Home Up 1. Seeking a Standard 2. Setting a Standard 3. Attaining the Standard 4. Maintaining the Standard

GEMLOsm.gif (1973 bytes)   Article 1.1. 
Topic: Music Ministry.   
Title:    Setting Standards for Effective Music Ministry. 1. SEEKING A STANDARD
Author: Grant Eaton. Date:
Original: July, 1997.  Last modified: 08 January, 2003

Setting Standards for Effective Music Ministry

by Grant Eaton

1.   Seeking a Standard

Where do we look for Standards to Follow?

u World's Best Practice u Quality Assurance   u  Standards Profiles u

These buzz-words seem to be dominating many a 'think-tank' or Policies Committee in Business and Education these days. To get ahead of the rest we are all looking for that formula or image that will show us as trend setters or leaders in our field. As the rate of change accelerates towards the new millennium, everyone is looking for a Standard to mark them out as the one to follow.

What is a Standard?

(Num 1:52 KJV) And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts.

(Isa 49:22-23 KJV) Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people:... and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

Just as the Old Testament tribes had 'Standards' or Banners to identify themselves in the battle, so Churches today are looking for Standards:
bulleta mark of distinction
bulleta symbol of pride
bulleta sense of belonging
bulleta means of communicating and displaying the essence of who we are and what we stand for.

And God has a Standard to set up. He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and His Standard is above all others. Men will see it and bow down and acknowledge that He is the LORD!

So, where do we look for Standards?

  1. Society's Standards.

Performance Standards Commercial Standards The Crowd's Standard Background Music Standard Hedonistic Standard    Entertainment Standard Recording Industry Standards    Sound Technology Standards       Copy-cats Society's role in Creativity

  1. Other Churches' Standards.

u Contemporary u Traditional u Blended u Fundamental u Liturgical u Non-Liturgical u Evangelical u Charismatic u Non-Charismatic u

  1. A "Spiritual" Standard.

  2. Other People's Standard.

  3. A Biblical Standard.


1.  Society's Standards.

What are the Standards that our Society sets for musicians lives and performances? Surely they would desirable Standards for the Christian musician to pursue!
Let's look at some of society's philosophies and compare them with the Scriptural standards.

2 Tim 3:1-5
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

(Eccl 2:10-11 NIV) 
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. {11} Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
bulletdisposable music and musicians
bulletfads and fashions, media driven
bulletmarket forces, buyer - seller relationship
bulletvalue only in $, appeal to the masses


bulletbe trendy, cutting edge
bulletplease the crowd, give them what they want
bulletcrowds are fickle - they can love you one day and hate you the next
bulletif you’re following the crowd, you’d better check where they are going!


bulletif it feels good, do it ('lovers of pleasure')
bullet"because I like the beat..."


bulletpeople don't listen any more because music is always in the background
bulletsuperficial, bland, repetitious, and lacking  contrast or character
bulletfor comfort, relaxation
bulletmusical analgesic to avoid facing pain
Dan 3:5

As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.

See Quote re Professional perfection.

bulleta cue for idolatry
bulletmusic as an end in itself
bulletcomposers deified
bulletperformers idolised
bulletpride, elitism, perfectionism, exclusive
bulletperformer - audience relationship

(Ezek 33:31-32 NIV)
My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. {32} Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

See Quote re Entertainment.


Am I getting through?
Or is this entertainment value only?
The test is:
Do the audience put my message into practice?


What does the entertainer do?

bulletattract a crowd
bulletcaptivate an audience with a stunning voice,  skill on an instrument, or woo with seductive music
bulletseek applause
bulletprovide escape from reality and distraction from pain

What does the audience do?
bulletsit passively, getting hooked and seduced
bulletworship their heroes, expressing their devotion
bulletinsatiable greed for more
bulletthey HEAR but do not PUT ANYTHING into PRACTICE themselves!

