161 East Harper Avenue, Maryville, TN  865-984-0116

Theology of Music Ministry

GCC – Theology of Music Ministry

I.  Theology of Music and Worship (Adaption of Grace Immanuel Bible Church)

A.  Overview

As a church we are committed to striving for worship that pleases God both in our corporate worship services as well as in our private times of adoration.  In John 4:23-24 Jesus gives us one of the clearest statements regarding the kind of worship that God requires when He says, “…the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

 1.  Worship in Spirit

Worship in spirit is worship that engages the spirit or the heart of a person.  True worship flows from the inner dimension of a man and involves the intellect, the emotions, and the volition as they have been renewed, and are continually empowered and illuminated, by the Spirit of God (Ps. 45:1; 103:1; Ps. 51:7; Rom. 1:9)

2.  Worship in Truth

Worship in Truth is worship that occurs in response to God’s gracious revelation of Himself in both creation (general revelation) and the Word of God (special revelation).  True worship cannot occur apart from an understanding of who God is (Acts 17:23), and thus every aspect of worship must conform to the truth of God’s Word.  Each facet of our corporate worship must be carefully evaluated in the light of scriptural truth in order to protect and enable “worship in truth.”   Worship that is saturated in Scripture will be protected from unworthy or errant thoughts about the object our worship, God Himself.  Biblically based worship will retain God and His glory as its central focus thus avoiding man-centeredness.  When scrutinized in the light of God’s Word, worship will emphasize both the transcendence and immanence of God (Is. 57:15, Ps 113).  Worship submitted to the authority of God’s word will insure that songs can accurately teach and admonish as commanded in Col.3:16 and Eph. 5:19.  Scriptural worship will balance the subjective expression of our thoughts to God (Ps. 18:1-2) with the objective impression of God’s thoughts to us (Deut. 6:3; Is. 1:18-20)

Like the rest of creation, music is designed by God for His own glory (Is 48:11, Rom. 11:36).  Music should be used as a tool to facilitate worship, not as an end in itself.  Music enhances our expression of adoration of God beyond that of the spoken word alone (Ps. 147:1) and enriches our convictions with the wonder and majesty of God-given musical expression.

B.  Fundamental Principles Undergirding the Music and Worship Ministry

 1.   The Authority of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17):

The Word of God is the bedrock foundation upon which all of our worship practice is built.  Only in scripture does God ultimately reveal to us who He is and how we are to respond to Him in worship (i.e. the kind of worship that pleases Him) (Jn. 4:23-24), therefore scripture alone must govern and guide all our practice!

2.  Worship as Whole Life Consecration (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:15-16)

Biblical worship is not relegated to 30 minutes of singing on Sunday morning prior to the pastor’s sermon; rather it encompasses the whole of our life (Rom. 12:1) lived out before the all-seeing eye of God.  Worship should be a perpetual experience of the heart whereby we ascribe to God supreme worth!  Worship is expressed both internally and externally; both privately and publicly; both with our lives and our lips.  It involves singing (Heb. 13:15), preaching (Rom. 1:9) serving (Heb. 13:16), evangelism (Rom. 15:16), giving (Phil.4:18), offering thanksgiving and praise to God (Heb. 13:15-16; cf. 1 Pet. 2:5), as well as every other act of obedience to Him and His Word (Rom. 12:1 ff).

3.  God-Centered & God-Saturated Worship (Is. 42:8, 48:9-11; Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 10:31)

The goal of our worship is to joyfully exalt the triune God.  Worship isn’t ultimately about us and our subjective feelings, it’s about exalting God for who He is, for what He has done (especially in the person and work of Jesus Christ) and for what He promises to do!  Therefore, God is to be the sum and substance of all our preaching, teaching, praying, singing, giving, serving, etc.

4.  Content-Driven Worship (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 4-5)

The issue in worship is not old vs. new; hymns vs contemporary music; but rather content.  The question is:  Is the content of our worship who God is (Ps. 145:3-5), what He has done (in creation, redemption, etc.) (Rev. 4-5; 1 Pet. 2:9) and what He promises to do (in His return & ultimate reign (Ps. 96; Rev. 11:16-19)?  We must carefully evaluate the content of every lyric used in our services.  Is everything in a song doctrinally sound?  Does it communicate the truth in the way God intended?  Does it contain a small or significant amount of truth?  We must strive for comprehensive exposure to “the whole counsel of God” in our worship.

