More music theology discussion

Bass guitar pickup

While preparing for music tonight at church I came across a page over on the Garage Hymnal website: Papers on Church music

They put a link on their front page to these papers as a thought out response to the articles in the Briefing and ensuing debate about whether evangelical churches should play Hillsong music.

I must say it is a better and more thought out article than the one I struggled to write and encourage you to read it. Another good article is Andy Judd’s Case study of questionable lyrics in which the author explains what to look for when evaluating a new song. One of the good points for me is where he reflects on “Shout to the Lord”:

That said, I think there are reasons why you might not sing the song every week. The final example is the statement that “Forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand”. Carmichael identifies this as an Arminian view, a “personal guarantee” to Jesus that we’ll be there for him. This is interesting, because it could just as easily be read as a Calvinist affirmation of the perseverance of the saints (perhaps echoing 2 Peter 1:10 or something). Forever I will love Jesus – because I am one of the elect! Church songs are, after all, to be sung by the saints. But to be honest I doubt anyone sings that line either with particularly Arminian or Calvinistic thoughts in mind. We don’t think about it. It’s just a wishy washy line of good intentioned sentimental feeling, and so for me the second half of the chorus is a little too vague to be helpful. It’s not so much wrong as disappointing.

Also the conclusions at the end of “Why church playing is important” PDF link are encouraging.

Thanks

“What do you say to a musician who has done a really good job?” someone asked me recently. You don’t want to build their ego’s. But encouragement is a great blessing in a church. Personally, what I’d find most encouraging after spending hours battling to get everyone in tune and in time is “thanks, I found singing together tonight really encouraging”.

Prayer

If you are not starting your band practices with a time of prayer and sharing you need to. I know music teams who spend 30 mins together talking about their lives and praying for the service every week. Not a second of that is wasted.

Singing along

I remember playing in a band at KCC recently and having Willow (the sound guru) come up to us and thank us for singing along while we played. Apparently everyone found it encouraging. We didn’t notice, because we were so caught up in the words which we’d played a thousand times but never sang past verse 2 until then. Try it! (flautist are excused, reluctantly).

Take some time off

Everyone should have at least one week off every month. Our church barely has enough musos to make a full band (let alone two or three), so we just have heaps scaled back music on the fourth Sunday of every month. I’m prepared to have no singing (or use backing tracks/organ) if it means giving the musos a break.

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