This is how it was in Ezekiel's day, and it is even more so today. Our society is saturated with entertainment, and we have insatiable appetites for more. It infiltrates everything from school, home, sport, and the church. If you don't make it entertaining, no one will listen, it seems. [If you make it boring, no one will listen either, of course!]

Get with it! Get a life! Be real! ...etc but remember that music ministry must do far more than merely entertain. Entertainment is a feel good activity that lasts a very short while, and then you'll need another dose. Music ministry needs to aim higher than that. Effective ministry touches people's lives and moves them to make positive, permanent changes, and leads them towards maturity.



If you can't make it to the Concert Hall, it can now come to you. You can enjoy the world's best performances while driving, jogging, vacuuming, or nodding off in your favourite chair. In fact, anywhere.


But is it the same as being there?
I think not.
And can listening to a CD of a performance in any way compare to the joy of participating in a performance?

Listening to recordings is easy, convenient, takes no skill, preparation or commitment.
What about Worship?


The recording industry has dramatically changed our listening habits and expectations. Just as we now take air-conditioned comfort for granted, we also have had our ears conditioned to flawless, digitally corrected recordings. What are the dangers of this conditioning for the church musician?:
bullet"will it sell?" is a more important question than "will it speak?"
bullet"This is from his latest CD" is more significant than "This is from His Word"
bullet"Is it new?" rates higher than "Is it good?"
bullet"Doesn't that sound just grab you?" wins over "Doesn't that truth excite you?"
bulletnew recordings are released at an ever increasing rate. The repertoire is constantly changing, so that the ratio of new to well-known songs can be dangerously high.
bulletsongs are expected to be performed one way - tempo, 'feel', interpretation must be as on the CD!
bulletsuccessful recordings can be more the result of editing and promotion and less because of the talent of the performer or the worth of the musical expression.
bulletto sell anything, it needs to be promoted using a catchy jingle - and the bait needs to be increasingly clever to attract a bite.



(1 Cor 14:7-8 NIV) Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? {8} Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?


See Quote re Technical perfection.


It says something significant about our understanding of what it means to truly worship God, when the 'make or break' factor of a church's worship service is the sound system and the skill of its operator! We must certainly never take the services of dedicated sound technicians for granted, because their craft does have the potential to enhance or distract from our opportunities for worship. But again, we need to be clear of our purpose, values and priorities so that the standards sought by our technology hungry society, do not dictate or limit our communion with God.

How do we know when the sound technology is limiting worship?
bulletwhen the "PA was too loud" or the "PA was too soft" comments (and you can easily get both in the same service!) out number the "Isn't God good" comments by 10:1,
bulletwhen the sound has to be felt as well as heard,
bulletwhen the congregation stops singing because they can no longer hear themselves,
bulletthere is no way for the congregation to respond or participate because it all has to happen on stage through the sound system.
bulletwhen you can't hear the song because of its accompaniment.
bulletwhen no consideration whatever is given to the optimal acoustic environment for congregational participation, when designing new sanctuaries.
bulletwhen a power failure means we cancel the service and go home. 

Or, how about this recent quote from a worship leader, when it was discovered the computer projection system had no backup globe (August 2001): "Our whole service revolves around the computer projector. The whole service is done on 'Powerpoint'. If the globe blows, we've got nothing! We may as well go home!" I appreciate that the worship leader was expressing a legitimate practical concern that all the work preparing and putting songs, prayers, message notes etc on the screen for the congregation would be wasted if the globe were to blow, and that there is the need for a backup, but it is of concern if our dependence on technology and the perfection of the presentation of the 'show' is so important that we loose sight of the fact, even for a moment, that our worship, to indeed be worship, must revolve around Christ.    

Let's do all we can to avoid unnecessary distractions from focussing on Christ, by preparing thoroughly and having adequate equipment and backups, but when people or equipment fail, we can still rejoice that God never fails, and worship Him all the more.

Amos 5:23,  6:5

Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.

You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.

