Step forward to serve if you have a musical gift
“Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.”
– Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), American poet.
IF YOU have a desire and a gift for musical expression, consider joining one of the music teams in your local church.
The ability to create, express and enjoy music is a gift from God. Musical expression is natural because we are made in the image of God who is the giver of creative gifts.
At times when the emotion or desire to worship is very strong, music replaces words as the more efficient medium of
expression. Texts combined with music (hymns, choruses, anthems, etc.) are also a wonderful means of communicating theology and faith.
Music has the power to uplift and inspire. God often uses this to touch the prebelievers and those in emotional or spiritual need.
You can serve as:
instrumentalists (pianists, organists, band members, traditional ensembles), singers (choir, back-up singers, soloists), dancers, worship leaders and cantors, sound crew, etc.
FUE (frequently-uttered-excuses) #1: “But… I’m not called.”
Fact: Most are “called” into service by means other than an audible voice from God. If you are aware of your natural gift, and have a strong desire to use it in a worship setting, pray about it and ask God to confirm your inclinations. God “calls” through circumstances (aka coincidences), or through casual conversations.
FUE #2: “I’m not good enough/I’m not the right person.”
Fact: We read in both the Old and New Testaments how God called the most unlikely persons for His own purposes. Jesus’ own twelve disciples, for example, were transformed from common men in mundane vocations into God’s instruments. God’s ways and purposes are mysterious. His plans are beyond man’s comprehension but the rewards of obedience are great.
One of history’s greatest church musicians was the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Hailing from a musical family, he eagerly absorbed all the musical influences that he encountered. His various jobs at churches entailed various tasks: writing a new cantata every week, playing the organ and directing choirs.
His renown as a virtuoso performer, improviser, composer and organ consultant spread far and wide. Driven by his Lutheran ethic and deep faith, he was industrious and dedicated his works to God. His legacy remains unsurpassed.
FUE #3: “I don’t have time to commit …’’
Fact: Our lives are so busy that we tend to give only what requires our least effort. Therein lies the problem. Music ministry requires commitment and a heart to serve.
Serving the King of Kings is an honour, not just a duty!
There are books on the subject of worship and ministry, describing musicians’ role as “priests”, coming into God’s holy presence, aiding the congregation in their encounter with Him. Sadly, not everyone sees it this way.
Many able musicians take the back seat and simply expect “others” to constantly do the work. Alas, they miss the blessing and rewards of ministry which are only experienced by those who put their time and energy into it.
Of course, not all aspiring dancers, singers or players of instruments possess sufficient skills for effective service. God demands our best effort in all that we do, and He also gives us good sense and good friends to help us identify and nurture our real gifts.
So if you have the gift and desire to serve, the first step (after praying), is to approach your music director, choir leader, AVA head or clergy, who then finds the areas of ministry where you might plug in.
The second step is to enrol for classes in your area of service. Learning is a lifelong endeavour.
The third step is to equip yourself by reading up on the subject, and be part of a support network.
Ministry is plagued with ups and downs, and the risk of disillusionment or burnout is very real. But with the right attitude and a willing heart, we serve the God of our salvation. It is His smile that we must seek, and not man’s.
Soli Deo Gloria! – MSM News.
Dr Evelyn Lim, a lecturer at the Methodist School of Music, plays the organ at Wesley Methodist Church and Paya Lebar Methodist Church. She began serving as a church musician in her late teens when her family became members of Wesley Methodist Church.