Music In The Church
Answers in Genesis
Are many churches out of tune
with what their members really need
and want? I believe they are. This article
may seem a little controversial to
some, but I ask you to think carefully
about this topic.
A Bird’s Eye View of Music In The Church
With my position in the Answers in
Genesis ministry, I’ve traveled extensively
for over 40 years across many
parts of the world, including the US. I’ve
spoken in hundreds of churches from
many different denominations across
all 50 states. This opportunity has given
me a bird’s-eye view of the trends and
patterns in the Western church.
I’ve certainly heard many Christian
leaders bemoan the trend of losing the
younger generations from the church.
AiG conducted research and published
the eye-opening results in the popular
book Already Gone. This book has
influenced many Christian leaders to
totally change the way they teach and
But I would have to say that another
consistent trend that stands out to me
is music. I personally believe one of
the reasons music has become such a dominant feature in the church is that
church leaders recognize they are losing
coming generations and that the
church is not impacting the culture as it
used to. So they think more music and
performance will attract these younger
generations back to church. But based
on my experience and the research
we’ve conducted, I believe the church
needs in-depth, relevant teaching on
topics such as creation and Bible apologetics
to answer skeptical questions
and equip people to defend the faith.
Now, don’t get me wrong! I love
music. In our younger years, my
wife, Mally, and I often played piano
and organ together in church. And
sometimes Steve Hess and Southern
Salvation—our resident singing group
at the Ark Encounter—talk me into
playing piano with them.
Ken Ham on Music In The Church
So I’m not against music! But I am alarmed by the consistent trends I’ve
observed in a majority of churches. I
recognize that what we like or dislike
regarding music can be very subjective.
But here is my personal philosophy
of church music, based on my
years of teaching in churches across
the world and talking to people and
listening to their feedback.
- Mix the best of the old with a balance
of the new. On rare occasions,
when the worship leader sings a classic
hymn, I notice that people really sing,
though often the young musicians
have a hard time playing along since
they’re not used to such music. Many
churches have a contemporary service
and a traditional service. So that
really divides the church with the older
generations usually attending the traditional
service and the younger generation
attending the contemporary
service. A blend of classic hymns with
new worship songs could allow everyone
to worship together.
Use songs suitable for congregational
singing. I’ve noticed that praise
and worship teams, in most instances,
have become performance oriented with
flashing lights and a nightclub atmosphere.
Many of the songs they sing
aren’t really suitable for congregational
singing. Often while the team performs
on stage, hardly anyone around me is
singing. Performance songs (either from
a group, solo, or choir) can be great, but
worship leaders should recognize when
a song is meant for performance.
- Whether in classic hymns or more
contemporary songs, check the lyrics
against God’s Word to make sure
they’re theologically correct—and make
sure people will know what the words
of the song mean. If you analyze many
of the songs sung in churches today, you
will find one or a combination of these
problems: they’re shallow, theologically
incorrect, or unclear in what message
they’re supposedly conveying.
- Be sensitive to the fact that not all
people can stand for long periods of
time—let people know they don’t have
to stand. I have a chronic back problem,
so for me (and others like me) standing
for long periods in one place is difficult.
Many elderly people also cannot stand
for long periods. It’s hard to focus on the
teaching when your body is aching from
standing so long during the song service.
- Have at least equal time between
the music and the teaching of the
Word. Actually, I believe the teaching
of the Word should be seen as the priority.
As I’ve talked to people, I find
(and surveys have confirmed) that
people mainly want good teaching to
nurture and equip them. Music has
become the dominant part of church
services to the detriment of in-depth
Bible teaching. What many churches
call their praise and worship time
becomes the main part of the service,
often lasting for 45 minutes to an hour,
with only 20–30 minutes of teaching.
The bottom line is this:
in all we do, we must
make sure we are
glorifying God, not man.
The bottom line is this: in all we do,
we must make sure we are glorifying
God, not man. Our church services
should edify believers so they will be
equipped in the Word to defend the
Christian faith and be powerful witnesses
for the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t
be out of tune!
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. Colossians 3:16
He has edited and authored many books about the authority
of God’s Word and the impact of evolutionary thinking on
our culture, including Gospel Reset and The Lie.
SourceThis article originally appeared on answersingenesis.org