Spiritual Preparation in the Life of a Church Music Director
The spiritual preparation of the heart is the number one quality of a good church music director. It takes a sound relationship with the Lord to lead others and effectively care for the the music ministry of the church.
A few days ago I ran across a copy of the Boy Scout handbook. It bought back memories of designing pinewood derby cars and earning merit badges for successfully completing a specific skill.
The Boy Scout Promise:
On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
Looking back at that promise, I can see how important those basic ideals were in shaping my life. The organization may have strayed since my memories of those days but the one fundamental truth or motto lives on.
“ALWAYS BE PREPARED”
I read in the Bible of two men who helped me understand the importance of the spiritual preparation of the heart. This understanding helps me to be a better music leader and in return, benefits our church ministry.
The first man is Rehoboam. This is Solomon’s son, the last king of the united nation of Israel. The Bible doesn’t have much good to say about him for several reasons:
• Followed unwise advise from his friends and which ultimately divided the kingdom
• Married heathen women, as his father Solomon had done
• Abandoned the worship of God and allowed idolatry to flourish
In II Chronicles 12:14 we read that Rehoboam “did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord”
The second man is Jehoshaphat. Now, Jehoshaphat’s story glows with his devotion to the LORD. He never once fell into the pagan religion or practices that plagued neighboring Israel, and many of Judah’s kings as well.
Positive Aspects of Jehoshaphat’s Life
• Strengthened the cities to protect the land and the people from their enemies
• Sought the God of his fathers, such as king David did
• Walked in God’s commandments (was obedient and loving)
• Refused to follow the ways of the corrupt kings of Israel
• Rejected false gods of nations who worshipped Baal
The differences between the two men boil down to a matter of the spiritual preparation of the heart. In Chronicles 19:3 we see concerning Jehoshaphat, “hast prepared thine heart to seek God”
• An unprepared heart could lead to evil practices
• A prepared heart could lead to accomplishing some good things for God
Let me apply this to the area of our music ministry. Just like the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” we have a responsibility to do our best in planning and organizing our music ministries. In order to accomplish this, we must first consider the preparation of the heart of the minister of music.
The primary concern of the church music director is his spiritual relationship with the Lord. The four areas of preparation that directly affect the heart are:
Like Jehoshaphat, it begins with the preparation of the heart. With that in mind, I would never enlist a music man based solely on his musical abilities. He should have a genuine relationship through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a testimony of a separated life. Both of these factors will govern his musical choices for the ministry.
• Daily Walk with the Lord
Daily personal devotions is is the key to the spiritual preparation of the heart. Part of his duties as a church music leader is ministering spiritually to the needs of others. Therefore, maintaining a close relationship with the Lord by reading, listening, studying, and obeying His word is necessary for service. (Psalm 46:10; II Timothy 1:12)
Like David in Psalm 139:24-24, he should ask God to examine his heart.
• Clearly Defined Convictions
A prepared heart, as it did for Jehoshaphat, will lead to a consecrated life marked by strong Biblical convictions. All over the world churches are allowing the music of the world to filter in. It will take a strong leader with clearly defined music convictions and a Biblical philosophy of music to stand against the prevailing musical tide.
• Spiritual Discernment
A heart prepared to seek the Lord will exercise discernment. In I Kings 22, Jehoshaphat saw through the hypocrisy of the 400 man-pleasing prophets and sought council from the Lord. “And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?” (I Kings 22:7) Music plays a definite role in how we worship. So, when selecting music appropriate for each service exercise great care. Though important, music is not a substitute for the preaching. I Corinthians 1:21 states “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Let’s remember it is not the song leader or the music that is stirring the hearts to worship, it’s the Holy Spirit.
For that reason, the music director must make sure the music he chooses to sing does not hinder the power of God. Instead, his music should be purposeful and as often as possible, compliment the pastor’s message. Realizing this fact, music has a unique way of ministering to people as it is presented in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The position of a music leader is a sacred trust, handle it as such. If a church is to have an effective music program, it is essential that the church music leader be concerned about the spiritual preparation of the heart.
The above article, “Spiritual Preparation in the Life of a Church Music Director” was written by David West. The article was excerpted from www.grace4all.com web site. April 2018.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
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.”