I’m from the ole school.
I came up in a time when we were taught to discern the music we were listening to. I was on the other side of the world a few days ago, reading comments about the music industry in the Church and how entertainment has taken over in many services.
Frankly, I told God I wasn’t going to say anything, didn’t want to. You see, you’re dealing with some very nasty spirits that will rend you terribly if you confront them or expose them.
Someone there on Facebook just said that not speaking up on certain issues made you just as guilty as those performing them.
I can be real. If some of you were doing your job instead of going with the flow, God might not need to urge this old backslidden, reprobate of a preacher and musician to address what is absolutely obvious to anyone truly spiritual…..
When I first got on that avenue of Facebook, I got blasted because I said there was a counterfeit in the Music Department of our Spirit-filled Churches.
You can’t fake the moving of the Holy Ghost. There is no counterfeit for that.
It doesn’t matter how many concerts you put on, what kind of light shows you use, how you dress your choir, what your latest electronic keyboard is, how much you’ve got them jukin’ and a jumpin’ and what who’s who is belting it out…. God is not in it and you silent bench warmers know it.
I thought the idea of “praise singers” was a good one and I used it when we were first introduced to this.
But I’m here to tell you, it was for the enhancement of the service, for helping to set the tone for seeking the direction the Spirit wanted to go in for that moment and time, NOT using the same few over and over again and NOT letting others have a turn and setting the perfect stage for arrogance.
Somebody called some of these, the “stars of Pentecost.” Who ever heard of such a thing?
It grieves me to the depths of my spirit, that this has transpired in our services. I saw them in Camp Meeting and in special Conferences, belting it out, shrilling with beautiful voices but with no meekness, no humility anywhere about them.
I said before that, it’s not about who I am, or what you think about me, it’s whether I speak the truth and what kind of spirit do I manifest to others.
There was a wantonness about these people and there still is. Watching them perform disturbed me.
There was an “off” sound to their music, their voices, something like sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.
If I catch it, I catch it, but our very leadership promoted these people, who’s who and who you know, on the platform.
The leadership allowed this spirit to actually kill and slay those who had natural, God-given talent, those who sought to give God all the glory when they stood before His people to sing or play an instrument.
Many of these stars were some of the first to leave our Churches and go off and join up with groups who were absolutely the opposite of what we had believed and taught. Many shallow spirits…. and you could read them like a book.
There’s a new term to my ears, it’s called “high praise.” Excuse me. I hope this doesn’t mean, crank it up so everyone thinks there’s been a mighty outpouring of the Spirit in the service.
I don’t want to hurt anyone about this. I was hurt enough in my years in doing Church music, that not one ounce of me wishes to do what was done to me.
I mean that some were of the most jealous and envious cold hearts who ever graced a platform.
There’s a word I learned some time ago and it’s called “emoting.” It means, over doing, over singing, over using the voice and it says, “look at me, look at me.”
Gospel music is a big money making industry today. Just try breaking into it, see how far you get today without money or someone to back you.
I’m going to make a comment that will likely ouch some folks. It brings tears to my eyes.
I’m afraid, some of our dearest and most anointed elder men and women in music, those who taught us real worship and how to move in the Spirit, may have failed us, promoting their children, wanting so much for their offspring to be successful in the ministry and music and giving them everything their little spoiled hearts could desire, allowing them to be teachers, when they were not gifted teachers.
By promoting their children’s voices, the elders gradually took a back seat and our fellowships have lost an entire generation of truly anointed voices, soon to be lost for good.
Music education in the Church
I honestly wished I had been afforded the advantages of studying music as so many of our young people have, getting a real salary and benefits for being ministers of music.
No one remembers too much how most of my generation and those before us, did it for free; directed the choir; played the instruments; led the singing without one dime of compensation; dedicated to the nth degree and doing it for God and the Church, totally using our talent for Him.
We loved it! It was our calling and we were the best at what we did.
Knowing how to follow the leading of the Spirit in every service, following and playing behind anyone singing, anywhere.
We wouldn’t have dared thought of trying to be a star, being puffed up with our own egos and haughtiness. Humble people. Can I get a witness?
I cringe when I see choir directors who put their best voices on the front row and give them all microphones so that the choir sounds good. That dear one, is very destructive.
Too many times the rest of the choir is just there for looks and there is often no unity or cohesion in the group. Many feel slighted, or less than….
Or choir leaders who use God’s Church singers as backup’s for their own self-centered soloism.
Scattering your best voices throughout your choir, so that others might hear the note and become stronger, your best voices actually teaching those standing around them and strengthening the weaker knees, is a spiritual experience in its self!
I dearly love trained choirs, but singing in the Holy Ghost trumps everything and the Spirit can do more with a group in moments, than all the years I might teach my theory or perfectionism.
I wouldn’t trade the kind of music I do today for anything else in this world. I might borrow a word from a dear lady singer who has graced us so many years now. She said, “You might out sing or out play me, but you cannot out worship me!”
I tell you that I remember times when I had only one good alto in the choir and she had a scratchy throat and I have heard the Holy Ghost singing alto, leading the others in a powerful section.
The Holy Ghost is everything, everything we could ever need or hope for, the most wonderful essence in this universe, and to ignore Him and put on your own show and not allow Him to do what He wishes in the song service, choir or solos, is the height of pure ignorance — much less offending the very Power and Presence we so desperately need in this hour, the only thing that can change lives and work miracles.
I’ve made a policy, a commitment here of late. I get down beside the piano bench every time before I start to play and sing and ask God to anoint this vessel of clay and use me in His service.
You see, I can’t do it without Him and I don’t even want to try. There are still too many wounds yet that need to be healed, too much damage done by car wrecks and drugs and alcohol and years of giving up and thinking it’s over.
There came a time when I literally could not play or sing, my brain and my hands would not connect. I’ll never forget that day. The first time in all my life when I sat down to an instrument and there was nothing, it just wouldn’t work anymore.
The gift is too precious today to abuse it or take it for granted. It’s only through His strength today that I can do it at all.
Stop the Music! Shut it all down until we get it right. Don’t move until the Spirit tells you to.
This sensual singing in God’s house must come to a dead halt. One day it will be our own children’s time to reach for the Harp and they won’t know how to use it.
Oh, they’re good, but they’re not that good. We are in for a mighty battle and the horn must have a certain sound, a clear note that all can recognize.
The tares in God’s music house will soon fade away. Music is part of our lives, much of our way of worship.
Forgive me, but we need to hum again, and we need to moan as those in travail did long ago.
Let the Holy Ghost sing a song the enemy does not know. We need to sing more in tongues, the way we once did and let the world do the entertaining.
We need to sing a new song, the scripture says we do…. but with the same “old” spirit.
Let God convict us until we hear this message. If He’s not the leader, we need to sit down.
First published: June 29, 2011
~ Robert Blackburn