If I Don’t Like the Music at My Church…
Picture this: You have found the one. The church that you have been dreaming of. The pastor preaches faithfully from Scripture week in and week out. The children’s ministry does a great job with the kids, and everyone seems to be serving somewhere in the church. This is a busy place! And a joyful place, too.
There’s just one problem: you don’t really like the music. Either the songs are unfamiliar to you, or they aren’t a part of your regular musical repertoire. Sure, the songs are biblically sound, but the music is strange and not what you are used to, nor what you prefer. You contemplate your options. You could find another church, but you really like the pastor here, or you could just come a bit later for the preaching and skip the music altogether. You mull it over but can’t decide.
Many Christians find themselves in the same position as the above situation. What should they do? I’ll admit, I’m slightly biased, but I think there is a biblical solution to this issue. As a part of the church, we need to re-orient our thinking when it comes to the purpose of music in corporate worship (which I have addressed at length in previous articles). Now comes the application. Let me suggest two things to consider if the music in your church is not your jam.
First, you should sing out of love for Christ. This may seem obvious, but there is more to this than simply telling yourself that Jesus would want you to sing. Repeatedly in Scripture, particularly in the Psalms, we are commanded to sing. Asaph, one of the first worship leaders in the Bible, writes this: “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; muse on all His wondrous deeds.” (1 Chronicles 16:9). Psalm 9 tells the worshipper to “sing praises to Yahweh, who abides in Zion; declare among the peoples His acts.” (Psalm 9:11). This command to sing and similar ones are repeated in Psalm 30, 33, 47, 66, 68, 81, 96, 98, and many more (this is just the first hundred Psalms!).
In the New Testament, Paul commands the Colossians to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…..singing with gratefulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16). James, speaking of the ups and downs of life, commands the cheerful individual to “sing praises.” (James 5:13).
But why? Why should we sing out of love for Christ? Why does it matter? Scripture answers that question, too. If you look back on the command to sing in Chronicles and Psalms, many of them give the reasoning for the command. For instance, in 1 Chronicles 16, Asaph commands God’s people to sing because of God’s covenant faithfulness (vv 15-22), because of His salvation (v 23), because of His greatness above all other gods (vv 25-26), and because of His holiness (v. 29).
The Psalms continue this thought. Psalm 33 commands us to sing because “the word of Yahweh is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.” (Psalm 33:4). Psalm 66 gives the command to sing “for the glory of His name.” (Psalm 66:1).
When we sing in our corporate gatherings, our primary goal is to give praise to God because He alone deserves it. The music may not be your favorite, but isn’t that an insignificant price to pay for the One who created all things? Paul speaks of it this way: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.” Our singing is for the glory of God and not for ourselves. Everything that is praiseworthy belongs to God, and it all is for God. Even if you don’t like the music, you should sing because the praise of God to the glory of God is worth it.
Take these famous hymn lyrics: “My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—my sin, not in part but the whole, is nail to the cross and I bear it no more! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh my soul!” We sing in corporate worship because God has given us a reason to sing. Hallelujah!