Q: What kind of music should we have in church services, and what should we listen to outside of church? — Rajiv, from India
A: Rajiv, it’s wonderful that you are thinking about what kind of music to listen to, as music has a profound effect on each of us.
Regarding music in church, I encourage everyone to resist worship styles and music that have more to do with self-centered entertainment than a humble worship of God. We must recognize that we have many different cultures and styles of worship in our world church, but all should bring glory to God and not to the participants, including preachers, musicians, and everyone. We need to focus on worshiping God and not elevating self. Music should lift us to the throne room of heaven. I don’t wish to offend anyone, and this is my personal opinion, but if music sounds like it belongs to a hard rock concert or a night club, it should stay there.
A few years ago, our Sabbath School lessons focused on the topic of worship. In the lesson titled “Worship and Song and Praise,” Rosalie H. Zinke, the lesson’s principal contributor, gave some very helpful points. She wrote:
“What is important for worship music is that it point us to the noblest and the best, which is the Lord. It should appeal, not to the baser elements of our being but to the higher ones. Music is not morally neutral: it can move us to some of the most exalted spiritual experiences, or it can be used by the enemy to debase and degrade us, to bring out lusts and passion and despair and anger. …
“Music in our worship services should have a balance of spiritual, intellectual, and emotional elements. The lyrics, in harmony with the music itself, should uplift us, elevate our thoughts, and make us long more for the Lord who has done so much for us. Music that can bring us to the foot of the Cross, that can help us realize what we have been given in Christ, is the kind we need for our worship.”
To read the entire lesson, visit: bit.ly/worshipandmusic
The question as to what to listen to personally is, of course, a personal decision. I believe that what we listen to (or watch) should be uplifting and draw us closer to God. The Bible gives us excellent counsel in Philippians 4:8:
“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (NKJV).
Finally, I encourage you to prayerfully study Revelation 4 and 5, and I believe that the Holy Spirit will lead each of us to the right forms of worship and music.