Music in worship

By Elizabeth Prata

I saw a couple of quotes today one after the other (not linked or published on purpose, just happenstance) that made me think about music in worship once again.

Not to debate contemporary vs. traditional. Though I'm a huge traditionalist, I'm also a realist, and I know there has been good music written after 1900, though, lol.

I enjoyed my own church's service yesterday, as I always do. We are a nearly three-year church plant. We have a plurality of elders (4), a time of confession during the service, and good music. It's a mixture of old and new. The team takes care to select songs and hymns that match the theme of the sermon.

Music isn't all there is to a service, meaning, it's not primary. But it's not secondary either. It's important and has its place. Yesterday I was thinking about how important it is when we hear the word preached and when we sing and hear the song words sung. It is all supposed to edify us.

Ligonier tweeted,

Ligonier Ministries, @Ligonier
3:30 PM - 29 Jul 2018
We should be careful about the words of the music we sing and ensure that those words communicate truth. —@RCSproul
My friend Rachel tweeted,

Rachel, @REL4077
8:21 PM - 29 Jul 2018
I've listened to a lot of Christian music from the 70s/80s and a lot of CM from that time focused so much on Christ's return, who Jesus is, and the need to share the Gospel. What happened since then that we have songs about reckless love and our "messed up" lives?!! Give me Jesus.
I agree. To that end, here is a thoughtful article from the Reformed Church in America. (Note: I liked the article but don't know much about the RCofA as a whole, but they seem a bit social justic-y to me "make the world a better place",and all that.)

This article lists some thoughtful things about how we approach music in worship.


Here are just a few quotes from the article, which again, I enjoyed. It outlines some facts about music in worship and then outlines a framework to think about when selecting music.
The church's ministry of song is for the edification of God's people

The church's ministry of song is for the glory of God
It is also important that the emotional power of music in worship be evocative rather than manipulative, honest rather than manufactured, and that the congregation's singing allow for the full range of emotions in worship.

Does our congregational singing include the many moods and types of prayer, including praise, thanksgiving, confession, lament, intercession, and dedication? A congregation which sings only "upbeat" praise choruses and hymns, for example, will have a diminished and restricted understanding of prayer.

I pray that you enjoy the thoughts here, the article at the link, and most of all, music in worship.


  1. I really don't hear Christians humming or singing the so-called old hymns anymore. The old hymns taught--I have a belief that a person with the gift of worship also often has the gift of teaching--doctrine and deep things and meanings of the Christian life. I don't hear current worship leaders teaching from the music, or, often, their own music. But I do hear worship leaders teaching the false doctrines of the popular speakers and authors of our day. I hear them performing instead of leading worship. We could and still can use the old hymns to comfort and minister to dying or ill Christians, but knowledge of that music is dying out. Honestly, I haven't heard a song at church in months that I could sing at the beside of a Christian in the process of going home to the Lord to comfort or help strengthen either him or her, or his or her family. I have to disagree that the modern or contemporary music used in our churches is really positive or uplifting. Much of it is worldly and/or filled with false belief and teaching. And I'm weary of those who say, "Well, there is some good Christian music being written and played in our churches." No, there is little good Christian music being written and played in our churches. And I guess it's time it should be pointed out, even to people who ignore the warnings.

    1. bloggerjim, that is such a good point about modern music being unusable to help a dying saint.

    2. bloggerjim,

      Equating our worship songs with teaching, beautiful. My husband and I have said that - repeatedly - at many churches, to little avail. (Hence why men, not women, are to lead the music during corporate worship.)

      Modern "worship" music doesn't comfort souls that *aren't dying*; it is of no comfort even to those who are going through trials. It also doesn't make us think lofty thoughts about our Lord during our joyous times.

      I agree with your last three sentences, wholeheartedly.


  2. I think on these lines all of the time. Our church does sing hymns, but they are redone and given new choruses. I love the people, and our pastor preaches with excellence. Those who love the old hymns kind of endure. I'd like to belt out the old ones some time. I feel like shouting, "Hit It!" The songs are sooo slooow. I agree that some of the old hymns could use new tunes. Why did we have to stop singing old hymns altogether?


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