In every church setting, music is the vital part of the whole ministry, therefore an inseparable element of the liturgy and the order of service.
Although many understand that music is an integral part of liberal art, its functional role in the Bible is a strong needle for the knowledge and worship of God.
From the time of Jubal (the father of musical instruments) in Genesis, through the activities of David who initiated the orchestration, music has been a precious aid to the ministry of the Prophets and a real means of communication between the man and God. The musical institution and performances were developed with the three Levite rulers: Herman, Asaph and Ethan / Jeduthun alongside Chenaniah, one of their students.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul established the importance of music to our Christian activities in Colossians 3:16
âMay the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom, teaching you and exhorting one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing the Lord gracefully in your hearts. “
Also in Ephesians 5:19
By speaking to each other in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making a melody in your heart to the Lord.
Music was created by God, a special gift to mankind as a means of admonition, fellowship and edification. Most importantly, the music is meant to be returned to him through the vehicle of quality praise offered in spirit and in truth.
To this end, it is crucial that giving God quality music is not compromised in any church setting and Christian gathering.
However, a good number of Christian musicians, especially those in the music ministry, have little knowledge of the biblical proofs of the need to give God a quality music ministry through well-coordinated musical art. They drape themselves in âspiritualityâ for the purpose of ministering under the anointing, forgetting that performance is a truly practical means through which we work.
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âChristian music is the type of music that encompasses all types of music with Christian texts. “
Wilson Dickson (1992)
Christian music is a type of religious music composed and performed by Christians for community worship and evangelism.
Adedeji (2007) also defines Christian music as:
“All brands and categories of music consumed in Christendom, whether by church, parishes or non-ecclesiastical organizations.”
Even though Christian music has its root in Christian religion and doctrine, its values ââand standards transcend the walls of the church (the place of worship).
The key word here is Christianity as first revealed in the book of Acts of the Apostle; therefore, the basis of Christianity is âlike Christâ. Thus, the personality of a Christian musician must reflect Christ. Additionally, lyrical content should primarily focus on Christian faith, doctrine, and values. Daramola Y. (2003) confirms this view when he writes:
Not all church music is Christian music, because not all faithful are Christians.
From the perspective of this article, there are 3 categories or subdivisions of Christian music. They are:
- Church music
- Sacred music
- Gospel music
In general, church music covers all forms of musical genres / styles in places of worship of all faiths, from Orthodox churches to Pentecostal churches.
These involve the music used for church service or order of service in all kinds of church gatherings / settings ranging from regular days of service to special church events.
These musical types are also associated with all forms of community worship; the lyrical flows are designed primarily to aid common sentiments throughout the order or service.
It is necessary at this point to note that not all music sung in church is church music. Several popular or commercial gospel songs performed by gospel artists when invited to minister at religious events fall into this category.
On the contrary, some church music is not only ideal to be sung in certain Christian ceremonial gatherings, but strictly for a church setting. But overall, the primary purpose of the message / lyrics of church music and all other forms of Christian music should be to uplift the body of Christ, regardless of the gathering place.
Sacred music can also be called liturgical music, although it is an offshoot of church music.
Sacred music has been performed for religious purposes in Orthodox churches from the medieval period to the present day. Sacred music is essentially music defined for a canonical or official liturgy of the configuration of the Orthodox Church until today.
These include the reading and chanting of Palm Sunday, various Gregorian and Byzantine chants for liturgical masses, chants for Eucharistic prayers as well as biblical passages from the priest and the congregation, the chanting of the hymns of the congregation, sermons , prayers and much more.
The concept of audience participation in sacred music is quite regimental and highly predictable, unlike charismatic, evangelical, and Pentecostal contexts where the congregation is sometimes involved in various reactive ways such as shouting, clapping, singing, dancing, and jumping. In fact, the sacredness of liturgical music lies in the solemnity of the musical flow.
It is still very practical in most of the Orthodox churches like Catholics, Anglican Communion, Baptists and some other separatic churches like Apostolic Church of Christ, Apostolic Church etc.
The word ‘gospel’ basically means good news. Gospel music is a form of Christian music with the gospel message of hope, restoration, salvation, promise, faith and many others as revealed in the Bible, more specifically in the New Testament.
An indicator to this is Paul’s encouragement to believers in Ephesians 5:19
Talk to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, sing and make a melody in your heart to the Lord
And Colossians 3:16
May the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom, teaching and exhorting one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing the Lord gracefully in your hearts.
Gospel music is deeply rooted in the rich tradition of African American churches. It is also an offshoot of church music.