Thanks for joining me on this journey!
Having served for a couple decades in church ministry, perhaps some of the things I’ve learned will be helpful for your context.
I’m by no means an ‘expert’ in the area of music/arts ministries, and I’ve learned to be very wary of anyone who claims to have everything figured out, with no room left to learn or grow or be challenged. I’m still very much a learner, especially now having moved to a different culture with different traditions and norms.
This blog isn’t intended to be a linear progression of thought, but just what’s on my heart each week as relates to arts ministry in the church.
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Let me start with this – why say ‘worship arts’ ministry and not ‘music’ ministry or ‘worship ministry.’
The church has rightly begun to move away from limiting our definition of worship to the music portion of our Sunday gatherings, even if we do still say “worship” as verbal shorthand. Indeed these are worship services, but we must remember that they are simply a gathered time for fellow believers as part of the ceaseless worship outpouring of everyday life (Rom 12:1-2). These gatherings are an opportunity to declare, learn from, and submit to the eternal word of God as it is faithfully taught and empowered by the Spirit. They are at the same time a pouring out of our hearts in adoration, trust, celebration, lament and supplication verbally, with music as a trellis for the flowers of outpouring.
As such, music can and only should be a means to facilitate verbal worship in Spirit and Truth; mind and emotion. This is not to
say instrumental pieces and instrumental solos are not helpful…they are simply not primary. The heart and skill of the musician are acts of worship, but the chord structures and melodies themselves are not worship any more than a Wagner aria or a Jimi Hendrix solo are in and of themselves “worship.”
In using the term “worship arts” we recognize that the arts by themselves are NOT worship, but that also when we talk of creative means of expression, we desire them not only to be artistically skillful, but further recognize that artistic expression beyond music can aid the follower of Christ to raise heart, soul, mind and strength to give glory and honor to Christ. Dance, visual arts (painting, film, aesthetic room design), drama, poetry, story, spoken word, and more (Ex. 31)
So our gathered worship can be aided by the arts….arguably most of the arts…when they are saturated in Biblical truth and encourage and direct us to ascribe glory to God for His character and works on humankind behalf, especially the Gospel.
Thoughts? Examples of a time God used art other than music to move you to worship? Drop a comment below.
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Technology: Tools or Toys UPDATE: Follow the Leader