The Worship Workshop

 

Articles to read and be blessed.

Music in Ministry  - by Colin Owen

Some years ago, music was treated with a certain amount of polite respect. It was used in church as a means of praising & worshipping God true, but not in the way it is used today. I was born into a Pentecostal family (praise the Lord). When I went to church as a lad, we'd have some choruses at the start, or rather, just before the start of the meeting proper, where we would clap and play tambourines. Once the meeting started it was hymns! I have no recollection whatsoever of hand raising, and dancing was 'of the devil', as was make up! But more surprisingly, I have no recollection of singing in the spirit, or singing in tongues etc. We had tongues in our church all right, often there would be a 'message' followed by an interpretation, but no singing in the spirit.

Looking back it's not really surprising. There was no such thing as anointing in association with music in those days. It just wasn't part of church thinking. The lady who played the piano would sight read (very well) the music from the hymn book and we'd sing, and at the end of the hymn we'd stop. There was no rolling on a bit as we do now a days. The only possible exception would be if some brave 'lady' would stand and sing the message in tongues instead of speaking it. But I don't think ladies were allowed to do that though, not without a hat anyway!

Things have changed somewhat since then. Now we have very dominant music, and certainly some singing in the spirit. We regard music as a valid ministry that must be anointed, well, praise the Lord I say. It's about time we got back to David's way of doing things, after all, he was chosen by God because of his heart, and David was a 'praiser'. He almost invented it! Well he didn't invent it, but he certainly gave it a higher profile, and made praise and music synonymous.

There is a scripture that says, I will rebuild the fallen tent of David, and it started sometime within the last few decades.

Can I make a point here? We have music in church, and we praise the Lord in church, but only when meetings are on. David wasn't having any of that! He set up praise teams to go at it 24 hours a day. Who cares if the people are there or not? God is worthy to be praised regardless of meeting times. Would we consider doing that today? Not a chance! Why? We don't have the mind set or heart of David (gulp!). And remember, David had a heart after God's heart. Sorry this is a bit in your face, but this is what God is telling me to write. The bible doesn't set any time limits on praising God, quite the opposite in fact, "from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." Sneaky that, because the sun never really sets or rises. It's there all the time, somewhere.

Another point coming up! We couldn't realistically do what David did anyway, because we have to get up each morning and go to work, well some do. Here is another departure from scripture. In David's day, the musicians & singers were not given any other duties. Their job was to praise God, nothing else. Who paid their wages? The congregation did. Who bought their instruments, the congregation did. There is non of this 'only pay the pastor' rubbish in the Bible. Musicians, priests, and gate keepers were all provided for. They even had rooms in the Temple. That's how far we've come from the Bible. Getting people to give these days has become a work of art, sadly, by necessity. Tithes is one thing, but giving is something far greater.

What has this to do with music in ministry? I'm stating for the record, that the church is not providing the biblical foundation on which to base music as ministry. Whilst there has been an awakening in our thinking to music, there has not been an awakening to the person of the musician. David appointed a whole section of society to the task of ministering to the Lord with various kinds of music and singing. People were appointed to 'prophesy' ON their instruments, some of which were cymbals, (that should cheer up the drummers!). This is all biblical stuff. It's not an invention of the charismatics, or the Americans! It's not a 'cult' or of the devil. It's Bible. This is David's fallen tent. As you can see, there's a way to go before it's totally rebuilt, but a start has been made. Praise God.

Idols:

It's worth mentioning for the sake of balance, that in recognizing the biblical position of musicians and singers, I am not advocating that we elevate them above this state. I think we have already done this with some, and it's not a blessing either for them, or for us, or for the Lord.

