Thomas Clay – “The Role of Music in the Church” – 2011 True Church Conference

Breakout Session 2 – Thomas Clay – “The Role of Music in the Church”

1. What it is not.

a. It is not a showcase for talent. Character is what is important, then gifting.

b. It is not synonymous with worship. All aspects of worship are worship, not just the music.

c. It is not about singing about praise and worship. The song is not about the worshiper, it is about God, the object of our worship.

d. It is not primary. Preaching is primary.

e. It is not style-driven. The descriptive term is not to be the foundation. It is to be truth-driven.

f. It is not a meritorious work to usher us into God’s presence. Jesus Christ is the only one who can usher us into God’s presence.

g. It is not dependent on imagery. It is dependent on the word.

h. It is not individual driven (soloist, music minister, choir). It is congregation driven.

2. It is obedience. We are commanded to worship through singing. Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament (Ephesians 5:18-20).

3. It is for corporate edification. It is not to be an individual ecstatic experience. And it is not to be an individual stoic experience. See Colossians 3:16-17 to back up this outline.

a. Music is to be gospel-centered. Based on the word of Christ. Faith comes from the gospel.

b. Music is to be experienced richly. Music should express the gospel richly, deeply. Instead of trying to please everybody we should be seeking to edify everybody.

c. Music is to teach and admonish. What a church is singing is what they believe. Theology can be developed through singing. Or, on the other hand, a gospel-centered pulpit can be torpedoed by shallow, worldly music.

d. Music is to be done with wisdom. Move toward reforming your church in this area.

e. Music is for one another. It is not just to God. It is also to one another. It should be edifying. It is just as wrong to be stone-faced in singing as it is to be jumping off the stage. The minister must be stylistically-sensitive. The body is to be edified (Philippians 2:3-4). And individuals in the congregation should also consider one another and not be offended.

f. Music is to God. Specifically in thankfulness to God. It must be with reverence and awe.

4. The pastor/music minister relationship.

a. The music minister must be a servant. See Genesis 39:4-6. The music minister should be a “Joseph” for his pastor. Serve the pastor.

b. The music minister must not have his own agenda.  There must be a protected relationship.

c. The music minister must have a high view of biblical and pastoral authority. We should not attack authority.



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