There are numerous believers who claim that they serve the Lord by playing musical instruments during church services and others convention meetings and some believers choose singing Christian songs as a full-time profession, claiming that they do ministry for the Lord. Can singing and playing musical instruments be regarded as ministry? Did the apostles consider this to be a ministry? If it is a ministry, in what way does it edify the church?
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Many churches have music ministers. The Bible is emphatic about the use of music as praise to the Lord. Before we take a look at Psalm 100, understand that the word psalm means any sacred song used to praise the deity. The book of Psalms, written by David, contains 150 such lyrical poems and prayers. Now, reading what God had inspired David to write: "2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (Psalm 100: 2-5 KJV What does music do for the worship experience? There are two methods God uses to reach the human heart in worship. One is strictly through intellectual channels; the overwhelming majority of Scripture is quite serious, and takes prayerful reading. It appeals to things like human logic (such as why God loves us), a need to understand historical imperative (the Bible story is an unbroken thread from Genesis to Revelation), and the consequences of rejecting God, as well as the reward for accepting His free gift of salvation. Music on the other hand, soothes the soul. Helps us to be receptive to the Holy Spirit. Music puts us in the mood to worship. Conversely, many forms of secular music takes us away from the spiritual thinking that opens the door to God's Truth. Our Creator knows us! He knows how to reach us on OUR level. Musical worship in church is a major way to achieve that.
Music Ministry is definitely a gift that edifies the church, edifies the individual Christian and even edifies God. The Apostle Paul admonished the church in Ephesus, Eph 5:18-20 says "be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" and again to the Colossian church, Col 3:16 - "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Songs and Hymns often incorporate words of scripture that remind us of God's character, his mercies and faithfulness. Many of the choruses that we sing are actually pieces of scripture enwrapped into the music. And even though the words can be edifying, the music itself has the ability to lift our spirits. David, the Psalmist of the Old Testament was called to the courts of King Saul to play music on his harp and his lyre when Saul was depressed. The Psalms that David wrote and sang came from his experiences with God out in the sheep fields, and latter as he ran from Saul and counted on God's protection. Our brains relate and process music in a different part than thinking, worrying and mulling over problems etc. When music is playing and we engage in it, it stimulates neurons and hormones that promote health, and the ability to engage with our spirit and God's Spirit. And we must also consider that praise and worship not only edifies the church but also worship edifies God. He delights in the praises of His people. David was called a man after God's own heart because of the spirit of praise and worship within him. David wrote multiple songs of praise and promoted worship within the congregation of the people with words like "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods."
The fact of the matter is that it can be considered ministry, and that it is ministry. For many, it could be the only thing they have that they can give back to God. If it can help in bringing someone to Jesus, then it can be considered ministry. That's the bottom line.
Music and the playing of instruments may be a form of service, but it is not a "ministry" in the traditional sense. David commissioned the Levites to have a separate group to be musicians. These Israelites were the best of the best, and their sole purpose was to bring honor and praise to Jehovah with music to accompany the Israelite worship. But they were not conveyors of the Law. Modern Christian music is based on stirring deep emotion in its listener, but may not carry any message at all. Instrumental music is funny that way. :-) So, if you're listening to a song with no lyrics, how will you come away with knowledge of the kingdom of God in the hands of Christ Jesus? And once the emotional impact of the music is gone, what message are we left with, if any at all? While Jesus did sing in conjunction with his worship (the last supper), he did so AFTER the message was delivered. His message of salvation was never intertwined with entertainment or show biz, because it was an important message that required intellectual capacity... Jesus required his followers to think rather than react emotionally. We know this because of the many questions he asked his followers. So while a "music ministry" may have a short-lived benefit, the long term goal of ALL Christians is supposed to be to teach, to preach and to make disciples (Matt. 28:19, 20) so that they may stand at the end of days, fully aware of their Christian responsibilities and not simply singing "My God Is An Awesome God." When we are called to explain our actions, will we be asked to sing a song or to explain the choices we made?
We can say it is a ministry. A ministry is a service meeting a need. Like 1 Corinthians 12 says, everyone has different gifts and all these gifts when use appropriately are being used to ministering. 1 Peter 4:10 also says "according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God". Psalm 22:3, which translates into God inhabiting in the praises of his people. It is evident that Worship, praise is the only thing God requires from us and it is only when we worship that his presence comes into our midst.
I believe to effectively answer this we must look through the eyes of our Father and Lord, Romans 12:3-6 says Christ's gave gifts to men as He ascended, and as we are one body and different members so are our graces. The 5 fold offices of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are the key offices of administering, perfecting the saints, and building the church. However there are still additional graces Paul mentioned in the book of Romans: giving, mercy, exhortation, ruling, this shows us that as diverse as the human capacity is so diverse is our God and verse 6 makes us to know that we must use these graces in proportion to the faith. The word ministry refers to an office of service as the Greek translation for the word is diakonia: an official aid, a service, referring to the individual as an attendant or a servant. So if the two greatest commandments as we all agree are to love The Lord thy God and "serve" Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves, and Christ speaking in Matthew 25:45 says water re you do to the least of these you do to me, then we see that we are All ministers in our various categories called to serve both God and His people. We all have been graced, in Music, in Skill like Bezalel (exodus 36:1), In teaching graces, we have been called to minister at various levels and we must by faith walk in the office to which we have been called to serve as ministers of Our Lord to His people. Amen!
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