[As we conclude another year of ministry with the Center for Church Music (our fifth!) we would like to remind you about our mission.]
Music matters! If Scripture is to be believed, it expresses the very essence of the Christian life. Why? Because it engages the entire person in song and prayer.
It was St. Augustine, the fifth century bishop of North Africa that reminded the church that "those who sing, pray twice." The words of our hymns are in essence, prayers. And when we sing them, we pray twice!
Sung praise seems to be God's favorite form of prayer. Repeatedly, the Old Testament tells us to "Sing to the Lord." Incredibly, there are over 240 exhortations to make melody to the Lord and enter God's courts in song. Add the twelve New Testament citations and you get a pretty good picture of the importance of song to God.
In the book of Revelation, we see heaven portrayed as continually filled with the songs of the saints. Hence, our mission is to exhort Christians to sing, because singing is what the people of God do in God's presence.
For our part, we believe that hymns are the primary vehicle for directing hearts and minds to the Lord. Incredibly, over the last thirty years or so, the music of God's people has turned to imitating the pop/rock music popular in our culture.
In reality, the unchurched are not flocking to churches that use contemporary music. At first glance, one would think that hymns and the singing of the great music in the church is dying a slow death. But nothing is further from the truth. Polling organizations from George Barna to the University of Chicago confirm that an emphasis on cultural relevance, and the music it has spawned, has not resulted in church growth, only larger megachurches. Christians are just switching churches!
Each week on our website, radio program and in our church work, we sing music that encourages a high view of God--music that sees God as Scripture describes: holy, majestic, surrounded by the glory of the songs of saints and angels! By highlighting the great hymns of the faith, we seek to repudiate the cheap values of a culture seeking perpetual adolescence in their music and worship.
We understand that this kind of music ministry will not grab a lot of headlines; singing great hymns requires discipline and spiritual focus, attributes not found in many churches. But right now, we encourage you to give our unique ministry a try.
Go to the website songsandhymns.org and sing one of the hymns, hymns that center on the glory and majesty of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ! Perhaps you haven't really sung in a long time. (Mumbling does not count!) But try it. Sing (strongly!) along with our choir. And begin to practice the art of singing and meditating on the majesty of God. It just may transform your spiritual life! To God be the glory!