5.  Emotion-Filled Worship Not Emotion-Driven Worship

True biblical worship is to involve the emotions (Ps. 33:1, 100:1-2) but the emotions are always to follow in response to biblical truth/revelation.  Corporate worship is not to be ecstatic for the sake of ecstasy or divorced from the use of the intellect—where emotions overshadow the truth and become the experience.  This makes the “worship experience” the consuming focus to the detriment of equipping for whole-life worship.  Many churches are now worshiping the emotions of “worship” rather than God because people are addicted to the experience.  This emotionalism is reflected in the lyrics of an ever-increasing quantity of contemporary songs.  Therefore, we must be careful in our worship to avoid empty-headed emotionalism.  At the same time we need to be careful not to swing the pendulum to the opposite extreme of empty-hearted intellectualism.  The goal is a biblically-informed, truth-filled mind that issues forth in an enflamed heart of passionate love, devotion, obedience and praise to God.

6.  Music and Scripture are a God-ordained Marriage (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)

It is God who ordained the marriage between music and His Word for the church when He spoke through the Apostle Paul, commanding us to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:18-19, Col. 3:16).  Singing God’s praises was a central part of Israel’s Worship (e.g. the Psalms, and 1 Chron. 15:16-22) and it will be a future heavenly activity as well (Rev. 5:9).

7.  Variety of Music (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)

Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 indicate that music of differing content should be used in communicating the Word of God within the Body.  While the difference between “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” may be difficult to distinguish with technical definitions, we believe that “psalms” generally refers to the psalms and canticles in the Bible, “hymns” most likely refers to ancient songs of praise written to teach more theological content in their poetry and verse, and “spiritual songs” are likely the varied and broad songs composed for praise, adoration, and to express the testimony of a heart transformed by Christ.

8.  Everything Is To Be Done for Edification (1 Cor. 14:26,40)

Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:26 “Let all things be done for edification,” which means that our personal preferences must always be subordinate to that which serves the greater good of the Body (edification).  Practically speaking, the emphasis in corporate worship should not be upon individual musical preferences, nor upon what someone desires to get (emotions, sensations, what they like to hear, and so forth) from the experience.  Rather, corporate worship should focus on what a person comes to give (exaltation of Christ and spiritual service to the church).  Paul also says in 1 Cor. 14:40, “do everything decently and in order,” which means that whatever is disorderly or connotes an element of chaos in corporate worship is inappropriate.  God is not a God of confusion (v. 33), nor are visitors and the unsaved to think that the church body is lacking in sound judgment or outright senseless (v. 23).  Upholding the clarion purpose of corporate edification is a good safeguard against such distractions.

9.  Reverent worship (Heb. 12:28-29)

Reverence, awe, and honor are to be the marks of our lifestyle and worship attitudes (Heb. 12:28-29).  Two of the great worship scenes in scripture (Is.6, Rev. 5) strongly emphasize God’s holiness and loftiness.  Not only should our worship reflect this, it should also be carefully conceived so as not to trivialize the worship of God.

10.  Blend Historic and Contemporary Music in Worship (Mt. 13:52)

Essential to cultivating good balance is blending classic/traditional music with the best of the contemporary music being written today.  Of course, this requires a degree of deference from contemporary-minded musicians toward the traditional, and from classic-minded musicians toward the contemporary.  When a broad range of styles is tastefully harmonized in one service – and if your musicians are mature – the body benefits from each aspect of the spectrum represented by the demographics of the fellowship.  If each group must demand their own genre of music, the end result will be two churches meeting at different times in the same building.

11.  Congregation Friendly Worship

We desire for the music at Grace to encourage the congregation to be a part.  To this end we seek to choose songs which are designed to be sung by groups of people (as opposed to being sung to groups of people), and we seek to emphasize the participation of the congregation over the performance of the worship team.  This requires choosing music that is relatively easy to follow and fostering a sound level that enables the congregation to hear those around them singing.

