Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits. — Martin Luther
One of the greatest joys we have as a church is to worship God together in song. Because music is such a powerful means for glorifying God and encouraging one another, our desire is to approach worship in song with deliberate thought and care.
Here are five aspects that we consider in our use of music for the gatherings of WPBC.
1. Biblical Truth
We strive to exalt biblical truth in music that leads to an appropriate emotional response. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” God created music as a way to stir up emotions in the human heart. Our goal is to harness this power rightly by using music to proclaim and celebrate biblical truth. We recognize that music can make people feel certain emotions regardless of the lyrics’ message, so we’re careful to both pick songs that have good biblical content and to avoid over-emotionalizing our instrumentation. The emotion in worship should be a response to the truth of who God is and what He has done.
2. Strong Singing
We strive to cultivate strong congregational singing. When John views God’s throne room in Revelation 5-7, the whole gathered congregation joins their voices together to praise the Lamb. Our goal is for singing to be a dress-rehearsal for this eternal choir — an experience where everyone joins in. Paul tells the Ephesians to address “one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19), which reminds us that although our worship through song is primarily God-directed, it also has a secondary purpose of encouraging one another. For this reason, we put the words to the music in our bulletin and on the screen, we have plain rather than overwhelming musical instrumentation and “performances” in our services.
3. Simple Musical Style
We strive to use a simple musical style that promotes unity. Our prayer is that WPBC would be a community of Christians that includes people from all backgrounds and cultures, united in our trust of Jesus Christ. When it comes to worshiping God, the style of music we use is extremely unimportant in a theological sense. Therefore, our hope is that by using a simple style, arrangement and instrumentation, a diverse group of people with varying musical preferences would be able to sing together and enjoy unity around the words of the songs rather than the music that carries them along. The musical style may not be everyone’s favorite, but that means worship through song is an opportunity for us all to sacrifice our personal preferences for the sake of the whole congregation.
4. Historical & Contemporary
We strive to appreciate God-honoring music from all eras. In our services, our aim is to not only incorporate the “best of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and today,” but the best from all of the periods of Christian history from which we have music — including today. Singing edifying hymns from long ago is one way that we appreciate the witness of our brothers and sisters from past centuries who have persevered in the faith. And singing edifying songs from today is a way that we appreciate what God continues to do amongst His people in this time.
5. Whole Spectrum of Christian Experience
We strive to reflect the full spectrum of the Christian experience in our music. Our goal is to sing music that captures the whole range of the Christian life – from sorrow over sin to the joy of our redemption in Christ; from the happy expectancy of heaven to the pain of trials and persecution here and now. Because music is so easily committed to memory, it is our prayer that these biblical songs we sing will come to memory alongside Scripture, as you face the ups and downs of this life.
As you can see, music plays an important role in the life of our church and we want to be known as a singing people. We pray that these five considerations and the way they work themselves out will encourage everyone in our congregation to sing out the glories of our God. So whether you are an alto or bass or have no idea what those terms even mean; whether you are a trained vocalist or can’t even carry a tune — we hope that you will experience the joys of singing with the saints in this church!