See Quote re Copying

Encourage CREATIVITY, sure, but here's the CHALLENGE:
- to channel the creativity of the class "born performers" into worthy rather than disruptive pursuits!

bulletcopy any effective formula or fad to get ahead.
bullet"...like David... Away with the noise of your songs." Amos 6. (Even copying the Master Musician proved ineffectual!)


bulletParents ("...be quiet, you sing like your mother!")
bulletSchool (put downs, expectations, environment etc.)
bulletTV (we don’t have to think, imagine, create etc.)

We should be encouraging creativity, not stifling it like aspects of our society often do.

 "...You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."
(Mark 7:8 NIV)

Clearly, many of Society's Standards are quite contrary to Christian values and principles. Many Christian musicians have come through Music education systems that are based on Society's Standards of excellence. While I believe all Christian musicians should strive to develop and maintain excellent musical skills (which, for the truly gifted musician, should be comparable to any musician in the world), God calls us to a higher standard - a standard which is not measured by Society's yard-stick, nor is it compared to worldly success, but which is of eternal value.  

"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work." 
(1 Cor 3:12-13 NIV)

'Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. '
(1 Cor. 3:18)


2.  Other Churches' Standards.

While many of the Standards that our Society sets may be inappropriate for the Christian musician, surely other successful churches would have standards we can emulate. We can indeed learn much from others and should be open to what they can teach us.

But a word of WARNING! Remember, if you are a gardener, successful transplantation involves getting the whole plant, roots and all, and planting it in a comparable environment and supplying equivalent nourishment. You might like the visible fruit or flower of a plant, but just trying to product the fruit without the root stock and the essential nourishment is futile.

Similarly, just copying the visible aspects of another church's music ministry, without planting and nourishing the root stock, will be no more fruitful than the musicians of Amos' day whose songs were rejected by the Lord. (Amos 5, 6).  Not even copying David's music was enough.

(John 4:19-24 NIV) ""Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.""

We can recognise worthy ideals, and learn from the experience of others, while still remaining faithful to our God-given vision for the standard He requires of us.

But care needs to be taken! Consider:

Local Churches have unique characteristics
bulletwhat works in one church may not necessarily work elsewhere
bulletdifferent denominations have different emphases
bulletthe resources of some churches may not be able to manage the complexities of music performed by others.
bulletyou might like another church's latest Worship CD, but it may be unwise to force it on your congregation without the stylistic integrity of the particular musical genre.

Copying techniques and repertoire without the spiritual foundation, prayer, discipleship, obedience and consecrated servanthood, leads to entertainment value at best.

  Data Transfer is not Communication
bulletGigabytes of data are transferred around the world every hour, but is anybody listening?
bulletcommunication involves relationship, meeting needs, touching people...etc


Neither is Music necessarily Ministry
bulletministry also involves relationship, meeting needs, connecting with God and each other.
bulleta moving musical experience or stunning performance are not of themselves a basis for the worship of God.
bulletdiscern the difference between cultural and spiritual values.
(Mat 15:2-3 KJV) Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

(Col 2:8-10 NIV) See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. {9} For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, {10} and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

"When one generation passes on its symbols to the next generation, without passing on the meaning of those symbols, the next generation either rejects them or becomes enslaved by them"

[I have lost the source of this quote. I thought I got it from Lovelace and Rice Music and Worship in the Church. Abingdon - but I can't find the exact quote. If you can help me, please Email me.]

Traditional Standards:

Churches easily move from being living organisms (Body of Christ model) to institutions which soon accumulate numbers of both worthy and vain traditions. Even in 'non-conformist' churches, the 'creature of habit' nature can take hold and conformity to unwritten traditions is evident.

What is wrong with Tradition?

