Part 1: “The Music Lover”
Samuel loved music more than anything. When he first visited New City Fellowship, he was drawn to the exciting music and the joy and fellowship that the music team shared. It was not long before Samuel had signed up to be on the music team rotation to share his gift. Samuel got such a rush on Sunday mornings when the band was really cooking, the singers were in great form, and the congregation was responding with hands raised, tears, or exclamations of praise.
However, in recent months, Samuel started to become more and more frustrated when he came to serve. His frustration came from one particular member of the team, a guitar player named Joanna. Joanna was always messing up the groove with bad tempo, overplaying, and wrong chords. When everyone else in the band sounded great, Joanna managed to throw it off just enough to make the music extremely hard for Samuel to enjoy. Other team members would give her lots of encouragement, but Samuel thought that they just didn’t have as good a grasp on what good music aught to sound like. He would see her name on the schedule, and early in the week the dread would begin to grow in his heart. He came to practice with a bad attitude and a short fuse.
For several months, Samuel wrestled with the issue. He couldn’t understand why Joanna was allowed to participate. Didn’t God deserve the best possible offering of praise in our worship services? Samuel poured over the bible looking for scripture to justify his position. Eventually, Samuel contacted Kirk, the music director, and he began to press Kirk about removing Joanna. When Kirk responded with some talk about weakness, humility and reconciliation, Samuel became even more frustrated. Kirk’s response seemed to Samuel like an overly spiritual smokescreen. He thought that Kirk was just afraid of hurting Joanna’s feelings.
So, Samuel would just decline any weeks that he was assigned to play with Joanna. He even started to feel irritated sitting in the congregation when Joanna was playing, so he stopped going to church all together unless he was assigned and was playing with the best musicians on the team.
- What was Samuel’s motivation to play music in worship?
- How did Samuel evaluate the effectiveness of a time of worship?
- In what areas did Samuel fail to practice submission?
- How did Samuel evaluate Joanna’s service to the team?
- How would Samuel define excellence?
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:8
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
- What does it mean that we are one body?
- Does Paul draw a line about where people should and should not be allowed to serve?
- How does Paul define excellence in this passage?
- How can the NCF music team pursue this kind of excellence?
This text comes from a handout I prepared for my team last year.