Are your songs articulating your God?

The other day I heard this phrase on Triple J, “the more songs we hear, the more we will be able to articulate our culture”. And I began to think about the phrase, not in regards to culture, but in regards to music and God.

What if we changed the phrase above to, “the more biblical church songs we sing, the more we will be able to articulate our God”? If you look at most old hymn books, you’ll see church songs listed in a huge range of categories and themes about the attributes of God, his world and his church.

In your church or at home, what do you spend most your time singing about? Is it biblical? Is it just focused on God’s love, justice or the cross? Maybe you don’t sing about God. You spend more time singing about yourself? If you spend most your time singing about God’s love, you will think God is only about love. It’s like those guys who go to the gym and just work the right bicep. They’re lopsided.

As Christians we want to keep asking ourselves the question, whether involved in music ministry in church or not… “what are we saying (or not saying) about God in the songs we sing in church?”

The first skill of speaking out the front is…

…learning how to NOT speak, and being comfortable with the silence.
Whether you’re training MCs, band leaders, prayers or preachers, if they’re not able to cope with not-speaking, they’re going to try and fill all the gaps. And when you’re trying to fill gaps, you’re not thinking about what you’re saying, you’re just thinking, “ahh, I need to fill this gap!!” And that’s when you do one of two things; either you speak for too long about nothing things and bore people (imagine the band leader who starts their song intro, but doesn’t quite stop). Or you say something silly, wrong, hurtful or heretical.
The solution is silence.
Tell your band leaders, “This week, show me that you can NOT speak, and then we’ll move onto speaking next week.”

Use the volume of background music to help your crowd

I’m skipping over another Ministry Pragmatics topic (Why you should use background music during social time). But I just want to focus on how you use the volume during those times.
Most people set the volume at a level where it’s just below normal talking volume, but I’d suggest you set it just above normal talking volume; make it so people need to raise their voice a bit to speak to each other.
Here’s why…

  1. If the music is below normal talking volume… I can hear other people’s conversations… That makes me feel awkward they can hear my conversation, so I don’t talk.
  2. When the music is low, it actually makes the room feel more empty
  3. In general, most people talk in a more lively manner; with more enthusiasm, when the music is a bit louder
  4. When you need to move to a formal thing, turning the music way down is the best way to bring people to attention; they all realise they’re talking a bit loud, so they stop talking, they look around, to see why the music stopped. (If the music is already low when you turn it down, people won’t notice when you turn it down)

In other words, you can either have soft music and shout over people’s conversations rudely – or you can have loud music and gather people’s attention smoothly.

Why you should move people from front-of-house via back-of-house

Different sorts of people put their hand up to be “out the front” at church. And, to some extent, the very fact they’ve put their hand up for that might be a reason to raise some eyebrows – but that’s unfair.

Still, you don’t want to end up with people out the front of your church like this… @CelebWorshipLdr (“It’s always awkward when you do a hard-hitting upbeat song, and no one claps for you after. #worship“)

Our idea has been to implement a pathway for new people… front-of-house via back-of-house.

The idea is that music team members learn the behind the scenes skills and processes first. They prove themselves able to turn up early and on time. They show their faithfulness in doing it for other people. They display their humility in being unseen and rarely acknowledged. They develop an understanding of the sound-tech needs and pressures. They get the idea that the band and the sound team are not two teams… they are one team; like the forwards and the backs in a rugby team.

Once again, everything in ministry comes back to rugby.