Section 4 – Types of Worship Music

Two Styles

As I stated in the lecture there are two basic lyrical styles of Christian music, best understood as either the musicians presenting God’s message to the people or the people singing praises to God Who is our Audience of One.  (In either case we still want the congregation to sing along.)  This is not always a definitive distinction, nor is it of extreme importance.  In fact, some music will incorporate both styles.  However, it’s a good to have a basic understanding of the general concept.  Here’s why;

Many temple musicians provide music for worship services and the songs they present should be aligned with the pastor’s message that day.  A worship service should have a consistent theme.  If the pastor’s message is about how God’s Holy Spirit strengthens us in times of trouble a song like Overcomer by Mandisa might be appropriate.  During the holidays and “Higher Holy Days” songs of praise to God are obviously better, provided they are commensurate with the pastor’s message that day.

Musical Flow of Worship

A “traditional” worship service has an opening hymn, a hymn or anthem after the sermon, and a closing hymn.  Contemporary services tend to have several opening songs and one or two for closing, but the same basic strategy applies.  Start with music that praises God and requests His Holy presence.  I find that praise type songs at the beginning of service usually work best – something that praises God and requests His Holy presence.  Holy Spirit (You are Welcome Here) is a great opening song.  Reinforce the sermon message in the middle, and close with something upbeat (usually) that, again, alludes to the sermon message.  A pastor once told me that no matter how good a sermon he delivers the thing congregants will remember most is the closing song, so always remember that one of the most important jobs of a temple musician is to enhance the pastor’s message.

Additionally, if you are writing a song it’s best to figure out which style applies so your lyrics will have a consistent theme.  Is God calling you to preach a message with music, or are you filled with The Spirit and want to praise Him?  A song I wrote that falls (mostly) into the praise category is actually a musical prayer that thematically follows The Lord’s Prayer.  With that, I suppose we could add a third style that is musical prayer…

Singing is like praying twice.

Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 1:15 PM