In a recent article, we discussed “The Overlooked Danger to Traditional Church Music.” This overlooked danger is a lack of quality pianists and organists. Many, many, many churches would see (or hear) their music ministry transformed if they had a faithful, dedicated, talented piano player. And, with the many quality electronic keyboards available today, a piano player can now use one for the organ part (this is what we have been doing for years).
Instead of merely acknowledging the danger, we should ask ourselves: “What can we DO about it?” Allow me to give some suggestions:
- Emphasize it in your church. Make it a big deal. You get what you emphasize. Every year, we have a piano recital for those in our piano school. We make it a big deal. The little kids see it and they become interested. YOU may think that a piano recital is boring, but when a little kid sees someone a little older playing the piano, he begins to think that maybe he can do that, too.
- Emphasize it with your own children, including your boys. All four of my children are in piano lessons – including my son. It helped greatly that one of the older teenage boys played the piano, thus showing that piano playing isn’t something that is “just for girls.” The fact is that there is no evidence that King David could play basketball, but he could play a harp – and he was no sissy.
- Emphasize it at junior/youth camps and youth conferences. At such meetings, we emphasize a call to preach, a call to the mission field, or even a call to full-time service in some capacity – why not emphasize a call to the music ministry? Wouldn’t it be something if young people saw the development and use of musical talents as a lifelong ministry to the Lord?
- Emphasize it in children’s ministries. Have a junior or intermediate level kid play the offertory or a hymn at the beginning of the service. My oldest daughter began by playing in children’s church and now plays in the main service. My second oldest daughter then took her place in the children’s church. It is good practice and the kids get to see other kids playing the piano. When I was a kid, my parents made me take piano lessons, but I gave it up after about a year. I was not in church, I never saw anyone else playing one, and I simply lost interest. Let your kids see that THEY might one day get to play in those situations.
- Emphasize musical instruments that are most useful in the Lord’s work. Personally, I emphasize accompaniment instruments such as the piano and guitar (played properly, not like a rock star or country music wannabee). Someone who can play the piano will be an asset in any church, anywhere, that still believes in godly music – as well as at camps, nursing home ministries, etc. A guitar is a great instrument that can be used in church or carried to a preaching station in the jungles of a mission field. Though I am certainly not against other instruments such as brass or wind instruments, or violins, the fact is that most churches are not big enough to have a real orchestra, and such instruments are simply not as useful as a piano or guitar in actual ministry.
- Invest in a young musician. Find someone who would take lessons if they could afford it, and pay for their lessons. It is an investment in a child, an investment in the future traditional, godly music, and an investment in churches where they may one day meet a musical need.
- Teach someone how to play the piano. If you know how and can teach, teach your own children. Have classes for others in your church. Charge a modest fee so that people can afford it. Make it a ministry. Duplicate yourself.
- Surround your children with God-honoring music. You can’t expect them to love spiritual music if they are listening to the world’s music all week long. Put away “Guitar Hero” and the Xbox. If they want to play with their fingers, let them play on a piano!
I know many who bemoan the state of music in our churches – but bemoaning is all they seem to do about it (and some people just seem to be professional bemoaners). A lack of quality musicians is a serious danger to our immediate future, and unless each pastor and church takes it seriously enough to start DOING something about it, this danger will become a reality.
Thank you for reading. God bless.