Best Worship Music?

January 31, 2018


"Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints."
— Psalm 149:1

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Jesus, Lover Of My Soul," and "O, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing" are all-time favorites among the 9,000 songs written by one of the greatest hymn writers the church has ever known, Charles Wesley. Charles and his brother John, who was also a prolific hymn writer, were two of the greatest gospel evangelists of their time. Both were also very pragmatic in their ministries (whatever works best).
To reach the coal miners of England with the gospel, John began his preaching at 5:00 AM every day, not because it was convenient for him, although he got up at 4:00 every morning for over 60 years, but because that was the time the coal miners of Bristol went to work.

Charles, in turn, wrote Christian doctrine in hymns using the popular tavern songs of his day, not because he thought the melodies were the prettiest, but because it was the music the miners liked and listened to the most.
John would preach to them in the morning and Charles would sing to them in the evening. Chances are, many of the traditional hymns of the church that you love to sing were one-time bar room tunes ("horrors upon horrors," some would say). The Wesleys used whatever worked to "present Christ" to lost souls, and it worked very well. They were instrumental in the conversion of tens of thousands of people of their generation.

Unfortunately, the Church of England, much like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, and the Pharisees of our day, had its detractors, as John Wesley was indicted by a grand jury in England for the hymnal he and Charles wrote, which was considered "music unsuitable to the church." They left England before the trial came up and brought revival to America. The Holy Spirit will always go where He's wanted!
Music in the church has always created considerable discussion, and sometimes serious division. That's because there are as many opinions about what is the best kind of worship music as there are belly buttons, and because worship music is highly subjective (feelings). We should never, however, judge worship music based on how it makes us feel or based on what we think, but rather how it makes God feel.
God is not into the beat or the tempo of church music; it's never too fast or too slow for Him. God doesn't have a preference for the volume either; to Him it's never too loud or too soft.

(Listen to "Shout to the Lord" by Hillsong here.)

He's also not concerned about the length of worship or how many times we repeat a chorus; or whether our music is done by a choir or a praise band; or whether we sing hymns out of a book or praise choruses on a screen.
What He is concerned about is where our hearts are at the time and how many souls will touch His Son in the process of worship. Maranatha!

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