Worship Notes

"Psalm 33:3 - Part 3
Play skillfully"

I will share the third of four thoughts from HJM's foundational Scripture, Psalm 33:3, which says, "Sing unto the Lord a new song.  Play skillfully with a loud noise."

First, I want to say this.  If you are a minister of music, you should get to know who David was in the Bible.  I believe he was the primary Biblical example of what a minstrel should be.  No, he wasn't perfect, but David understood so many things about praise, worship, and music that many churches lack.  One of those things was the importance of a spirit and attitude of excellence. 

David says to "play skillfully".  As you probably know, David was a skilled and anointed musician.  He was a singer, a songwriter and an instrumentalist.  He knew how to write and perform excellent music and recognized the importance and the power of music in worship.  And he was well known by others as one who was both skilled and anointed.  He was called upon more than once to minister in music to Saul, and was recognized as one who was "cunning in playing".  

I've heard people say things like this: "Well, as long as a person is anointed it doesn't matter if they are skilled."  I do not at all agree with that statement and for a few reasons.  You see, the world doesn't understand the Anointing.  I've been in services where the Anointing and Presence of God were so thick it would seem you could cut it with a knife.  And people that I knew were lost still walked out of the building without answering an altar call.  The Anointing is not the only thing that will appeal to people.  But the world does understand excellence.

If people walk into your church and see an unkempt platform with a couple of unruly looking people up there playing out of tune guitars, singing off key, and forgetting the 2nd verse of the song, they will probably not be very impressed.  But if they see excellence, they will know that this thing called Christianity is at least important enough to the people on the platform to do what they do well.  In other words, they are more likely to take it seriously because they see that others do too.

I also want to say this.  I have seen many people who were skilled but not anointed, but I have seen far fewer people who were anointed and not skilled.  God will place a demand upon you to do everything that you can with what you have been given.  The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 tells us that much.  God does not bless and anoint those who take what He has given them and place it on a shelf (or bury it).

The book of Daniel Chapter 6 shows us that Daniel became 2nd in command of the Babylonian Empire, answering only to King Nebuchadnezzar himself.  And verse 3 says that this happened because of the spirit of excellence that was on Daniel.  We have to remember that Daniel was a Jew during the time of Israel's Babylonian captivity.  Daniel shouldn't have been in any leadership position whatsoever, let alone being in charge over the entire Babylonian Empire.

Excellence will open the same doors for your ministry as it did for Daniel.  It will render your ministry more effective.  It will increase your congregation's response once they know that ministry is important enough to you to do it to the best of your ability.  It will also cause people to want to bring visitors to church more, knowing that they won't have to be embarrassed by their church's music ministry.

One more thing.  You don't have to have a dozen Sandi Patti's, Ron Kenoly's, Phil Driscoll's, and Darlene Zschech's in your church to have an effective music ministry.  Just make the most you can out of what you have been given.  Matthew 25 tells us that if we are faithful in the little things, God will give us more.  

My CD has only 9 singers on it.  But in the studio we stacked those 9 singers 3 times to make them sound like 27.  We made the most out of what we were given.  It is most likely that you can do a lot more with what you have than what you probably think.  I believe that the biggest obstacle for Music Ministers to overcome is simply seeing and understanding their own potential.  God has given you everything you need (and more) for where you are right now.

When you rehearse with your team (and you should be rehearsing) let them know the importance of doing everything they do in ministry with a spirit of excellence.  Once they hear themselves singing and playing as they never have before, they will be more excited about it.  And that excitement will spread to the congregation and even outside the walls of your church.  God bless!