This semester I have been teaching a class at Boyce College called ‘Music Ministry in the Church.’ Before the class gets into the specifics of what a music and worship ministry does, we first should look at a Biblical foundation for music ministry and a philosophy of music ministry. Everything we do as music and worship ministers should flow out of a philosophy founded on biblical principles.
In preparing for this class, I came across a section of a music ministry book that describes the five tasks of the music ministry in the local church. The book, Understanding Music and Worship in the Local Church (Evangelical Training Association, ISBN 0-910566-65-8) is written by Vernon Whaley, chair of the Center for Worship and Music Ministry at Liberty University. I think Dr. Whaley is on target with his list of what the music ministry should be doing and I would like to share his list with some comments.
The Five Tasks of Music Ministry
1. Teach – Just like other ministries in the church, music ministry should be teaching the Word of God through the ministry of music and worship. This is why music and worship leaders are not only musicians but Bible teachers as well. Since so much of our worship time is given to singing, music ministers need to be selecting songs that teach the truth of God’s Word.
2. Train – One of the main responsibilities of the music minister is to equip others for ministry. The music/worship minister must constantly be training the people to do ministry. In the case of the music minister this training happens in rehearsals and in other small group settings. This training should include the music skills necessary to carry out the music ministry in the local church. It should involve all ages. We not only work with adults but take an active role in training future generations of music ministers. I have always felt that the mark of a ‘successful’ music ministry is when the ministry carries on even when the leader has been called to another place of service. This shows that the music ministry was not focussed on the leader but on a broad base of leaders.
3. Edify – Paul’s letters tell us that much of what we should be doing when the church gathers for its meetings is edification. We need to seek to encourage our fellow believers in their walk with the Lord. Music ministers not only want to choose music that teaches the great truths of the Word, but we want this music to edify the believers.
4. Evangelize – Music ministry can be a great tool for sharing the Gospel and reaching into places that other ministries of the church may have difficulty going. Do the lyrics of our songs help people understand the Gospel?
5. Support – The music ministry in the church should be a support to all of the ministries in the local church. Music can be used to assist in many areas from weddings, funerals, community services, retirement homes to youth ministry, childrens ministry, and singles ministry.
Is the music ministry in your church accomplishing these goals? This is a good list to use in determining our goals and objectives for music ministry in the church. We want to see music ministry first as a ministry.