To be current, I'll mention Hillsongs. A church on fire for God, who have had a strong input into the musical life of many churches. But what 'image' do you get of the main worship leader? It's always 'in action', with a mic in her hand, and pulling a face that tells you she's hitting a really crucial note! This is no slight on her, it's a slight on what we are doing to her. She is just a sister in the Lord, using the gift God has given her to bring Him glory. And what do we do? We put her up on a pedestal, splash her photo in all the music mags, put posters in the book shops etc. We are using her to make money, we are marketing her just as the world would. We are in danger of making both her, and Hillsongs an idol, and neither of them would want that. Many a ministry has fallen from such heights. Did they fall, or were they pushed? We need to do some serious heart searching church.

On to business:

Below are some thoughts on music as ministry. Some of this may be new to you, but stay with it. It's all Bible.

Music & Prophecy:

As already stated, this is a foundational principal. David appointed 'ministers' to prophesy on their instruments. Even cymbals were used which are not very 'musical' if you know what I mean. As a piano player, I have at my disposal various 'sounds' that I can use to achieve certain moods. It's true, I as a musician can literally change the mood or atmosphere if you like. As I rise and fall in intensity so does the congregation. As I flow, they flow. It's an awesome responsibility when you think about it, and not one I take lightly. I go in faith that I am called by God, and hence have His permission, to do what I do. I hear the Lord musically! Often He will drop a musical phrase into my spirit, and out it comes from my fingers into the listeners. This is the Godly use of music that the devil has perverted (see the power of music). I, as a musician, act as a channel for the Lord to access His beloved people. Often I will accompany a scripture reading or prayer, or a spoken prophecy, or I will just accompany the congregation as they sing to Father. It's team work, not everyone has my gift, and I don't have many others!

I believe it's true to say that several of the old Testament prophets either were musical, or used music at some time. In a way it's quite natural to have music underscore the spoken word, there seems to be a direct relationship between them. It takes spiritual sensitivity of course, and is not something that can be sight read from a book, it has to flow from within. It literally is playing in the spirit, or by the spirit, and as such, it can certainly be prophetic.

Worthy of note here is the fact that the flesh just cannot do this. It is purely spiritual. No matter how accomplished the player is, it cannot be achieved by practice or study. It cannot be written down any more than you can catch the wind. It's the domain of God, but the fingers of a human.

Music & Deliverance:

David and Saul. Probably the best depiction of the power of God moving through a musician with the specific intention of kicking out a demon. True, God sent the spirit in the first place, but that just confirms the Lord is sovereign over all! Read below, the scripture really speaks for itself.

1 Samuel 16:14-23, NIV14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.

15 Saul's attendants said to him, "See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.

16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better."

17 So Saul said to his attendants, "Find someone who plays well and bring him to me."

18 One of the servants answered, "I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him."

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep."

20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.

21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armour-bearers.

22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, "Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him."

23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.


Anthony's baptism:

I can give personal testimony to the actual outworking of the David & Saul scenario. Some years ago I was playing piano at a baptismal service. All was going well until Anthony's turn came. Anthony is quite severely disabled, and has some brain damage. He loves the Lord all right, but communication is a bit of an art. He was assisted up the steps to the 'tank', and began to go down into the water. Suddenly he was gripped by fear. The piano was at the side of the tank (in the slash zone!) so I could see what was happening. A spirit just grabbed him, I couldn't see the spirit, but I could see it's arrival and effect. His panic was evident to all in the meeting, arms flailing etc. Almost by instinct I began to play. It took about three notes, and that spirit went as fast as it had come. Anthony just relaxed and went down into the water as if nothing had happened. It was a glorious sight to see him baptized, praise the Lord.

I don't think anyone else was aware what was going on, I got a look from the guy in the tank that said 'not now brother', but, "as for me and my house, we will follow the Lord." I 'saw' that demon come, and three notes 'saw' it off, it hightailed it out of there, praise God. I probably said this earlier, but there really is a connection between music and spirits, both good and bad!

Music & Healing:

If you can accept that sickness was neither God's invention, or intention, and that it was brought into being by the devil, then it's not too difficult to see a spiritual connection between sickness and spirits. Some sicknesses are caused directly by spirits i.e.