The problem is not with the tradition, but rather:

bulletour failure to acknowledge the over-riding sovereignty of God
bulletnot discerning the difference between worthy and vain traditions?
bulletour lack of understanding of a tradition's meaning and significance?
bulletpursuing an empty tradition without the meaning behind it, leads to its rejection or the repetition of vain rituals.
bulletPeople today rightly reject superficiality, meaningless symbols, insincerity, inconsistency and the lack of conviction.
These are NOT issues of style and taste!
The issues are motivation and meaning.
Replacing a 'traditional' expression with a more 'contemporary' one without changing the motivation and meaning of the expression, is to just exchange an old meaningless symbol for a newer one!
bulletInstead, this is what we need today: Truth, Reality, and Eternal values, and ways of communicating it with love, power and authority.
bulletA part of this communication will be the continued use of effective symbols, and the continuing education of the meaning of those symbols.
bulletIt will also mean letting go of some symbols and expressions which are no longer able to communicate meaningfully in our society, and embracing others which will highlight the meaning most effectively.

This is a process of growing towards maturity, and not just pandering to fashion or flesh.

bulletWe must ultimately edify more than we entertain, and
bullettouch people who have real needs more than we perpetuate points of cultural significance. 


3.  A "Spiritual" Standard.

One approach to Standards of musical performance in the church, is to hide behind the fact that God looks on the heart. Advocates of this position would not say it quite like this, but the inference is that "it doesn't have to be good - it just has to be something, after all God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. As long as our hearts are right, God can use us."

This "Spiritual" approach seems to excuse poor preparation or performance.
Indeed God does look on the heart, but unfortunately people can't always!
They may not discern that one's heart is sold out towards God, if one's performance shows indifference or is devoid of basic musical skills.
They also may not discern (although truly spiritually minded ones will) that a dazzling display of talent that warrants a standing ovation, may momentarily move emotions but in the end it may be mere music - just froth and bubble. "I really enjoyed that Service" may be a typical comment from people who look on outward appearances but are really just enjoying good music. It may appear to be a really happening Church, but what is really happening? Is God even there? Is anyone's life really changed?

If we are to attain a truly Spiritual standard, we need to understand and appropriate in our daily lives, the meaning of true Spirituality.

(1 Sam 16:7 NIV) "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.""

"The Lord looks on the heart..."
is no excuse for sloppy standards!
In fact, if our standards remain sloppy, it’s time we looked at our own hearts!

The notion that sloppy standards are excusable because God looks on the heart, is quite ridiculous when you think about it, because God's standards are actually much higher than man's! God looks much deeper.


He can look past the slothful performance to a heart that is rebellious and deceitful.


He can look past an exemplary performance to a heart that is proud and conceited. 


bulletNo amount of human cleverness can compensate for the weakness of a heart that is out of tune with God.
bulletNo amount of human weakness can diminish the power of a consecrated heart that God chooses to use.
What is the question?

To be or not to be?

To be active or merely available?

To prepare or not to prepare?

To be simple or profound?

To let go and let God?

Is it more "spiritual" to be spontaneous?


Standards of excellence in Christian Music Ministry are not determined primarily by the degree of skills displayed, or apparent "spiritual" prowess.

It may be equally "unspiritual" to have:
bulletpride in one's performance skill
bulletlack of pride (or slothfulness) in one's preparation and presentation.

God moves in mysterious ways, as we well know, and may move mightily through:
bulleta skilful performance of a talented and well rehearsed musician,
bulleta stammering word from a humble servant,
bulletthe thorough preparations of a competent worship leader,
bulletthe simple spontaneous expression of a heart overflowing with God's love.

4.  Other People's Standard.

Other people's expectations can be a very inhibiting factor. We need other people. We can learn from each other, and Music Ministry is very much a team building exercise. But if we let other people's expectations determine our Standards, we might easily miss God's best for our ministry.

We can easily burn out if our ministry is limited by what others might think!

Approval ratings! What a millstone they can be for politicians. But even more for the Christian musician whose chief concern is to win the approval of man.  

(Gal 1:10 NIV) "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Whose rules, rule?