12.  An Unswerving Commitment to the Biblical Purpose/Priorities of the Worship Service:

A ministry with a welcoming environment is certainly more attractive than one without “life and passion”, but we must avoid turning evangelistic fervor into tampering with God’s design for the gathering  of His people.  We gather on the Lord’s Day primarily to praise God, to pray, to share spiritual resources (“fellowship”), to edify one another, to be equipped by doctrinal preaching & teaching, to meet needs, to prepare for evangelism through the week, to partake of the Lord’s Supper, and to baptize new converts.  Ephesians 4:11-16 gives us a clear treatise on church growth, with an emphasis on individual spiritual gifts and maturity in the truth.  Our churches should welcome unbelievers to “eavesdrop” on our Sunday activities that they might hear the gospel, but we must not turn the main Sunday service, or its music, into a pragmatically-determined strategy for attracting the lost.  The unsaved come to salvation by the supernatural regenerating work of God through the Word alone (1 Cor. 1:21Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet.1:23)  The music and praise of our worship should not be designed around the preferences of curious non-believers or what is culturally appealing to the masses.  Our worship should be strange and attractive to the soft-hearted, and something uncomfortable and detestable to the hardened.

13.  Undistracting Excellence (Ps. 33:3)

Musicians and singers should strive to honor God with the best of their talents and spiritual maturity.  Artistic excellence, however, without godly maturity leads to pretentiousness and shallow praise.  Conversely, musicianship that is carelessly offered and poorly rehearsed can dishonor the Lord, contributing to distraction and lack of passion.  This is no less important than excellent preparation in the preaching of God’s word or any other ministry gift and talent offered in the church.  Natural, undistracting excellence (Ps. 33:3) that draws the listeners’ attention to the character and nature of God as expressed in the music (rather than to the performers) must always be the goal of the musicians involved in worship.

II.  GCC Music Leader Position – Volunteer

A.  Personal Qualifications

 1.  Member of GCC
2.  Deacon qualified

Not necessarily a recognized elder or deacon at GCC, but that there are no significant concerns or dis-qualifications in life related to these leadership and life qualifications.

a)  Biblically qualified, man of the Word
b)  Actively striving to be a 1 Tim. 3 man.
c)  Actively engaged in reading the Word on a consistent basis.
d)  Devoted to increasing his understanding of God’s Word and the character of God.
e)  Actively engaged and focused in prayer.
f)  Humbly placing himself under the authority of the Word of God.
g)  Actively striving in a deepening relationship with the Person of God.

3.  Consistently demonstrates fruit of the Spirit

B.  Relationship to the Elders

 1.  Committed to GCC and it’s leaders
2.  Submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ (Eph 5:21)
3.  Loving one another with brotherly affection (Rom 12:10a)
4.  Outdoing one another in showing honor (Rom 12:10b)
5.  Does nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in a humility counts others as more significant than himself (Phil 2:3-4).
6.  Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3)
7.  Open-minded and flexible to other ways of doing things.
8.  Committed to having the same heart and mind as the elders and other worship leaders.  (Acts 4:32, 1 Peter 3:8, Phil 2:1-2)
9.  Humbly places himself under the authority of the elders and is actively striving to maintain and grow a strong and unified relationship with them.

C.  Leadership Qualifications

 1.  A Christ-like leader…serves those that he leads through love

a)  Serves the worship team by encouraging musicians to use their gifts to the best of their ability
b)  Serves the church body by choosing songs that are sing-able and arranging them in a way that encourages participation and minimizes distractions.
c)  Serve the elders by being receptive to their input in what ever form that may be so that the Word of God may be proclaimed!

2.  Skilled in organizing and directing volunteers
3.  Skilled in working through problems and relational issues that arise in ministry situations
4.  Able to work well with other leaders and ministries
5.  Able to graciously receive (and implement if possible) input and ideas from those on the worship team

D.  Music Qualifications

 1.  Committed to growing in his music skills and leadership
2.  Familiar with, and able to play, both older music forms (hymns) and newer music styles
3.  Pleasant vocal quality and reasonable range
4.  Discerning in ability to choose songs that are theologically sound, musically excellent, and congregationally friendly
5.  Able to bring cohesion to whatever mix of instruments/singers are available
6.  Able to work with minimal accompaniment or with more complex arrangements
7.  Able to use current technology which will be helpful and beneficial to the overall music effort

E.  Time Qualifications – Ideally not to exceed 10 hours per week

 1.  Lead at least one music practice per week
2.  Plan and publish a music rotation at least monthly
3.  Be available most Sunday’s to lead music in both hours of the main service
4.  Have time to choose and learn new music to teach
5.  Be available to lead music at major conferences and special events (3 or 4 weekends per year)

III.  Music Team Specifics

A.  Music Team Requirements

 1.  Member of GCC
2.  Have a deep desire for and give evidence of growth in godliness
3.  Attend rehearsals and participate fully in the worship ministry.
4.  Must have a heart attitude of worship.  (No music-reading or experience required.)
5.  Must have proficient skills for chosen area of service.  (Singers need to be able to hit correct pitches and sing harmony parts, etc.  Musicians need to be skilled in playing instruments.)

