Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's Not the Music Silly

Some years ago, I was a music director. It was a small church and an unpaid position, but I took my job seriously. It was during the heat of the contemporary vs. traditional music debate and I had it in my head that if we could just get some newer music into the church services we would see growth. Being the young man that I was, I had this vision of singlehandedly turning that church around and I was going to do it through the music ministry. In my mind, I saw hundreds of people deciding to attend our church because our music was the kind of music they enjoyed.

I look back now and laugh at that, not because I’m against churches using more contemporary music, but because I see now that the music program won’t provide sustainable growth for a church. I won’t say that some people don’t consider what kind of music the church has when they consider a church, but I’ve realized that if a church is going to look like what the Lord wants a church to look like, the church members are going to have a wide variety of tastes. A church should welcome all ages, all races, and all cultural backgrounds. That translates into many kinds of music. But that also means that some people are sitting through some worship services that incorporate music that they don’t enjoy. One person doesn’t like southern gospel. Another doesn’t like music with drums. And yet, they attend the same church and fellowship together. Why?

There are some people who look for a church that has great music, short sermons, and coffee during Sunday school, but I think these tend to be the church hoppers anyway. When they see a church with better music, a better singles program, or whatever, they’ll be jumping ship an moving on. But when you look at the core membership, the people who are the most faithful, these things are a lesser concern. They aren’t looking for what the church can do for them as much as they are looking for a place of service. Isn’t that what church is all about? We come together as one body because we want to work together, side by side.

I see people who are involved in various ministries and I’ve found that when I ask for their help with something related to that ministry, they are eager to help. Take for example a women’s meeting our church had a few months ago. It was during the week and some of the older women were concerned about how they would get there. One of our van drivers volunteered to take them. Sure, it was an inconvenience for him and there might have been things he might have enjoyed more than waiting around while a bunch of women met, but he was eager to do it. That’s true across the board. Christians who are involved with a ministry want to do the work. They want the ministry to be the best it can be. They enjoy doing what they do.

That is what builds a church. Within every Christian is a drive to do the work of the Lord. When we go looking for a church, what we’re looking for is a church that will enable us to serve the Lord better. Yes, that is partly about music, preaching, and children’s programs, but we join a church to work in the Lord’s service, not to be entertained. So, the emphasis shouldn’t be on trying to get people to come because we sing a certain kind of music or because our pastor wears a hat and we sit on hay bales. Just like the call to Macedonia so many years ago, the call we should be sending our is “Come to our church and help us.” Let’s work together, side by side.