Trying the live up to other’s expectations?

Trying to live up to what you THINK others expect of you?

Trying to please everybody?


Of course, not! I wouldn't fall into that trap. Or would I?

(1 Cor 10:31-33 NIV) So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. {32} Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- {33} even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

(Eph 1:9-10 NIV) And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, {10} to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Which Crowd should we Please?

The 'IN' crowd   - or the -   'OUT' crowd
The trendy crowd   - or the -  snobby crowd
The Vocal minority   - or the -  Silent majority
The 'baby boomers'    - or the -   'baby busters'
The 'seekers'   - or the - 'saints'
The carnal  - or the - spiritual.

Or maybe we are asking the wrong question. If we focus on pleasing one crowd, the chances are we won't please the other. For Paul the essential thing was to win the approval of God, (Gal. 1:10) but then he was careful not to cause any 'crowd' to stumble.  His solution to diverse needs was to firstly preach Christ, (in whom all things will be united), but in non essential matters, he did not seek his own good, but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

We therefore need to discern the spiritual from the cultural, the real from the merely relevant, and boldly pursue the Will of God.


(Rom 14:16-20 NIV) Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.

But what about Edification?


Is it edifying to always give people what they want?


Is entertainment edifying?


Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of matters of personal taste or preference.


Any musical style may be permissible, but it is wrong to use anything that causes someone else to stumble.


But who is likely to stumble?


The weaker brother. Sees you eating meat when he can only take milk.


The stronger brother may also be weakened if he can't get the meat that he needs.

5.  A Biblical Standard.

If society's, other Churches', and other people's standards prove to be an inadequate foundation for effective music ministry. Where else can we turn? Surely God's Word is the only true measuring stick for setting standards for any Christian ministry.


Some may see music's role in church as:
bulletmerely a means of communication, 
bulletno more than an ornament,
bulletan entertaining distraction,
bulletsomething to make the Service palatable,
bulleta gimmick to attract the crowds.

If this is the case, then we should set our standards with reference to the Arts, Entertainment,  Music and Advertising Industries. To serve this role effectively, church musicians would set their sights on being comparable to the music people might enjoy on TV, Entertainment Centres, and Concert Halls. I don't believe we should in any way diminish the value of comparable levels of musical skills for talented Christian musicians, but vastly different values and Standards are evident in Scripture.

Music in the Bible is seen in quite a different role:
bulletIt is assumed that everyone participates, not just the talented elite,
bulletMusic is invariably associated with and is integral to Praise and Worship,
bulletMusic is a means of teaching and encouraging each other,
bulletMusic is often a joyful celebration of the goodness of God,
bulletMusic engages the whole person: body soul and spirit,
bulletThe focus is not on getting enjoyment, but on giving expression to the joy within,
bulletGlimpses of Heaven, show the angelic hosts singing and worshipping.

To serve this role effectively, church musicians must set their sights and lifestyle on Biblical Standards. To build an effective music ministry, we need some answers:

  1. Who are we serving?
  2. Who is the Builder? 
  3. Who is the Architect?
  4. Where is the Blueprint?
  5. Who is my Teacher?
  6. Where will the resources come from?
  7. Where is your confidence?
  8. Who is the Opposition?
  9. What is the end result and will it last?

To develop a music ministry on to Biblical Standards, we must obvious look for Biblical answers to these questions, and apply the principles.


(Mat 4:10 NIV) Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"


1. Who are we serving?

We can only serve one Master. But money, fame, recognition, Art, are but a few of taskmasters that try to overcome the musician. Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.

(Psa 127:1 NIV)  Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.


2. Who is the Builder? 

To make it as a musician requires years of diligent practice and self discipline. It is often a lonely process, but a rewarding one when the applause finally comes for all that labour. While skills must be honed in this way, self effort will not build a music ministry. Let go and let God be the builder.

(Heb 8:5 NIV) They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." 3. Who is the Architect?

