"I don't believe in God; I believe in music."
This was a declaration made by a young fan featured in the music video for the 30 Seconds To Mars song “Closer To The Edge.” As I watched the video filled with footage from the rock band’s live shows, I kept thinking, these people are participating in a very large, very intense, very cool-looking worship service and they don’t even know it.
Unfortunately, they are participating in a service to the created rather than the Creator. If you’ve ever been to a powerful concert, you know exactly the emotion I’m talking about. You see, music is powerful. It can transport you to another place. It can get you out of your problems, if only for a few seconds. It can uplift or depress. It can make you feel invincible or vulnerable. In short, it can convey the full range of human emotion that is conveyed in few other ways.
At our church, we believe in using music to celebrate and worship God’s salvation for us through Jesus’ death on a cross, his burial in a borrowed tomb and his defeat of death through the resurrection.
The music we do primarily falls under the ‘worship’ category of our three core values (worship, discipleship and outreach). The truth is, however, it really fits into all three values. We worship when we lift our voices together, as one, to praise our Creator. It helps us grow as disciples of Jesus by teaching us truths in a melodic context. We also use music to reach out to others by proclaiming the truth through songs to people outside of the church’s walls. While music is an important time during our weekly gathering, it is important to remember that it is just a method for us to express praise, express thankfulness, sometimes express lament and give glory to God together. The created must never take the place of the Creator and, as the young 30 Seconds To Mars fan will one day hopefully realize, music — like everything else that’s created — makes a pretty lousy savior.
Music must remain simply a tool to worship God, draw closer to God, and tell others about our God.