Sing Unto the Lord

Church plants and music
September 9, 2008, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Heaps of talk of on the interwebs lately about church planting. That’s pretty mad. Exciting if things start happening and guys stop talking.

BUT if that does happen it would be worth thinking through the way that music functions in church plants and some stuff about culture.

I had a bit of a chat recently with a mate of mine who is planting a church next year in Forster. He was saying that while he gets so many aspects of what he wants to do next year, while he knows he wants great music, he hasn’t really worked out how to do that with a plant that will start with ten people in a house. He hasn’t thought through songs. He hasn’t given heaps of thought to style. He just knows what he wants but not how to get it.

In fact I’d be surprised if having great music wasn’t a goal for many church planters. Everyone wants to have great music, but its my fear that if it isn’t thought through it will be an afterthought that can end up affecting a church’s viability to grow.

I reckon there are three things that are worth considering when planting, in the area of music and singing.

1) The dude

I’ve heard Mark Driscoll and others say the most important factor in church planting is the guy heading it up. I think that that relates in this area too. As you plant are you taking someone with you who has the ability to develop this area of your plant? Is there someone heading up music and singing when you plant or are you just imagining it will happen or that you could stick on a CD. Be clear on your goals. If singing isn’t a high priority for you then don’t waste time investing in it. But if it is, a random with a guitar won’t cut it. The person heading up your new music ministry needs to be on board with where you want church to go culturally and stylistically. They need to be invovled with you in thinking about what your meetings will look like and feel like. I think those things are important. Think carefully about who your core is you are taking with you. Perhaps someone to oversee your meetings and singing stuff would be a worthwhile thing to chase up.

2) The Culture

Church plants work well because generally they are better at doing evangelism than established churches. It’s one of their features. Being on mission to the area that you are planting in means being culturally aware of the area you are planting in. Just cos you love rocking out doesn’t mean the rest of Lithgow will. Spend some time working out what the musical culture of your area is and then think carefully with your music dude about how you can represent that in your meetings. You don’t want to be dropping into somewhere with your own culture and forcing it on others. You want to celebrate the indigenous culture of the area you are planting in. You can do this musically. It actually might be a welcome change to the way many non christians are used to church doing music. Use their natural expression of music in the way that you do it. Be intentional about this too. Don’t just drift and do the easy option. Think carefully and go and see some local live music. Ask locals what they listen to. Check out some 25 most played lists on random ipods.

3) Growth vs Control

If music is something that you struggle with then it is easy to just say yes to every tom, dick and harry who come along offering to do music in your plant. Be careful. Recruit slowly so that you can be sure your cultural integrity isn’t lost. Recruit so that locals feel part of whats going on and so that you can have a more indigenous expression, but recruit slowly. There is a tension between the principles of growth and control kind of like abseiling. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t relax and let go of the rope. You won’t grow and develop a vibrant music ministry if you don’t step out and let the team grow. BUT if you just let go of the rope you will die. Let go slowly and cautiously but let go.

That’s just my simple thoughts today. I haven’t thought heaps but I hope its helpful for you if you are thinking of planting.


4 Comments so far
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“In fact I’d be surprised if having great music wasn’t a goal for many church planters.”

For what it’s worth i reckon what you need to recognise as a church planter and as a dude heading up music in a church plant is that “good music” is not the goal… rather it is a means to an end! The end being, bring praise and glory to King Jesus. I reckon this is the hardest thing to do. Especially as a musician who loves good music. It is easy to be distracted by style and groove and all that music stuff and forget what we want is congregations singing priase to Jesus!

Comment by life2full

oh that last comment was from me Dan..

Sam H

Comment by life2full

Thanks Sam. I agree wholeheartedly. I guess by saying ‘great music’ I was using a throw away term to refer to music that is great because it makes Jesus great. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago on this very issue called ‘What matters’. If I was wordpress literate I’d link to it.

Comment by danielgodden

[…] Church plants and music […]

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