What is the Purpose of Music in Church Services?
by Molly Shorter
It may seem like an elementary question but if you're involved in the music ministry then it may be helpful to be find the answer to this question in God's Word. The answer is deeper than "that's just what we do" or "we've always had music in the church services". It's much more than "talent show" time for musicians. And music isn't included just to fill some of the time. There is truly a deep purpose for music and I'd like to give you several Scriptures passages to answer this question. Granted, this is not an exhaustive study - just a few Scriptures passages that encourage me and I hope will encourage you.
When we gather together on Sundays and music fills the sanctuary we are doing what Psalm 100:2 says to do, "Come into His presence with singing." Praises are lifted through music as the instruments play and voices are united in song. Music leads our hearts in praise and worship and prepares our heart to receive God's Word.
When you have a moment read Psalm 68:24-35. It describes a scene of a processional going into the temple. At the front of the processional are singers and musicians leading the way into the sanctuary to meet with God. It's a picture of what we do each Sunday. The singers and musicians lead the congregation in praise and worship, preparing hearts to meet with God.
Years ago in a church that I was involved in, one of the members said that he didn't see the point of music in the church services. He was not musically inclined and did not enjoy music. He admitted that he often times arrived late to church, after the music, to hear God's Word taught. He viewed the music as "a filler." Not so- according to God's Word. Ephesians 5:19 says when we gather together, we are to minister to "one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart." (ESV) We are to use music in our church services to edify and build up the body.
I love the story in 2 Chronicles 5. The work on the Temple had been completed and the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord was brought into the Most Holy Place. The people were gathered together and as the singers began to sing in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. They were in His Presence! Wow!
What is the purpose of music in our church services? Music leads our hearts in praise and worship. As we worship through the music, we are brought into the presence of the Lord. Our hearts are prepared to hear and receive God's Word. The Body is edified, hearts are blessed and the Lord is lifted up and gloried!
Molly Shorter is full-time musician and worship leader in the service of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She works with church musicians, giving them opportunities to develop and use their God-given musical gifts for His honor and glory.
Along with leading a large worship team, she is also a teacher to budding musicians, a playwright and theater director, a composer, and the writer of your enouragement here at Christwill Music.