Monday, January 25, 2016

Job Description For The Music Minister

I am a simple man.  I am not trained or experienced in leading my congregation in singing.  It is not my gift.  But I serve in the position of song leader because there is no one else to do it.

The position of song leader is mine, not to grasp firmly but to hold carefully in trust with open hands; any man whom God sends our way and is qualified, willing, and available, may assume this responsibility from me without objection.  In the meantime, I take this ministry seriously. 

I have assembled this job description to remind me of my ministry responsibilities according to my understanding of scripture.


• Sing songs people know.   The important thing is that people sing songs of praises and thanksgiving to God; that is a scriptural commandment.  It is hard to do when they don’t know the songs.  If you introduce new songs, do it sparingly and then repeat them several times over a few weeks until they become familiar.

• Sing them in comfortable keys.  Your job is not to show off your vocal range (or vocal gymnastics).  If it is too high, too low, or in challenging intervals, your congregation will not sing.

• Sing to celebrate the power, glory, and salvation of God.  There are good personal and relational songs of testimony or sentiments that may be appropriate in certain situations but, for the most part, worship is NOT about how warm and fuzzy you feel; it is about bowing down in humble awe of the power and glory of God.  Sing His praises, sing about His attributes and sing about His mercy and grace.

• Serve your people.  This might seem like a no-brainer but a legitimate worship service provides people with what they need; not what they want. 

• Saturate them with the Word of God.   Support your song choices with biblical references to God’s Word.   He has assembled your congregation in your presence for only a few minutes each week and they don’t need junk food.  They need spiritual meat and music can be a useful vehicle to deliver it to them.  Make sure that your song choices are substantive and rich in scripture.

• Don’t sing songs with humanistic philosophies or heretical theology.  I once read a comment that asked, “If your music doesn’t preach, why sing it?”  The fact of the matter is that ALL music preaches.  The problem is that so many Christians learn so much false doctrine from spiritually anemic, or downright stupid, popular contemporary music in church and on Christian radio.  It takes wisdom and discernment to examine all the lyrics in light of Scripture.  If necessary, you may have to make some corrective changes to the lyrics or throw them out entirely.  Just do it because you are no less accountable than is your pastor when it comes to preaching or teaching false doctrine.

• Don’t draw attention to yourself.  It’s not about you (or your “worship team”).   Someone has suggested that, if worship teams were required to sing from behind a curtain, there would be no more worship teams.    Entertainment is not an element of  worship and the musical portion of your ministry is not your turn to perform.  And no one wants to hear your overly dramatic, rehearsed praises and prayers.  Do not use your music ministry as your outlet for creativity at the expense of the centrality of the Gospel.  I once had a pastor who had a small plaque on his pulpit, engrave with these words, “Sirs, we would see Jesus.”  It was fixed there to remind him (and anyone else he allowed to share his pulpit) that his responsibility was always and only to point men to Jesus.

1 comment:

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

You would be considered a musical heretic in most churches today!