What are the effects of music and concerts on the Christian?

Some excellent points to consider in the realm of music worship, not just at  concerts, but, also in our worship at church, at home, and at other venues.

From Caryl productions: source here. via G. Bogdan.

Thank you for your questions concerning music and worship concerts.  They touch the heart of the Contemporary Christian Music controversy rightly identifying „Who is the music for?”  This issue is emotionally charged as people from a variety of backgrounds and differing age groups weigh in with their preferences and opinions.  God has given us the gift of music and song to move our hearts in worship toward Him, which clears away the distractions and preoccupations of our minds to focus on His Holiness and Truth.  Music is a powerful tool for good if implemented well, but can also be a detriment if one loses sight of its purpose.  How this powerful medium is used needs to be our focus.

The banter in recent decades about Christian music hasn’t really affected the trends. Contemporary services flourish by attracting the youth while traditional church services wane.  It appears that contemporary music is here to stay so the debate needs to center around the content, structure and presentation of the music, as well as the attitudes of all involved.

In large concert settings, the sensory overload from striking light displays, multi-media screens, and deafening sounds can easily crowd out the musings of the mind in reflecting on God’s character and thanksgiving. The sheer magnitude of these events captivates the listener’s full attention carrying them away in the mood of the moment, moving their hearts and bodies in unison with the music.  The listener finds themselves in agreement with the beat, perhaps not even realizing what words are sung.  Truth needs to be communicated through lyrics in order for any meaningful worship to occur.  While these events might be called „worship concerts,” in reality they might not be worshiping God at all if they’re singing about social and personal issues.

Song has the persuasive ability to bypass the mind, implanting messages and themes that are retained and retrievable for years. These events easily captivate people through the mood of the moment, stimulating very real emotional feelings that may become actions afterward.  Our minds are to be saturated with truth, rather than emotions that easily mislead.  Therefore content is very important.  Consider whether the music is moving the listener or patron toward the fruits of the Spirit, „22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  23Meekness, temperance: „(Gal 5:22-23a).   Or is the music moving the listener toward the deeds of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21). Paul also tells us in Philippians 4:8, „Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  These seem to be good boundaries to measure the value of the music and messages presented.

While God inhabits the praise of His people (Ps 22:3), this doesn’t mean any content suffices for praise.  Much Christian music is good as the church continues to sing „a new song” to the Lord.  However, music was also used in Daniel 3 to coerce the citizens of Babylon into worshiping an idol and false god; the golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar.  The cacophony of sounds that Daniel’s friends refused to participate in is seen in some types of Christian music today as the very structure of the music is heavy, droning and the lyrics barely intelligible.  How can worship be conducted through this?  The answer is, it can’t.   Is it really worshiping the true God?  Can the body join together in praise?  Is the listener being edified in faith and truth?  The church needs to be on guard for what type of worship they’re allowing under the „label” of Christian music.

The Bible defines true worship in different ways; honoring Jesus through whole hearted belief, holding to truth, submitting to God in obedience, worshiping God in Spirit and Truth.  Interestingly, Romans 1:25 says that the truth of God is turned into a lie when created things are worshiped instead of God. This would encompass anything turned into an idol, even the enthrallment of concert experiences, music, performers and the like.

The nature of concert events, events hosted by churches, or even worship services patterned after these sensory displays can appear to lift up individuals rather than the Lord.  Many in music ministry truly seek to honor God through music. Standing on stage or behind the congregation shouldn’t matter if one’s heart is in step with the Lord.  Thankfulness for the Lord and the privilege of leading or participating in worship should be the heart attitude of all.  Only the Lord can judge others’ hearts, but we must examine our own hearts to see if critical attitudes are creeping in unnecessarily.

We must also be on guard for passive worship becoming a substitute for purposeful actions.  Just because we’ve sung songs saying we love God, doesn’t mean we love Him throughout our day. We might sing about the whole world hearing about Jesus, but do we actually witness to the lost so they can hear and believe?  Singing songs doesn’t suffice for worship unless our words are backed up by actions. Therefore if concert events are truly lifting up Jesus and Truth, it should be reflected through fruit in the lives of attendees afterward.

The Bible allows for various types of music, „Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Eph 5:19). It does not allow for vain repetitions which mimic mantra like phrases. (Matt 6:7).  As we wrestle with these issues, separating them from our preferences, we need to „…above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8), an admonition we would do well to take to heart.

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Family Series 17 B – How do you address modesty (in Church)?