B.  Rehearsal/Ministry Guidelines (as of 10/1/17)

 1.  Singers:

We would like to ask that all singers commit to the following:

a)  When scheduled, commit to being present at all practices.
b)  When scheduled, commit to arriving one hour before Sunday service for practice and prayer.
c)  Core Group Singers:  Erin and Kaylee – Commit to every Sunday with 2 weeks off every third month.
d)  Rotating Singers:  If there are 4 ladies on rotation, make out a rotating schedule for 3 months at a time.  One lady will rotate in for a month with Kaylee and Erin serving for all Sundays in that month.  (Two ladies will rotate in on the third month)
e)  “On-Call” fill in:  In addition to signing up for a full month every four months, we would like to ask that the rotating singers sign up for a month of being on call…in case the scheduled singer is sick or something unexpected comes up.

2.  Example of rotation:

Month 1:  Erin, Kaylee, Singer 1    “On-Call”:   (Name of volunteer singer)
Month 2:  Erin, Kaylee, Singer 2   “On-Call”:   (Name of volunteer singer)
Month 3:  Wk 1:  Singer 4, Kaylee, Singer 3    “On-Call”:  (Name of volunteer singer)
Wk 2:  Singer 4, Kaylee, Singer 3    “On-Call”:  (Name of volunteer singer)
Wk 3:  Erin, Singer 4, Singer 3    “On-Call”:  (Name of volunteer singer)
Wk 4:  Erin, Singer 4, Singer 3     “On-Call”:  (Name of volunteer singer)

Then start rotation again
You can give each rotating girl a number…like Jessica (1) etc

3.  Musicians:  Piano, Drums, Electric Guitar/Acoustic Guitar, Bass

All musicians are to commit to the following:  (Maybe make the bass guys (or anyone with an ever-changing work schedule) be a little more flexible and the other musicians more committed?)

a)  When scheduled, commit to being present at all practices.
b)  When scheduled, commit to arriving one hour before Sunday service for practice and prayer.
c)  Serving for one month every 3 months (2-3 months out of the year)  (depending on how many sign up)

C.  Dress Code Requirements

Generally, these apply when singing on the stage at church worship services.

 1.  Ladies – Please no shoulders, no knees, no form fitting outfits, and no low-cut blouses of any type
2.  Men – no shorts, no logos, no flip-flops/Chaco’s

D.  Music Team Resources

 1.  Weekly email with schedule and songs for practice before rehearsal

E.  Music Team Opportunities

 1.  Sunday morning worship services.  (9:00 AM and 10:30 AM)
2.  Additional ministry opportunities may include special presentations such as Christmas concerts, Easter services and other events.  As opportunities arise, the music team will participate in other presentations consistent with its music leading mission.

F.  Other Expectations

 1.  A positive, servant-hearted attitude is essential for an effective music leading ministry.  Questions are encouraged.  Input is great and will be studied, but any kind of critical spirit is harmful.  Please minimize  personal conversations during rehearsal.  Our schedule is filled with music, devotion and prayer.
2.  Guard your heart against jealousy and pride.  There are a number of enormously gifted people on our team. The Lord will raise up whom He will, when He will.  Please pray for wisdom and discernment for your music team leader as he strives to make right choices and to provide opportunities for everyone in the ministry.
3.  Please try to be on time to everything.  Punctuality is important.
4.  Cultivate a sense of expectancy.  You have a unique part so be ready and open to grow and learn.  Give God the glory for the results, which will be reflected throughout eternity.

G.  How Do I Join the Music Team

 1.  Fill out music ministry application
2.  Contact the music leader

IV.  Sound and Media Team Requirements

A.  Steve Creasy is the deacon of sound and media

 1.  All changes to the sound board and sound stuff must be approved by Steve
2.  Steve will manage the expertise of others for a more coordinated approach between sound/media/music teams
3.  When present on Sunday mornings Steve has the final say on sound levels, technical issues, etc.

