A Message to Music Ministers, Singers, and Musicians
By Laird G. Sillimon
While in high school, and even before having complete truth in my life, I can remember being impacted by the chorus of a song that had these lyrics: “What good is a song if it can’t inspire; if it has no message to bring; if a song cannot take you higher, higher, higher; then it’s not good enough to sing.” I’ll always remember thinking how much sense that made. Why sing a song if it cannot inspire or if it has no message to bring? One might argue that every song has some kind of message, and that may be true, but then the question becomes ‘What is the message?’ And then, is that particular song the best use of the influence that God allows us to have in any given situation, whether it be a church service, street service, concert, a national venue such as Youth Congress, General Conference, or even something more mainstream?
Music is one of the few mediums that will not ask individuals’ permission to influence them. It will most likely influence whether that influence is desired or not. That is why worldly music genres can cause people to think, speak, and dress differently from the way they may have been reared to think, speak, and dress. Perhaps they have recognized something that we have not. Or maybe our adversary has placed a higher premium on capturing souls than we have on using our
influence to win souls. So my question becomes this: Are we in tune? And further, are we fulfilling music ministry the Bible way?
Many times we feel that we must fit into a certain mold or style in order to be effective or accepted. Jesus almost always did what the Pharisees saw as unacceptable. Our music should be fresh and interesting musically, but also scripturally inspirational and instructional. We want our music to be anointed and to help create an atmosphere of praise and worship, but the Scripture actually challenges us to understand that our songs are meant for more than that. Our songs about heaven cast a vision of how wonderful it will be to be with Jesus in the afterlife. This type of song casts a vision so saints are encouraged to keep fighting the good fight of faith because one day eternal life with Jesus awaits us in heaven. It is of utmost importance that Apostolic musicians not get caught up in the commercialization of gospel music. Apostolic music must ignite genuine worship and true praise; it must teach a biblical principle; it should teach our doctrines; it should offer thanksgiving for what God has done and is doing; it should always bear His name.
Paul said, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:18-20, NW), and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:16-17, NIV).
Maybe we should not be following all of the trends. Maybe we should begin setting some trends. We have the message, and the message needs to be in our music. Our fundamental doctrines are our heritage. Again, our music needs to be fresh and interesting musically but also scripturally inspirational and instructional. How about some songwriters writing new songs about the blood, the Oneness of the Godhead, baptism in Jesus’ Name, and holiness.
‘A Message to Music Ministers, Singers, and Musicians’. By Laird G. Sillimon.