Luke 13:10-13, NIV

10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,

11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.

12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."

13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

So this spirit had bound this woman by crippling her. She could not stand up straight!

I've seen this same spirit in a church down in Cornwall. There was a healing meeting in progress, and a woman much like this one came to the front bent almost double. She was prayed for and straightened up, but as she walked back down the church, she gradually bent again until she was just as bent as she had been before the prayer. She was straight, but for some reason she couldn't hold on to it. You can imagine that demon screaming in her inner ear, "you're bent, you can't walk straight, it's a lie, it's not real......." How easy it is to be fooled in this way. Demons are persistent, we must be too.

Jesus loosed her, that is, He untied her, and let her go. In this case the Son of God spoke, and laid His hands on the affected body, but He can do it through music too. I have a tape called "Selah, His peace." I have received testimony of healing through it.

A chap wrote to me saying that he was at a big family camp in the summer, and feeling really awful. So bad in fact that he got into his car to drive home. On turning the ignition on, the tape (Selah) in the player began to play. He says he just sat and listened to the music, and shortly afterwards, got out of the car totally healed. He stayed and enjoyed the rest of the camp. What a blessing and privilege it is to be a minister in music.

Here are some more testimonies:

from Australia, John writes:

Dear Colin

Helen is a 16 year old, very bright, (10 GCSE's) etc. After the road accident she is severely brain damaged and can only moan. As if tormented, perhaps she is...

The only way we found of giving her some peace was to play your tape "Selah His Peace". This calms her appreciably.

The nurses heard about it & copied the tape, (which was already a copy), thanks for the gift (I presume he means that the tape is not copyright). They play it to the whole ward, who all enjoy the peace it brings. They have never known so calming an influence before. God is good.....

***********

Beverly writes:

Dear Colin

I am writing to thank you for your tape, Unconditional Love. This tape has been such a blessing to me and my friends. One of whom was suffering from deep depression. I know this tape helped her through some very dark times, and she is now healed. I too feel the presence of the Holy Spirit talking to me every time I listen to it. I would like to use some of the songs in our music group.....

*************

Nikki writes:

Dear Colin

I am 18 years old, and recovering from anorexia. I was given 2 of your tapes which I have played over & over. They have changed the way I look at God, and myself.........

***************

Sarah writes:

Dear Colin

Since I've been married (which is great) I've taken a lot of knocks both spiritually & physically. Every time I have been really low I play the Revival tape, and one song really ministers to me. (Praise the name of Jesus). At the end You (Carol) sing in tongues, and at significant times for me, the Holy Spirit has come upon me & I've been slain in the spirit. It's happened 3 times to date. There have also been times when I've heard in English what you have sung in tongues. Your tapes have helped Peter (my husband) and I to rally & refocus.

I also took the tape to Germany, to a church that had never encountered anything like it before. People who had never danced began to dance and praise the Lord freely. At times we were on our faces before Jesus as the Spirit was released through the music. At times we wept, and at others we were filled with joy and strength, and all in 1 hour.....

***************

You see, music is a tool in God's hands. So long as the person involved is called and empowered by God to operate in this way, there is no reason why we shouldn't see much more of this type of ministry in our daily lives.

When I say no reason, there is one of course, we don't expect it, and we don't expect it because we don't have a Godly vision for music, (see the power of music). We must learn that music was ordained by God for His glory, which means there's far more to it than we appear to understand at present. If we will follow the God given principal of thinking of music as ministry, and only allowing those who are called by God to 'minister' with music, then we will see more of the fruit of the true 'music ministry' that God has ordained.

If we continue to leave this mighty ministry in the hands of anyone who can 'play' an instrument, then we will continue in the musical morass that we have today, and demons and sickness will continue to hold sway in the body of Christ, and prophesy will remain unheard. What's it to be, the biblical way, or the world's way? You cannot have both.

On behalf of all called, anointed, appointed ministers in music everywhere,

Colin.