October 20, 2016

It has been an exciting year so far here at Central Methodist University in the Music Ministry Department. We have 12 full-time members in our student worship band and have had many more participate as guests on a part-time basis. Attendance at our weekly chapel services has been fantastic, and our chapel congregation has been very engaged.
    
As we all know, participation and worship style have been hot topics in many congregations in the Christian faith for some time. I’m sure that each of you can empathize with this from experiences that you’ve had in your own church. Here at CMU, our worshippers have many varied tastes. We have some folks who enjoy the newest worship music, some who prefer classic praise songs, those who prefer hymns, some who would like to hear no musical instruments in worship and yet other individuals who believe some secular music can be expressed as praise to God. As I observe our diverse congregation, I notice that some attendees choose to participate no matter the style —even if it isn’t their preference. Other folks elect to abstain from participation if the style does not suit their taste.
    
I realize that this can be a very touchy subject for many of us. If the style of music seems unbefitting of a format that we as individuals are familiar with, our tendency can be to reject it. I wonder if there’s a better solution. Pending that the message of the worship song aligns with your personal or denominational beliefs, shouldn’t we all do our best to participate in the activity? I know there are many of us who are not comfortable singing — understandable.            

You are welcome to say the words quietly or simply admire God in silent worship. However, if you are able to sing, have had the opportunity to become familiar with (at least) the chorus and agree with the message of the song, then I think we all as a congregation benefit from your support. From my perspective, when everyone is participating it seems to be a more uplifting experience as a whole. We unite as one body of Christ for the same purpose, and we have all lifted our voices for the same or similar reasons.
    
So let’s do our best every time we go to church to work together as a team, to sing as a choir, to “praise Him with a clash of cymbals; praise Him with resounding cymbals” as Psalm 150 teaches. 
    
Until next time, I appreciate you tuning in. It truly is a pleasure to have this opportunity with you each month, and I am happy to hear the positive comments and discussion that I receive from you on a regular basis. If there’s ever anything I can do for you or your congregation, please do not hesitate to contact me. We at Central Methodist are always happy to speak with young persons who may be interested in ministry or music ministry as a profession as well. You can contact me at 660-651-9964 or at rmclouth@centralmethodist.edu. Keep playing and singing!