Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Is The Music Ministry Destroying Other Ministries In Your Church?

            “How was the worship at your church?”

            “Oh, it was awesome! The worship team was amazing!”

            “Wonderful…how was your personal worship experience?”

            “Very powerful indeed; the worship leader is certainly anointed!”

            Ask any young person about their worship experience, and I am so sure that a vast majority of them would, innately, refer worship to singing in the church. In today’s church parlance, singing means worship and worship refers to singing.

            Thus the dilution of “worship” raises its ugly hood in the church. This then is one of the many problems prevalent in the church today!

Glorified Music & Marginalized Worship

            There are churches that do not allocate more than 10 minutes for preaching or the exposition of the Word of God. Scripture reading would never exceed 5 minutes, even on a day when long passage(s) are read! But their singing would go on and on for more than 30 minutes. Why this imbalance?

            A pertinent point emerges to the forefront when the local church glorifies the music ministry more than the other ministries. When preeminence is bestowed upon singing, and when music ministry is glorified beyond conceivable proportions, at least a few of the other equally important ministries in the church tend to be ignored or marginalized.

            A glaring example would be the absence of the ministry of Christian apologetics (offering a rational defense for the Christian faith) in the churches today. Apologetics would generally be a non-existent ministry in your church, and a good number of church leaders tend to think that apologetics refers to offering an apology for the Christian faith!

            Dr. William Lane Craig speaks of this malady in the local church, albeit from the perspective of the church ignoring the need of a seeking mind, which leads to an intellectual impoverishment of a sincerely-questioning-Christian-mind, “I think the church is really failing these kids. Rather than provide them training in the defense of Christianity’s truth, we focus on emotional worship experiences, felt needs, and entertainment. It’s no wonder they become sitting ducks for that teacher or professor who rationally takes aim at their faith.”1

            I am not saying that the music ministry is eating up other ministries. But I am indeed claiming that the churches are ignoring equally pertinent ministries, such as the ministry of Christian Apologetics. This is a sad existential occurrence because the church leadership invests all its efforts only into a few ministries.    

            When churches ignore the ministry of Christian apologetics, and when apologetics is not intricately woven into the fabric of your church ministry, your church would be grossly ineffective to answer the questions of a seeking Christian or a non-Christian. Some pastors even have the audacity to claim that the questioning mind is a stupid mind. Little do they realize that they are the stupid one, for not having an answer for the hope that they have in Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).

            Why do churches ignore the ministry of Christian apologetics?

            “The great revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries brought with them an emphasis on quick conversion of individuals to Christianity without sufficient attention to instruction in biblical doctrine.  The Christian life became more about the experience than the intellectual assent to the teachings of Christ and the apostles.  Without intellectual grounding, many Christians fell prey to the rising philosophical views alleging that only empirical evidence can support truth claims.  Higher criticism began to cast doubt on the inerrancy of the Scriptures.  Darwinism challenged Christian teachings on the origins of man.  The evangelical church largely responded to these challenges by abandoning rational inquiry altogether.  Philosophy, as a whole, became rejected by the fundamentalists, who stood by the truth of the Scripture.  Mainstream denominations, on the other hand, accepted modern philosophy and rejected the inerrancy of Scripture, viewing it as a spiritual guidebook only, not propositional truth.  Instead of engaging the secularists, the fundamentalists retreated to the margins of society.  As a result, the church has largely adopted a blind-faith position regarding the knowledge of spiritual truth.  Rather than faith being seen as a response to reasoned evidence of the truth of Christianity’s claims, it has become contrary to reason altogether.  It amounts to believing despite all the evidence. Ultimately, the absence of apologetics in the church has to do with intellectual laziness, which is sometimes made a virtue in the name of “faith.”  The effects of anti-intellectualism in the church have been disastrous,”2 says an article in

            Ignoring the ministry of apologetics is synonymous to ignoring the intellectual needs of the young people. When pertinent ministries are consciously ignored by the local church, the worship experience is meticulously diluted.

True & Effective Worship  

            Every mature believer understands that worship in the church includes singing. Singing praise and worship songs are as important and pertinent as the reading of the Scripture, preaching of the Word, offertory, and even the announcements. Everything that happens during the worship service is an act of worship.

            True worship does not merely refer to singing, “The apostle Paul described true worship perfectly in Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” the passage is a description of the manner of our worship: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” Presenting our bodies means giving to God all of ourselves. The reference to our bodies here means all our human faculties, all of our humanness—our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, attitudes—are to be presented to God. In other words, we are to give up control of these things and turn them over to Him, just as a literal sacrifice was given totally to God on the altar. But how? Again, the passage is clear: “by the renewing of your mind.” We renew our minds daily by cleansing them of the world’s “wisdom” and replacing it with true wisdom that comes from God. We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not with our emotions. Emotions are wonderful things, but unless they are shaped by a mind saturated in Truth, they can be destructive, out-of-control forces. Where the mind goes, the will follows, and so do the emotions. First Corinthians 2:16 tells us we have “the mind of Christ,” not the emotions of Christ.

            There is only one way to renew our minds, and that is by the Word of God. It is the truth, the knowledge of the Word of God, which is to say the knowledge of the mercies of God, and we’re back where we began. To know the truth, to believe the truth, to hold convictions about the truth, and to love the truth will naturally result in true spiritual worship. It is conviction followed by affection, affection that is a response to truth, not to any external stimuli, including music. Music as such has nothing to do with worship. Music can’t produce worship, although it certainly can produce emotion. Music is not the origin of worship, but it can be the expression of it. Do not look to music to induce your worship; look to music as simply an expression of that which is induced by a heart that is rapt by the mercies of God, obedient to His commands.

            True worship is God-centered worship. People tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how their worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things misses the point. Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from the heart and the way God has designed. Worship can include praying, reading God's Word with an open heart, singing, participating in communion, and serving others. It is not limited to one act, but is done properly when the heart and attitude of the person are in the right place.”3


            Ask yourself this question today. Does your church excessively glorify its music ministry? Does this excessive glorification hurt the other ministries of your church?

            Is there a ministry of Christian apologetics in your church? If not, why?

            May all our faculties be sensitive to hear and follow God’s voice, now and always.


1William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision, (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 20.



Websites cited were last accessed on 11th October 2017. 

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