On Music and Leadership

Music is used for a huge variety of reasons.  Most of the time it is used to “move” people to feel a certain way.  Many have used it negatively – to manipulate; but many have used it positively – to motivate and stir up hope and faith.

Music is very powerful, even as a memory tool.  In Deuteronomy 31 and 32, Moses is commanded by God to write a song that Joshua was to use to help lead the people in righteousness.  They were to remember who God is and what He had done for them by singing this song over and over.  They were to remember the warnings issued to the wicked, lest they follow in their ways.  I believe music is most powerful when it is played skillfully in conjunction with truth – the kind of truth that God has revealed in His Word.

Therefore, we should not be trying to “move” people to feel a certain way, but to think in a certain way – to live by faith, despite what they see.  The music becomes the background or setting for this truth.  Like a great painting, it draws your attention in a particular way to a particular spot.  The intent here is to lead people to draw their attention to a planned “focal point” – the message (often in the lyrics). Ultimately, our Maker is the primary focus.

It should be noted that though not all want to lead, all do lead in one way or another.  My courses are intended to shape natural leadership skills I believe everyone has (cf Gen 1:26-28).  To balance this, I believe that though God created us to “have dominion” and “rule and subdue” the earth, He has also created us to serve with humility.  In fact, this is primary, for it has everything to do with how we worship.  We serve by leading.  This helps protect us from our efforts to draw attention to ourselves.

To be clear, I am not training you to be a rock star in these courses.  I will be training and equipping you to serve.

That said, from the very beginning I will be calling your instrument a “tool”.  Knowing the Lord uses us as His own tools, we must now see that what man has made is also a tool.  If you are learning guitar, it is only a tool.  If you are learning drums, it is only a tool.  We use hammers and wrenches to build houses and fences, right?  We must also see our musical instruments as supplementary tools for building God’s people.