Traditionally, music played a significant role in Christian worship services. Christian worship music is as old as the religion itself. Although its style has transformed significantly with time, it message has remained the same (Goff 56). In this paper, three important roles of Christian worship songs and hymns on their worship services will be looked at in detail.
Teachings for believers
Christians have used music to make important teachings to its believers. The intention was to spiritually uplift fellow Christian believers. Essentially, hymns and songs were sung to help the believers break from the thoughts of their routine, frustrating and problematic daily life. In addition, singing during worship services taught fellow Christians how to remain focused on their faith.
Christians have traditionally used music to encourage the believers to learn lessons on unity, and to challenge them to live as per the words of their songs. Christian believers have not only used songs for personal benefits but also for the benefit of teaching others (Taff et al. 45).
Through music, the churches’ theology was effectively communicated, educating fellow Christian believers how to “ instruct one on how to worship, teach small portions of Scripture, and speak of ways to successfully minister to others” (Taff et al. 45). Notably, music publicized the gospel and gave emphases on the essence of spreading the good news of deliverance.
Music could also bring the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ into the hearts of men. This was an additional way of uttering the message of the gospel. Ideally, music for worship contained elements about God’s attributes such that the worshippers would focus their attention upon him.
Music a show of dedication to God
Gospel songs and hymns are considered by Christians as a central component for worshiping their God. Music has a special way of “communicating to the emotions and planting the seed of definite decision in the heart” (Wilson-Dickson 23). This is achieved through simplistic and straightforward songs.
They also used harmonious and easy to sing lyrics which helped the singer to memorize songs as a sign of dedication to their God. Scores of songs are composed with the inspiration of the Christian Scripture, hence showing their dedication to their God. The message that the songs communicated tried to encourage Christians to establish deep and personal relationship with their God (Ogasapian 23).
Christians also use music as a source of encouragement. Music was a means of expressing the believers’ emotion. To others, music would stir their hearts to repentance to the Lord Jesus Christ, while to others; music would soften their stubborn hearts to bow down before the Lord. Through singing of songs which were repetitive, the Christians developed a sense of solace and encouragement. The believers enjoyed singing hymns and songs together as a show of unity which encouraged them to grow together.
Ogasapian claims that when a Christian sings, those around notices the singer and attempts to sing alongside as a sign of encouragement (56). Martin Luther said that, in addition to theology, music is a perfect art that can bring peace and joy to the hearts of Christians (Wilson-Dickson 23). The members of the congregation found singing uplifting and drawing them closer to God. As a result, they were better geared up to connect with the rest of the worship service.
Goff, James. Close Harmony: A History of Southern Gospel. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. 56. Print.
Ogasapian, John. Church Music in America, 1620-2000. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2007. 23. Print.
Taff, Tori, Christa Farris, Caroline Mitchell, Stephanie Ottosen, Jay Swartzendruber, Michael Tenbrink, and Chris Well. CCM Magazine Presents 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music. Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers, 2006.45. Print.
Wilson-Dickson, Andrew. The Story of Christian Music. Oxford, England: Lion Publishing, 1992. 23. Print.