The Theology of Christian Worship Music

Could somebody explain the purpose and underlying theology of music in contemporary church worship? It strikes me I’ve been doing it for a couple of decades and although I kind of get it by instinct, I have little real understanding.

It’s been brought home to me because I didn’t get my dream job.

I applied to be the musical director at another church in our diocese. The post required a lot of the holder – schools work, community mission through music, directing a robed choir, organist, involvement in the later evening service with more band-based music. It was, in essence, a blend of many talents tempered with a very specific and well rounded experience of church music that they sought. I didn’t have it. They didn’t appoint from the candidates who were shortlisted.

I’m OK with that. I specifically prayed that God would make His will known in this matter, and I believe that’s precisely what happened. However, the scale of my own lack of experience and relevant knowledge stunned me.

I can say without risk of boasting that I’m a good pianist. I enjoy it and I’m told others do too. I particularly enjoy playing in church and have developed my skills as a musician to complement this environment.

It doesn’t, however, make me much good at talking about music in church as a whole. It’s true the underlying theme of this blog is and was Church music and Christianity. The more I look back at earlier posts, the more I realise I’m grabbing at the outside of the issues without always having a decent grasp of the contents.

I’m aware that my somewhat free Evangelical Protestant background and the relatively “low” Anglican church I currently attend give me a particular slant on the whole thing. Yes, I can do the Wesleyan thing. Yes, I have my own copies of Carols for Choirs, some of them inherited from my grandfather. Indeed, I write modern Christmas carols. It doesn’t me good at any of the background stuff or the thinking behind it.

So if you could explain it all to me, preferably concisely, I’d be very grateful.

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One Response to The Theology of Christian Worship Music

  1. Jimm Rennie says:

    “I can say without risk of boasting that I’m a good pianist.”

    The most understated comment I’ve read on your blog. Anyone else want to back me up by saying that Andii is a bit more than good? Adjectives such as ‘excellent’, ‘amazing’, and the Black Country favourite – ‘bostin” spring to mind.

    I’m not much of a muso so I can’t help you out directly, although have you considered asking your former lecturers at Uni? I know a couple of them are into their church music so they may be able to advise you with regards to where/who to research.

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