Pastoral Oversight and the Musical Ministry of the Church

Pastoral Oversight and the Musical Ministry of the Church

On a Sunday, the pastors are feeding souls with good songs. They are also responsible for keeping the songs biblically balanced. Does the church sing too many songs about God’s grace and nothing of God’s justice? Or is there too much wrath and no mercy? Are the songs all joy and no lament, or all lament and no joy? These are questions that the pastor must answer in order to shepherd well.

Songs are shepherding tools. We think of the word preached as a tool of the shepherd, and it is. We think of prayer as a shepherding tool, and it is. We think of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as shepherding tools, and they are. But do we think of the songs as shepherding tools? When God gave Moses the commandments, He also gave Him a song. He told Him to teach the people the words from the mountain, and He told Him to write a song. He tells Moses that, while they might forget His covenant, “this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring)” (Deut 31:21). With this in mind, I want to exhort pastors and music leaders to remember that there must be oversight in the musical ministry of the church.

The Importance of Music

As the music coordinator of our church, and not a pastor, I’m not looking down on the non-pastoral music guys out there. I try my hardest to love God and to love our people by faithfully preparing each Sunday to lead the musical worship. But too often the responsibilities of Sunday morning song selection are delegated out to someone who is not a pastor. And unfortunately, not only “not a pastor”, but sometimes someone deeply disqualified to lead in God’s church. This person might be the most talented musician around, but musical talent is not a mark of spiritual maturity. And when this shepherding tool is not wielded well, there can be serious consequences.

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