I love music. LOVE music. It was a huge part of my childhood and continues to move me in my faith and in my ministry.
Sometimes I think music is simply the Holy Spirit moving through song. It can and should be an integral part of your worship service. It adds another dimension and creates an emotional connection for those in the congregation.
More often than not I think that there should be some sort of music for reflection following the sermon. The congregation needs the opportunity to let the message sink in before they transition into a time of prayer (and truthfully, the preacher needs a moment to make that transition as well!). Often times my Music Director simply plays a few lines of a hymn or song that connects to the service; sometimes, however, I feel drawn to use something more.
I will play (almost) anything in worship. Hymns, contemporary praise & worship music, secular music, Disney songs, showtunes … nothing is off limits. I have played everything from Point of Grace to James Taylor to Martina McBride on a Sunday morning. I had my sister sing Colors of the Wind from Pocahontas after a sermon once and I used Lady Gaga in a worship service for last year’s confirmation class. The Beatles appear on a yearly basis.
Music aids in my effort to help people experience their faith outside of the walls of the church. I love the idea of someone driving down the road and hearing a song on the radio that I once played in church and thinking about the message that day. I also love the idea of someone hearing a song and thinking about HOW it could be used in worship or meditation! Like I said – it adds another dimension.
I was telling Jon about a song I used in worship this past week and he asked me if I would be willing to start blogging some of the music that I use.
This week I preached on these texts: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a & Luke 4:14-21 and the title of my sermon was “We Are The Body of Christ” (focusing on how we need to do more than simply be the Body of Christ, we need to act as though we are the Body of Christ). There wasn’t anything extra going on in worship this week so I knew I had a little bit of extra time during my sermon block. I also was not planning on putting together an altarscape, which gave me some flexibility in how creative I could be during my sermon (when it comes to worship planning less is more – otherwise the whole service seems cluttered and people get distracted.
I kind of cheated this week – I googled, “Songs about the Body of Christ”, started to play the options that popped up in the search and picked from there.
I chose the song, “If We Are The Body” by Casting Crowns. I LOVED this song because it really is more than a description of who we are – it is a call to who we SHOULD be. Yes, we are the Body of Christ, but we cannot be complacent in our roles. We wonder why bad things happen in the world and forget that we can be part of the healing that needs to happen!
At the last minute I decided to print the lyrics and insert them in the bulletin (thank you to my sweet husband for re-stuffing bulletins with me at 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night!). I don’t always do this, but decided this week that the lyrics really were helping preach the sermon.
In terms of logistics, I just upload the music to my iPad and play it through a speaker dock that I purchased last year (here’s the link to it on amazon if you’re interested).