Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue:
Choosing Music for Worship

This traditional wedding adage for the bride is good advice for serving the bride of Christ musically each Sunday. While everyone has their favorite music, the bride of Christ represents a diversity of age, perspective, and preference. Every service has the potential of serving everyone while inevitably frustrating someone. If done well, each service will likely accomplish both.

1) Something Old

The bride wears an heirloom from the past to represent continuity with her heritage. This is done to show that she has a past with which she wants to remain connected. Musical choices in worship should reflect the rich heritage of the church’s musical worship past. Singing songs from the past demonstrates dependence upon the doctrine and practice of previous generations of worshipers.

2) Something New

The bride wears something new to show hope for the future. This demonstrates the newness of the marriage and anticipation for what is to come. Musical choices in worship should reflect this evidence of what is happening now in the church. Singing a “new song” demonstrates the relevance of Christ and his gospel to today’s generation of worshipers and hope for the future of the gospel’s work.

3) Something Borrowed

The bride wears something borrowed typically from a happily married couple. This demonstrates the desire to honor the other couple by affirming the health of their marriage and seeking and hoping for a similar result in the new marriage. Music in worship should reflect this recognition of other groups who exemplify healthy, Christ-honoring music. Learning from others who worship well is a way the universal church can be edified by the example and practice of local churches.

4) Something Blue

The bride wears something blue because the color “blue” represents love, purity, and fidelity. The implications here for both the bride and the church should be obvious. Whatever we sing should exemplify love for Christ, purity according to His word, and fidelity of the bride to Christ alone. Whether old, new, or borrowed, the ultimate test is the “blue” test. We cannot sing old songs just because they are “old.” Nor can we sing new songs just because they are “new.” And borrowing something that does not pass the “blue” test reveals a desire to emulate the wrong models. Whatever else they are, all of our songs should be blue.

This Sunday sing something old, new, borrowed, and blue. Someone will inevitably not be satisfied because it was not all “old” or all “new,” but if it is blue everyone will be served well and the bride of Christ will be encouraged to live like the true and faithful bride of Christ.


Dr. Scott Connell serves as Pastor of Worship and Music at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. He is an adjunct professor of music and worship at Boyce College/SBTS in Louisville, Kentucky, and holds a PhD in Christian worship. He and his wife, Mary, have seven children.


"Crown Him" from Norton Hall

Norton Hall Band’s title track, Crown Him, from their newest album is out now! Check out this dynamic arrangement of Crown Him featuring the vocal of Shela Jeong.

This is the latest video from the band’s new album, Crown Him: Hymns Project Vol. III. If this is an encouragement to you, feel free to download the free lead sheet to use in your ministry.

Crown Him: Hymns Project Vol. III is available everywhere music is streamed or sold.

"I Stand Amazed" from Norton Hall

The Norton Hall band's most recent video is a fresh, acoustic driven arrangement of I Stand Amazed. This is the latest in a string of new videos from Norton Hall featuring songs off their new album. If this video is an encouragement to you, feel free to download the free lead sheet to use in your ministry.

I Stand Amazed is part of Norton Hall's newest album, Crown Him: Hymns Project Vol. III, available everywhere music is streamed or sold.

 

 

New album from Norton Hall TODAY!

The Norton Hall Band is proud to present their newest album, Crown Him: Hymns Projects Vol. III, today! You can find this album on iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere you download music. We at the IBW pray this third album of the Norton Hall Band will be an encouragement and help to you and your ministry as we labor together to lead our churches in Christ-focused, Gospel-centered, Scripture-guided worship.

 Click to view in iTunes

Click to view in iTunes

Norton Hall Band is a tangible demonstration that our goal and purpose is to train pastors who lead worship. Not just musicians and not just worship leaders, but pastors who lead worship. Everyone in Norton Hall Band has a pastor’s heart and a desire to promote Christ-centered, biblically guided worship. The purpose of this band is to lead in worship that centers around the gospel and is birthed out of the Word of God. For more information and booking of the Norton Hall Band please fill out our form below.


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Your Church Needs to Hear You Sing

I look down, and on the pages of my bulletin I see the words, 

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on him and pardon me.