Music and Worship can foreshadow Heaven.  We must therefore work to the pattern that God reveals to us. God gave detailed plans to Moses for how people should come to Him and offerings to Him. Under the new covenant (Heb 8:10 NIV) the Lord says, "I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."  God is still the Architect, and we must seek to know His plans.

(2 Tim 3:14-17 NIV) ... from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. {16} All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, {17} so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 4. Where is the Blueprint?

Want to be a man of God, and be thoroughly equipped for every good work? Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians might will teach you a lot about music, but it won't teach you that. Scripture alone is the blueprint for ministry. It can teach, rebuke, correct, and train the servant, ready to do good work through music.

Psa 71:17
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds.
5. Who is the Teacher?

We need music teachers to guide us through the development of skill phases, but God is the One Who teaches us to declare His praises. Why is it that we imagine can do that without waiting on Him?

(2 Pet 1:3 NIV) His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 6. Where will the resources come from?

When God calls us to serve Him, he also promises to give us everything we need.

(Phil 3:3 NIV) For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-- 7. Where is your confidence?

Paul had every reason to have confidence in his own abilities. He had the necessary training and the background. But he knew he could have no confidence in the flesh. To serve the Lord, his confidence was in God and God alone.

(Eph 6:12-13 NIV) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

(1 Pet 5:6-8)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
8.  Who is the opposition?

You need to know who your enemy is so that you can prepare your defence. Every day we will be engaging in a spiritual battle if we are working for God's kingdom. We need to put on and use all of God's armour.

We must remain vigilant in order to maintain our focus and direction. There are so many distractions, many of them very worthy endeavours, which can begin to erode our foundations.

Even the great Statue of Liberty has eroded over the years and needs maintenance. This symbol of freedom reminds us that the ideal which it symbolises, is also subject to erosion. The potential of 'freedom for all' needs constant maintenance if it is to be a reality.

Be vigilant to ward off the erosion of your ministry and to maintain its eternal goal.

(Heb 12:27-29 NIV) The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain. {28} Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, {29} for our "God is a consuming fire." 9. What is the end result and will it last?

Begin with the end in mind, is excellent advice. If you have a vision of where you are heading, you can plan and pace your progress to that goal. Build things which have value in God's eternal kingdom, and it will last forever. I often tell my children's choirs that their singing is like a beautiful flower. It brings beauty and fragrance to the audience that lingers for a numbers of days. But unlike other children who do not know and love the Lord Jesus, God can use us to plant seeds in people's hearts which can grow and blossom for ever. This is the essential difference between mere music and music ministry. It is not the style or skill level, but that God is able to use us to bring Him glory and extend His eternal kingdom.

What would you rather do? Bring beauty and joy for a short time, or sow seeds that bear fruit forever?


Of course, we know all of this. So why don't we do it?

(Rom 1:25 NIV) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. What happens when we pursue alternative Standards?

It is possible to exchange the truth of God for a lie. It happens! Fallen man has always been prone to worship and serve created things rather than the Creator. It is all too easy to unwittingly turn to worshipping music, or the skill of the musician. Our society and this Entertainment Age in which we live, is a breeding ground for such idolatry. Let us beware.

Seeking Standards for an effective music ministry?

Where do you look? What is your measuring stick? Where should you expend your effort?

Stephen Covey, (in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) gives an amusing story about effort and effectiveness. He says:
"The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, 'Wrong jungle!'
But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? 'Shut up! We're making progress.'" (Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind, p. 101)
Covey goes on to say: "effectiveness - often even survival - does not depend solely on how much effort we expend, but on whether or not the effort we expend is in the right jungle."

We need visionary leadership who will survey the whole scene, and discern the most appropriate Standards for us to strive after. A Biblical, God inspired vision, is the only acceptable Standard for an effective music ministry.  We will pursue this further.

Go to Setting Standards for Effective Music Ministry,
2. Setting a Standard.

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