B.  Sound Team

 1.  You must be a member of GCC
2.  Those who do sound on Sunday mornings need to attend the music practice during the week
3.  Sunday morning sound will be for both services with a second person taking over for the sermon as the sound person goes to Sunday School

C.  Media Team

 1.  Ideally the Sunday media person needs to arrive an hour early to run through the songs as the music team practices – this allows them to spot problems with grammar, song arrangement/version, etc.
2.  Media is not a place to hide on Sunday mornings and needs constant focus to get the job done well
3.  If you work media one service you are generally expected to attend the next service (Sunday School)

D. Live Streaming

The job of Live Streaming at Grace is a very important job.  People who are not able to come to church for a variety of reasons, as well as people who are considering attending Grace, view our services every week online.  Our weekly average is 10-15 views, so while you work in this job, you are representing our church (and Christ) to potential visitors.  People may determine whether or not to actually visit our church based on what they see (or DON’T see) on the Live Stream!


a)  Arrive AT LEAST 30 minutes before your assigned service begins.
b)  Turn on or check equipment to make sure everything is working.
c)  Prepare slides for your service.
d)  Actively monitor the equipment during the service.
e)  Turn off equipment at the end of service.

E.  Easy Worship

Running Easy Worship is a big responsibility.  This person is really a part of the worship team, and errors here are immediately known by the congregation as well as those viewing the service online.  To be successful at this job, one needs to be focused on what is going on in the service.  The music leader will usually ensure that the songs for the day are loaded into Easy Worship before service, but you are responsible to see that this is done.  This is why it is imperative that you arrive and be in the booth ready to go no later than 15 minutes before your service begins.


a)  Arrive AT LEAST 30 minutes before your assigned service begins.
b)  Turn on or check equipment to make sure everything is working.
c)  Ensure projectors are on by ensuring the green light on the end away from the lens is on.  If it is amber, get the remotes and click the power button.
d)  Ensure EW is showing on the projector screens in the auditorium and on the preview monitors beside the EW laptop and in the rack in the media room.
e)  Ensure that the announcement PowerPoint slideshow is imported and running at least 5, but preferably 15 minutes before the service begins.
f)  Take note of any misspellings or errors in the songs and correct them after the worship time.
g)  Restart the announcement slideshow between 1st service and Sunday School and before 2nd service.

2.  Hints:

a)  When to advance the slides

In order to make the worship go smoothly, don’t wait too long to advance to the next slide.  A good rule of thumb is to switch to the next slide when the congregation still has 2-3 words left to sing on the current slide.

b)  Be careful of distractions

Don’t be distracted by talking or paying attention to what others in the media room are doing.  If you lose focus, you are likely to miss a slide advance and disturb the flow of worship.  Remember, if we all do our jobs well, no one knows we are even there!  If not, EVERYONE knows who did it!  Don’t be a distraction to the service, help it flow well!

c)  Be alert if singing

If you feel the urge to sing, please do so very quietly and to yourself.  It is easy to be caught up in what you are singing and forget what you are doing, as well as being a distraction to others in the room doing other jobs.  While we shouldn’t be completely disengaged from the worship our main job is correct operation of EW.  If we are blessed by the song but the rest of the congregation gets lost because the slide is wrong, the body is not edified.  Remember, you are there to serve the body FIRST!

F.  CD Recording

We record CDs as a way to have a master hard copy of each sermon or Sunday School lesson.  These master copies are what get uploaded to the internet for others to listen to on our website.  If these are not done properly, the sermon is gone forever!  It is very important to record accurately, starting and stopping at the appropriate time.  Remember, the CD sleeves have a plastic window in them.  All CD label information should be clearly seen through the window, or it is useless.  Don’t write on the CD’s near the edge.


a)  Arrive AT LEAST 15 minutes before your assigned service begins.
b)  Turn on or check equipment to make sure everything is working.
c)  Label the master CD with the sermon title, scripture reference, speaker name, date, and the word MASTER on it.
d)  FIRST SERVICE ONLY – Label CDs to be copied the same as the master without the word MASTER on it, (usually 9 for a normal service) and insert them into the duplicator.
e)  Duplicate the sermons and take the copies to the box just outside the media room window, moving last week’s sermon to the “last week” box, and put current service into the “this week” box.
f)  Keep CDs, sleeves, and pens put away in the cabinet after use.
g)  Throw away any paper and empty the trash can at the end of second service.
h)  Take master CD from EACH SERVICE to the Annex and place them on the church secretary’s desk.