all heard sentiments like, vain repetition is ungodly, and, I don’t like ‘7-11’ music…7 words repeated 11 times. Are these legitimate concerns?

Not really, is probably the answer. All music is repetitious, regardless of your personal taste, because, in truth, we only have 12 notes to work with in our Western music system and that fact probably explains why sometimes you sense, while learning a new song that you already know where it’s going. When you think about it, it’s sort of a miracle that so many millions of compositions have been written and are so distinctly different from one another, when given the limited number of pitches available.

Just as God repeatedly proclaimed, ‘Fear not,’ (365 times in the Bible), we learn most things largely by repetition. If I sing, ‘I love you, Lord,’ 20 times every weekend, there is always the chance that I’ll remember to act like I love the Lord. Right?

Music doesn’t generally raise red flags.

Test this at church sometime. The songs you sing will most likely not create controversy other than someone may or may not like a song. Sermons, on the other hand, often raise the hackles of theologically astute parishioners. One pastor told me that he will never allow instantaneous technology response devices in his church because he doesn’t want to know what people are thinking or questioning during his sermon.

So, when we sing, we tend to be free to be with God instead of thinking about Him. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to be stimulated by sound teaching. Both experiences contribute to our experience of who God is and will be in our lives.

We memorize patterns as a means of understanding concepts.

Yes it’s true. The patterning process we go through in learning songs is the same process we go through to learn any concept. Songs are, when reduced to their simplest definition, a series of patterns which are easily learned and remembered. There have been endless studies about how learning is served by music because of this phenomenon. Called the Mozart Effect, thousands of educators are taking to heart the advice that just maybe music can change and improve the way we learn.

Is that possible in church as well? Absolutely! In fact, music found its way into the Acts church, some say, as a method of teaching theology to newcomers. It works the same way today.

Music isn’t particularly limited by your age or stage.

As churches divide up by taste and supposed ‘age interest’ groupings, it might be important to remember that the song out of the 80s you remember so well is also being sung by your 4 year old who listens to Disney Radio. That child doesn’t know when the song was written, nor does he/she care. They like the song.

When we go to highly ‘teched out’ movies we don’t think about the fact that much of the score is often drawn from 18th and 19th century classical music. We are touched or adrenalized by the movie and the music is helping to make that happen. When will we get over the idea that music of any kind is meant for just one specific group of people (usually defined by their age)?

Doug Lawrence, internationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, helps churches assess and improve their skillfulness in creating engaging worship experiences by utilizing his more than 35 years of “deep trench” worship leadership in prominent mainline churches.

This article ‘4 of the Ways Music Helps Us Grow in Faith’ by Doug Lawrence was excerpted from: www.churchcentral.com web site. December 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes ‘Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.’