A very sobering post that we can all learn from, not just folks who sing on the worship team, but all of us, professing Christians, who enter the House of God for the weekly services.

Posted by Bob Kauflin who serves as a pastor and worship leader at Covenant Life Church and directs worship and music development for Sovereign Grace Ministries, Pastored by C.J.Mahaney. From his blog Worship Matters.

How Do You Address Modesty?

imagesOne of the topics in the church that leaders rarely address is modesty. It’s awkward. You can be accused of legalism. People can be offended. It can seem politically incorrect.

But that doesn’t mean it should never be addressed, nor that there’s not a gracious way to do it. Ideally, those who participate in a public platform on Sundays should be aware that people learn not only from what they say but what they wear. (I did another post on what we wear when we worship here.)

Certain things are clear. We aren’t to treat people differently based on what people wear (James 2:1-5). That means we don’t look down self-righteously at those who dress differently than we do. Both men and women are to dress modestly, preferring others over themselves (Phil. 2:3-4). We aren’t to do anything that would make someone else stumble (Rom. 15:1-2). Specifically, women should wear “respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1 Tim. 2:9).

A wise leader spells out expectations up front, before someone ever joins a music team. But over time, we can drift. Little by little people start to wear things that raise questions or distract others.

Not too long ago, a leader sent me an email he had sent to his team about this issue. I thought it was a great example of clear, gracious, and biblical leadership. Here’s what he said (slightly edited). Feel free to use it to start conversations on your own team.

In the last year, we’ve had a few questions from members of the church about what some of the worship team wears on Sundays. This email is to bring you into the conversation, and also to ask for your help.

Let me start by first making sure that you know how grateful I am for the ways that you serve. You sing wonderfully, and more importantly, you serve humbly and joyfully with an eye toward magnifying Jesus. It is a pleasure to do it with you!

It seems that what’s in the stores and in the media has become more and more form-fitting over the last few years. I don’t track these things carefully, but it seems like stuff is a little tighter on the body than it used to be. Although one wonders how that trend can infinitely continue!

A few church members shared some concerns with me very humbly and graciously. One parent said he is training his girls how to think biblically about clothing (specifically about how tight their pants are), but felt like sometimes pants of vocalists were tighter than he’d encourage his daughters to wear. Another couple said that the tightness of clothing was sometimes tempting for the husband during corporate worship.

I don’t believe that any of you are intentionally trying to cause temptation or distraction. And I don’t think that these comments represent everyone. But they’re a healthy reminder that we need to be aware and alert about making our clothing choices wisely.

My wife mentioned to me that it seemed like women in general are often conscious of how much skin is showing (neck lines, skirt length, etc.) but may not always be as conscious that things being really tight-fitting can be just as much a temptation for guys as actual skin showing. I thought was a helpful distinction, and as a guy, would agree.

As a whole church, we don’t enforce a dress code or talk about specifics often, because we want to direct ladies primarily toward the heart issues rather than a specific application. As a worship team, though, we do need to get more specific, because what we do is seen by the entire church and serves as a model, whether we intend it to or not.

Our goal in clothing is pretty simple: don’t tempt others, but instead do what is beautiful, simple, and will help us point others toward the beauty and greatness of God. Peter speaks to wives in this way: “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4). He’s not saying we shouldn’t look nice. If we look bad, that’s not helpful, either! Instead, we want to dress in a way that communicates that it’s not all about how we look, that we care about what helps or hurts others, and that lets people join us wholeheartedly when we sing to them about following Jesus.

So this email is just to stir you up again by way of reminder, to be vigilant and alert about what you choose to wear on Sundays. Sometimes what’s in style is tempting for others, and as trends change from year to year, we just want to continue to be thinking critically about what might not serve others. It’s not an easy job!

I don’t want anyone to feel condemned. I’m not assuming anyone has had wrong motives. But if you’re experiencing any Spirit-induced conviction, confess your wrong, bring it to the cross, and remind yourself of our perfect Savior who was sacrificed for your sin! As we think about the topic of modesty, we want the effect to be repentance (if needed) but then primarily a joy and faith to do what will serve others and help build the church.

If you have any thoughts or response, please feel free to contact my wife or speak to another woman you respect on the team. Let’s seek to ask questions humbly of others that are close to us (either a spouse, or another female friend who is honest and wise about these things).

I’m grateful to God for you all. May he continue to confirm, strengthen, and establish you as you continue to grow into all that the gospel of Jesus means for us!

Some videos of Bob Kauflin discussing Music Worship in the Church.

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