IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 53, December 31 to January 6, 2002

Music Matters Show 9

by Robert Barnes

This is Music Matters, and I'm Robert Barnes. I've been involved in worship ministry for many years, and I currently work at Third Millennium in Orlando, Florida as well as directing worship at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Winter Park.

We've been talking about worship that is Biblical, Relevant, and God-Centered. Leave it to sinners like us to find ways to over-hype or over-emphasize these essentially good things. Take them together, and they make balanced prescription for worship.

We've previously discussed the Biblical nature of Christian worship, and now we move on to the question of relevancy.

The entire content and expression of the Christian faith needs to be relevant in the sense that it is lived and articulated in a gracious, simple way before a watching world. There is no point to a Christian life that must be sheltered from the watching eyes of the world in order to be authentic or "holy". We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain if God chooses to use our public, winsome efforts to draw sinners to Himself.

But Doug Barnett rightly says, "When a Christian presents the good news of Jesus Christ, he is preaching treason in the Devil's kingdom." Any time our message and our lifestyle becomes anything less than sedition, the Christian faith has become something less than relevant—it is irrelevant! It's useless! When the Gospel music ministry looses its prophetic edge, its God-centered and Biblical compass, it is compromised. It becomes a meaningless jingle.

Musically speaking, congregational music enables the audience to make the proper emotional application of the Scripture text or lyrics the congregation is singing. The purpose of using accompaniment along with God-centered and Biblical lyrics is so the musicians and the congregation may understand the feelings God wants them to have about the truths they are singing. Good congregational music is composed and played with one eye on the text, and the other on the congregation, for the goal is to help the congregation come to a more passionate, holistic belief in the truths you are singing, and the God the lyrics are pointing unto.

The music we use in our churches matters because it creates new relationships between the audience and the truths of the God we worship. And because I want to point people to God, to His truths, and not work against His leading of his people into all truth, I believe Music Matters. If you believe it, join me here again next week as we explore how to be musically relevant without being worldly on Music Matters.