“Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.” ~ A. W. Tozer, “The Pursuit of God”
The past few months have been a huge change for me. The strongest physical manifestation of change has been moving from one house to another. You’re all aware of the trials, tribulations, and intoxicating smell of all-purpose cleaner with lots of dust. I’ve moved 3 times in the past 4 years and I always bring the same boxes I never open, the same knick knacks that never see the light of day, and even end up accumulating more as I go through life. This year I finally cleaned up my act and went through my library of books as I moved and I came across two old, still bookmarked gifts from former churches: The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer and Discipling Music Ministry: Twenty-first Century Directions by Calvin M. Johansson.
I wanted to reflect on the latter for a moment; Johansson deals with many of the core issues of music and worship we face and leads readers to examine our assumptions about the role of music in worship. The basic premise is that a primary function of music in worship should be that it helps to form us into ever more mature, spiritual disciples.
There are so many things music can offer in our lives, unfortunately I find a substantial amount of gatekeeping in this musical world I surround myself in. What would it look like if our discipling of others was less an act of technique-teaching, and more an act of “turning up the music”? What if it were less about mastering, and more about being mastered? What if our focus was on captivating and enthralling would-be disciples with the music of God’s surpassing love for us in Christ? My father is a sailor and a good musician in his own right. He often equated life or playing music to sailing, and there are plenty of things needing to be done when sailing. You have to stay attentive, you can’t just sit back and do nothing, and even the most relaxing parts consist of measured rests. Despite your knowledge and organization, there are two things you cannot control on a sailboat, and they make all the difference in the world: the tide and the wind. Why is it, then, that so much of our discipling amounts to sitting people down in a boat and telling them to make it move by blowing into the sail? It shouldn’t be a surprise to us if many budding followers of music and Christ bail out, get burned out, or never make it out of the shallows.
Well…Ahoy, Mateys, this is your captain speaking, and I can’t run this ship alone. I’m so glad to be a part of this church and have really high hopes about what we can achieve together. The music room is coming together, and I’ve brought all of my musical instruments for a variety of music making.
Our Choir and Bell Choir started rehearsing September 5th and now’s the time to come sing. We’re starting a “Come and See, Come and Sing, Let your Spirits Ring” initiative for those who are brand new to bells and choir, or are looking to get back into it; where you can come and observe our rehearsal to see what it is we do, and then participate if the spirit moves you.
If you have any questions, you can come to my office and sign-up for a one on one meeting with me. Attached to the music room door is a weekly schedule of my availability – I really encourage everyone to do this, regardless if you’re interested in being a part of these groups regularly or not.
Let music entice you to become a more well-rounded disciple. Let it show you how to fail and guide you to success. Let it connect you with others and open doors of opportunity you didn’t know were there. The tide is coming in, the wind is changing, and it’s time for you to sail.
-Garrett Artman, Director of Music Ministries