Music and Preaching: Talent

Does music invite the spirit into a church gathering? Why certainly it does. But let’s ask ourselves why that is the case. I’ve been thinking about this recently. Back in December, I traveled to a Christmas gathering with all of our local missionaries and the missionaries from half of the Tallahassee mission. It was a very spiritual gathering. Why? Because the men and women who performed were talented individuals. Ask yourself the question: when was the last time you saw someone perform a musical number in church who was terrible? I’m going to say that you haven’t, ever. The fact is folks without reasonable musical talent simply do not play in front of other people…well in a public setting anyway. I would not try to get in front of the congregation and sing a solo. Simply wouldn’t do it. I’m not a singer. A 6th Grade beginning flute player is not going to get up and try to solo How Great Thou Art. He or she would fail. It’s doubtful the bishop or local leader would even consider doing such a thing. Music in church, be it a song sung by the congregation with a piano accompanying them, or an individual singing a song with a violin playing along, guitars, trumpets, the whole deal, is almost always spiritual because there are talented individuals involved in the musical process OR there are enough people to mask any lack of talent, as with congregational hymns.

Consider this, most of us have seen horrible performances of the Star Spangled Banner, Carl Lewis and Rosanne Barr come to mind. Were either of these folk’s members of our congregation, would we ever consider asking them to sing one Sunday? To be sure we would not.

Why then, if we know with near certainty that we would never ask someone without musical talent to sing or play for the congregation, do we, rather often, ask folks with virtually no speaking talent to preach? Something doesn’t add up. Think about it.

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