Sing Unto the Lord


Recruiting Non-Christians into your music team
July 24, 2007, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Doing music, Thinking Music

Had a good chat with a friend two weeks ago who runs the music at his church and we were talking about recruitment for music ministry. He had the dilemma of having awesome musos in his church who were not christians. He was asking whether it is a problem to have non-christians as part of your music team.
I reckon heck yes for three reasons.
1. Historical/ Old Testamental (?)
David appointed Asaph and his descendents to oversee the music ministry within the temple in the Old Testament. These were a group of guys who were already part of the Levitical priesthood. Even when Solomon was king and had access to the best gentile musicians around, the music within the temple continued to be run by those within God’s covenant.
When the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon, one of the first things that gets re-established is Asaph’s descendents making music in the temple.
I don’t think this argument is flawless but I do see a pattern in the Old Testament practise that could be carried on to the New… except, in the New Testament, all who are God’s people are his priesthood and in the New Testament we are all told to make music in our hearts to the Lord. These passages are directed to christians still. Those in relationship with God. So a pattern is there.
2. Biblical church model
The second reason is that Non-Christians are spoken of as observers in church in the New Testament but never as partakers. In 1 Corinthians 14:24 it is expected that the idiotes (unbeliever who does not understand) will visit and if we are speaking in tongues without any interpretation it will confuse the visitor. However there is no mention of the idiotes bringing in his guitar for a sing along.
The fact that there are no self proclaimed non-christians in the early church says something about practise to me. However there are many non-christians in the church calling themselves christians. Annanias and Sapphira, all the Judaizer dudes, the Nicolaitions… All of these groups claim that they belong to Christ and seem to be part of church but the gospel shows them up for what they are.
3. Different Kings, different Kingdoms
This is the most convincing argument I see as to why we don’t have non-christians in our music team. They are not there to worship God. They are there to show their talents. Even if they are trying to help out due to some altruistic motive, their king is ultimately not Jesus, it’s them.
A Non-Christian in the music team will not understand the importance of humility, scriptural truth or attitude of service to the same extent that your christian musicians would.
In our team we put certain expectations on the musos spiritually that a non-christian has no obligation to meet.
As great as it may be to get that person along to church because they love playing in the music team, there are bigger things going on. How hypocritical to have those who are leading the congregation in corporate affection for Jesus with black unrepentant hearts to the very one who we sing to.
If you begin allowing Non-Christians to play in your team, you will end up losing purpose and drive within your team. The desire for excellence musically will outweigh the desire for excellence spiritually and you will have a bunch of guys putting on a show every week. I haven’t addressed every issue in this topic so raise your questions and objections in the comments.
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