Music is a powerful thing.
Words are a powerful thing.
Words and music put together are a powerful thing.
When we think about it, we consume words in all sorts of forms…but primarily in the written form, spoken form, and musical form.
Over the years I have spent a good deal of time studying the impact of music from a more scientific angle, and have found that each of these forms of words are complimentary to one another. Each one connects with us in a unique way.
For example, a song can come on the radio and suddenly you are transported to a specific place and time in your memory. OR you’re going through something emotionally so you turn on a certain type of musical genre that matches your mood. OR perhaps you’re trying to get motivated to do some work so you turn on something with energy. OR perhaps you’re trying to focus while studying, reading, or simply need a moment of rest so you turn on some music that is soothing and helps you focus.
I think you get the point.
This is why companies use jingles. They stick in your head in ways that simply telling you about their services or products wouldn’t.
Seriously, do a test for yourself to see just how many jingles you know by only seeing a companies name.
This is also why so many kids shows that are educationally driven incorporate music into the show. The characters sing about the various points that an episode is trying to teach a child, and low-and-behold your child finds a little nugget of knowledge embedded in their brain via music. Of course the unfortunate drawback to that is as a parent you get to hear your kid sing it all day – or all week – until you go insane.
This is also why, when King Saul in the Old Testament was tormented, that he was soothed by David’s singing. It connected with Saul at a level that seemed to pierce right to his very soul.
Thinking about that, did you know that musical worship that the Church engages in is not only a time to sing to God and give him praise, but also to sing to one another and teach one another about God and doctrine (what we believe)?
Take a look at Ephesians 5:19-21 in the Amplified Version:
“Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [offering praise by] singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks to God the Father for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Did you see that?
Paul tells the church to speak to one another in song (to be exact he says to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs).
We can go around in circles and debate exactly what he means by psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, but that really isn’t the point. The point is that Paul sees music as a tool at the disposal of the church to teach one another, to encourage one another, and to connect with one another and to God.
This is why I have always been so particular about the words of songs that we sing as the church. I firmly believe that these songs are not only singing to God but they are also speaking to one another about God and what we believe.
As we engage in musical worship with the church body (corporately), or alone in our car or with our family or friends, really consider the words that you are singing.
Ask yourself some questions:
- Is what I’m singing truly reflective of the character of God?
- Is what I’m singing truly reflective of the character of the Church?
- Is what I’m singing doctrinally true?
- Is what I’m singing honoring God?
- Is what I’m singing teaching me something about God, the Church, or my faith?
I’m a worship leader, so I think about these questions in terms of choosing music for the corporate gathering. So I believe they are also good questions for us as worship leaders. Mostly because I want to ensure that what we sing is going to be teaching us the right things about God, ourselves, and our faith. I don’t want to put a song forward that portrays God, ourselves, or our beliefs incorrectly and risk teaching something wrong to the Church body.
Sure, a song might hit us right in the feels and get us all emotionally worked over, but if we ask ourselves these questions and find that this song is not communicating truth and right doctrine, it might be worth considering if it’s a song worth singing corporately.
Just something to think about!