Learning how music fits into the Great Commission
Jon Stemkoski speaks on why music should be an integral part of the mission field during a Wednesday afternoon seminar. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES
The room was filled with music. Or rather — it was filled with musicians. The spirit that pervaded the room was definitely one of music as Jon Stemkoski spoke on why music should be an integral part of the mission field. The commandments of Christ are ones we are expected to keep, he reminded us, and “Go and make disciples” is one that people often forget. When he asked who in the room was involved with various sorts of music — singing, percussion, brass, strings, piano and the like — by a show of hands, it turned out that well over half of the room had raised their hands at least once. After this test, we were reminded of something that musicians, being musicians, tend to lose sight of: It is a beautiful thing, a precious thing, to have a gift of music in any area. It has the potential to give God amazing glory. Proverbs 18:16 was quoted: “A person’s gift will make room for them and stand them before governors and kings.”
There are many options for someone who is a music major, including teaching, performing and going for a ministry of music option. The best option is to submit your gift to the Lord and ask him to creatively tell you what he wants you to do. It may be something that hasn’t even been pursued yet. Biblically (in the Old Testament) the musicians — the brass players — were always in front leading the battle. Why? The speaker answered his question with this: Because musicians aren’t very smart, willing to take the front position. Because they’re not very valuable, they’ll take the bullets first.
When you put people whose only weapon is to say “The Lord is good” in front, and the enemy is defeated because of that … It is a perfect tool for God’s work. Music is the tip of the iceberg, as far as worship goes. It has so little to do with the overall effect. Someone who rates only 5 out of 10, talent-wise, could be able to worship God better than someone who can play like Beethoven and has no heart for it.
After this reminder, we moved on to the subject of how to use our gifts. Our greatest weapon is simply this: we are young. To be young is to be fearless, and that’s the greatest thing about being young. Don’t feel trapped by responsibilities that bind you down – be set free by your optimism about the world. No matter what has you bound, don’t let that optimism, that “the world is my oyster!” mentality, be taken away. “Leave your nets and leave your boats, and come and follow me. Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Be strong, be courageous. Go out into the missions field, even if you feel you lack the resources to do so, because if you think God is calling you then answer. The concluding statement of the talk was simply this: When you bring people into God’s presence through music, he knows the hearts and minds of people, and knows exactly what to do even when you don’t.