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3 Things Worship Musicians Hold in Tension

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

In current church culture it often seems the words “music” and “worship” are synonymous. But they aren’t. Music is an art form, like architecture or cooking. Worship, however, is the act of attributing worth to something or someone.

So… worship musicians are simply artists/musicians who are using their art to attribute worth to Jesus.

But, no one can deny the culture we are standing in and trying to serve. And that culture can be misleading to say the least! Here’s 3 things worshipping artists have to constantly hold in tension:

#1 We serve an Audience of One + We serve everyone and anyone

Every worship musician walks into a worship service wanting to worship from a posture of pleasing Jesus (Psalm 19:14), our “Audience of One”. We are also serving our faith community/regular attenders (“everyone”) and those checking out our church for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd time (“anyone”) (Psalm 96:1-3, 1 Peter 3:15). It’s all about Him and it’s all about you at the same time. We praise Him together and individually all at the same time.

It’s a tension…

#2 It’s poetry + It’s theology

You’ve heard me say it time and again - let the lyrics/poetry of a song drive you back to scripture. Or put another way, expect your understanding of scripture to inform what you are hearing in the poetry of a song. We would never deliberately sing words with you that represent God’s character inaccurately.

Side note: It’s by God’s sovereign design there are 150 worship songs included in the canon of scripture (I’m referring to the book of Psalms, people!). Scripture teaches us who God is in all His fullness. And scripture has a cultural context to it that we don’t always understand. Don’t ever let contemporary cultural context or the turn of a phrase of poetry mislead what scripture has already made clear. Sometimes we artists are trying to be relevant and emotive through our poetry but relevance never trumps the timelessness of God’s truth.

It’s a tension…

#3 It all depends on me + I’m invisible

Any study of the tabernacle in the Old Testament makes it clear God cares about the details. God cares about beauty. God cares about excellence. (Check out Exodus 25-29) Yet all that beauty and excellence is supposed to point to Him, not to the artist. It is important that we artists hit the right notes, are in tune, are playing together as a band, and we sing the right words (have mercy on us!). But all of that is to draw all of us to Him.

A musician’s ability to make good music or lead you well through the art form of music isn’t any more important or pleasing to Christ than the ability to bake a delicious cherry pie for your neighbor or bless them with the gift of hospitality. Excellence in our giftedness is to be poured out so joyfully and completely that all we see in each other is Him.

It’s a tension…

So pray for us, pray with us, and we will do the same for you.

See you Sunday.

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