encouraging a unified worship experience

Exiled or Encouraged?

instruments.0I have been intrigued by worship for some years now. Not only the music, but worship as a whole. In my research and study of worship, many questions have arisen. Some have been answered and some I will never know the answer to until I reach heaven. One question I have been asking of late is 'how many people have we exiled from using their gifts in worship because of personal instrumental bias'? As I look through congregations, I see people who have God given musical talents that are not allowed to use these talents in worship.  Why? Because many of our churches have delineated the music to singers and keyboardists (pianists, organists). What about the guitarists who have spent years honing a talent, or the drummer who is extremely gifted? What about the wind player or the string player that simply wants to use their gifts for Christ? Sadly, according to some churches these are not welcome.

As I am writing this, I am reminded of a gentleman I met several years ago. He had a gift of playing guitar. Sadly, his church only allowed piano and organ, thus he was relegated to using his gifts in bars. When I met him, he was volunteering as stage manager in a church. This local fellowship had discipled him, ministered to him and allowed him to serve. Sadly due to arthritis, he was no longer able to play guitar but was happy serving his Lord as stage manager.  I began to wonder how many others are like this man. How many others have we relegated to bars and the secular scene simply based on personal preference?

Scripture has numerous references to instruments. Perhaps the most well know scripture regarding instruments is Psalm 150:1-6. It reads, "Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!"

Other scriptures include Psalm 98:4-6, Revelation 14:2-3, Psalm 33:3, Psalm 81:1-2, 1 Chronicles 23:5, Revelation 18:22, 2 Chronicles 29:25 along with others. And let us not forget Genesis 4:21 that speaks of Jubal who is known as the "father of instrumentation" in scripture.

I have heard the arguments against varied instrumentation in worship and honestly none of them are valid. My response to people against various instruments in worship has been to show me in scripture where God gives someone a talent then refuses to allow that person to use said talent for His glory. In 24 years of ministry, no one has shown me such a scripture.

I think that often the true argument is personal preference. Sometimes we as believers put our personal preference higher than scripture. Because an organ (which is a relatively new instrument historically) or other instrument fits our preference, then it must be "of God." Unfortunately when we do this, we do not allow those who play other instruments to use God given talents. These people have a passion for music and for their instrument. When we squelch that passion in church, they often find outlets elsewhere.

Let's not exile but encourage each other through our worship.

These are my thoughts, what are yours?