Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 9 September 2015
Page 12

Instant Gratification

George Jensen

George Jensen“I want it, and I want it NOW!” That line well conveys a mindset that seems to permeate our society. Many insist upon fast drive-through food service, uncongested commuter lanes, speedy car lube service, no-wait photo developing, express espresso, and the list goes on. This routine is being imprinted at an early age. Often children will flail about in protest until their whims are granted by parents who find it easier to just give in than to deal with children in a calm yet firm manner.

The desire for instant gratification fuels the massive credit card industry. Buy now and pay later! However, by the time the principle and interest are paid off, the item’s “charm” has long since worn off. Amazingly, the cycle is repeated when the eye is caught by yet another glimmering display and the hook is set by the low monthly payment figure. How many of us remember stories from our parents or grandparents telling how they patiently saved before they bought a certain item? It may sound “old-fashioned,” but it still makes dollars and cents (as well as sense) in the long run to save and purchase once something actually can be afforded.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). The word “contentment” has an air of serenity. Paul had learned by experience the secret that we, too, so desperately need. He said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Having “food and covering we shall be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:8).

Some years ago, I came across this simple sentence. “If your out-go exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.” Oh, what blessings it would bring if individuals, families, companies and countries heeded that advice.

Isn’t it time for you and me to take a good look at our personal history and habits? Honestly determine to what degree you have become entrenched in the instant gratification lifestyle. Try to visualize how peaceful you would feel if you stepped off the treadmill of debt. A heavy dose of patience can yield a wondrous crop of blessings.

Effective Evangelistic Singing

Paul Clements

Paul ClementsThe music God calls for in New Testament worship is singing. In singing, we worship God and teach and admonish one another (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Singing also has a vital role in effective evangelism. Singing can have a very potent effect on the hearts of men. The effect on emotions is a real part of evangelism. Effective evangelistic singing requires true zeal.

Singing can have a powerful impact on an assembly, particularly on a person who has never heard good a cappella singing. Effective evangelistic singing can provoke one to obey the Gospel if he or she is subject to the invitation and has been taught. It can have a positive and powerful influence on one’s decision to obey the Gospel. The reason for singing a song of encouragement or an invitation song at the conclusion of a sermon is to motivate the hearer to respond. The worship should not have a lull at this point, but rather it should lead immediately from the sermon into the song and continue to provoke the thoughts of the listeners and motivate them to action.

Consider the effect music has played on the nations of the world in days gone by. Men have said in essence, “I can change the course of history if I can select the music a nation hears.” If that is true, it would be reasonable to conclude that when people hear the right kind of singing in an assembly of Christians that it will have a similar effect on those alien sinners who are subject to the Gospel invitation. It will cause them to be moved to obey the Gospel and to want to be a part of that glorious occasion of worship that they were privileged to hear. So, if the church would be evangelistic, and we must be to be obedient to the Lord, then our singing in worship must necessarily be effective and evangelistic. It must portray the evangelistic nature of the church. We must keep in mind that Christianity is a singing religion, and that this is the point in worship in which all the hearts are laid open and obvious. It’s the time in our worship where each one participates on an equal basis. It is also significant in that it comes at the key points in our worship. Singing therefore plays an important part in our worship.

Essentials to Effective Evangelistic Singing

It is difficult to say for sure what is essential to effective evangelistic singing. One thing needful for effective evangelistic singing is a good song leader. There are many faithful brethren in the church who capably lead to the best of their abilities, and yet who are in need of additional training. This is not meant to be unkind. We are thankful for those who serve. Some who have training are not necessarily good leaders. Training is not the only thing needful to make a good song leader.

There are certain characteristics of a good song leader that are evident among those who conduct the worship in song in an admirable fashion. One characteristic is that song leaders usually have good voices. They are able to sing well. They do not sound like a “country twanger,” nor do they sound like they are trying to imitate an opera singer! Another characteristic of a good song leader is that he knows what he is doing. He knows music. He is a capable conductor. He uses his hand to keep time with the music, and his hand is coordinated with his voice. He doesn’t try to out-sing the rest of the congregation. He is not a performer. A good leader is one who takes charge, demands of the congregation that it ¬†follow his lead rather than just starting the song and taking the tempo that the church sets or that the loudest singers in the first few rows set for him. That’s not leadership, that’s “followship.” A good song leader will set a tempo that is suitable to all. This way, all can sing without distraction because the tempo is neither too fast nor too slow. A good song leader pitches a song right and lets the congregation know the pitch before starting. He will select suitable songs that he and the church know.

Much attention has been given to the practical aspects of leading singing. However, if our hearts are not right with God, our singing is merely a ritual or a pleasant vocal exercise.

Another thing necessary to effective evangelistic singing is the training of the congregation. It is essential, if you are to have good singing, that the congregation be trained. This is so that the singers may “give of their best to the Master.” It is significant that the churches who have the best singing are the ones who have had singing schools or singing emphasis classes of one sort or another on a regular basis and who give constant attention and emphasis to the importance of singing in worship. We give attention to teaching so that it is in strict accord with Scripture. Yet, equally important is our emphasis on singing and other avenues of worship.

Another key essential to effective evangelistic singing is enthusiasm. Without the excitement of Christians who are joyous in their relationship to God, singing will not be effective and evangelistic. It will fail to motivate the hearts of those we are trying to influence to obey the Gospel. Also to be effective in our singing, we need to use good songs, songs that are appropriate to the occasion. We need to keep things in mind like the scripturalness of the text in a song and the musical quality. Songs need to have music that is good, but subservient to the text rather than overshadowing it. In selecting songs, a leader needs to choose those songs that the congregation knows and that he will be able to lead. If possible, it is good to coordinate the songs with the sermon and provide continuity of thought for the worship participant. Songs sometimes will function well as lead-ins to other aspects of worship, but that is not a primary function. We sing to worship God and teach each other.

[Editor’s Note: Our worship is important as Christians direct it toward God, and it is important as well as especially our worshipful singing affects the Christian singers and all others who are present and hear it. In all aspects of our worship, we should do it for the correct reason and with the best of our abilities. This is no less true respecting our singing in worship. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

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