I look up, and across the room I see Jeremy. He’s smiling with abandon. He’s belting out these words like he means them. And here’s the surprising thing: he’s looking right at me. It’s as if he’s willing the truths of this song into my soul by the sheer force of his contagious joy. 

Do you love the members of your church enough to minister to them through song?

A few months ago, David Mathis argued that God intends our corporate worship to nurture love among the body of Christ. I want to apply his point to congregational singing in particular. 

Why? Because if we’re not careful, the individualistic tendencies in our hearts can lead to a “me and God” approach to worship through song. We close our eyes, meditate on the words, and sing along softly with the band — all the while missing out on one of the hallmarks of congregational singing: the ministry of the family of God to one another.

You Are in the Choir

The New Testament describes singing as a corporate activity. A hallmark of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit is that they address “one another” in song (Ephesians 5:19). Why? Because singing is an avenue for Christian love. Consider Colossians 3:16, Paul’s famous teaching on singing, in its broader context:

Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:14–16)

There are countless threats to the unity of the body (Colossians 3:6–9). Paul knows that brothers and sisters may have “complaints” against each other (Colossians 3:13). What does it look like to foster a community of forgiveness and love? One important part of the answer, according to verse 16, is the singing ministry of each member. In other words, Paul has just signed up every believer for the choir.

Remember, each week we gather as wounded people to have our spiritual sores treated by the Great Physician. In his mercy, he uses our songs to apply his sweet balm. 

The Christian enduring persecution from his biological family needs to hear the dozens or hundreds in his spiritual family sing, “Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee.” The believer struggling hard against shame needs to watch you exult, “My sin, not in part, but the whole, has been nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more!” The saint overburdened by work, striving, and performance needs to listen as you affirm, “We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender.” 

Of course, we don’t only address one another as we sing. Ephesians 5:20 and the psalms of praise teach that God is the primary audience of our songs and melodies. But raising your voice to edify others is, in fact, precisely one of the ways we exalt God’s worth. By singing, we beckon our brothers and sisters to delight in his beauty. 

What Difference Does This Make?

If we see our singing as part of our personal ministry to others, it will shape how we approach music at church in practical ways. Here are four suggestions to help press the implications of Paul’s command into the corners of our worship. 

1. Pray for members of your church prior to and during the gathering.

As part of your preparation for Sunday, consider their struggles, fears, and trials. Ask God to remind them of his kindness through the songs. If a line in a hymn brings someone’s situation to mind, pray that the words would minister to him or her in that particular moment.

2. Sing with conviction.

As I mentioned earlier, my friend Jeremy buoyed my faith simply by showing that he believed the words he was singing. One way to demonstrate conviction is to sing loudly. There are few things more spiritually invigorating than being surrounded by believers exalting Jesus at full volume. 

3. Use body language.

This will vary according to your personality and culture, but even in the most subdued settings we can convey a lot by our body language during corporate singing. Smile during hymns of joy. Convey contrition during songs of confession. Perhaps most importantly, don’t always keep your eyes closed. Making occasional eye contact with others is a powerful way to show that you’re singing with them in mind.

4. Lay aside your stylistic preferences.

Since one of the main purposes of corporate singing is to build others up, music gives us a wonderful opportunity to “count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). If the words are true, excellent, and beautiful, try to engage with every song, even if it’s not your favorite genre. You might just find that the joy you see on others’ faces helps you appreciate the song for its ability to edify people who have different tastes than you. 

We sing because Christ first loved us. We love because he first loved us. May we do both as we gather with his beloved bride this week.


Matt Merker (@merkermatt) serves as a pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. He has composed several congregational hymns, including “He Will Hold Me Fast.” He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife and their daughter.


You can find the original posting of this article here. Used with permission.

Norton Hall's new song, "Tis So Sweet"

The Norton Hall band has been working to produce music and resources like this new video, Tis So Sweet. If this video is an encouragement to you, feel free to download the free lead sheet to use in your ministry.

Tis So Sweet is part of Norton Hall's newest album, Crown Him: Hymns Project Vol. III. This album will be available everywhere on August 29, 2018.