Should all churches use musical instruments in their worship services? My short answer to this question is YES! Even if you are more of a traditional church, you can still use instruments and still be considered “traditional.” A church can still be true to their worship language/identity and make good use of the talent that is in their church. Here are four reasons why I believe that every church should use instruments in their worship music (excluding Church of Christ folks, but that’s a whole other blog post):
It equips people for ministry. Ephesians 4:12 tells us that God raises up leaders to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” Most all churches will agree with this verse when we apply it to raising up VBS/Children’s ministry workers, Sunday School/Bible Study teachers, deacons, ushers, greeters, etc. But when you try to apply this verse to those with musical talent, for some reason, many traditionalists will want to sweep it under the rug until the conversation leaves the room. To be opposed to the use of instruments in worship is fail to equip people for ministry. Similarly, this leads me to the next point:
It is good stewardship of your people and their gifts. God has brought musicians into your church. These are musicians that many churches would love to have. And the truth is, if you don’t use them, you might lose them. Don’t be surprised if they leave one church to go to another where they can be allowed to use their gifts to serve. Why would you not allow them to use their talents? I used to play with a musician that got wrapped up in the bar/party scene in his early adult life. Though he took full responsibility for his actions, he told me that he started playing in those places because he loved music so much, and his church wouldn’t allow him to play in their worship gatherings. How hypocritical of a church to starve a musician of opportunity to use their talents for the Lord, while judging that person for taking his talents to places they don’t approve of, when he probably wouldn’t have gone there had the church fostered this talent that he had! Plain and simple, to be opposed to the use of instruments in worship is to be poor stewards of the people that God brings to your church.
We are given many examples throughout Scripture. Genesis 4:21 makes the first reference to musical instruments. In Exodus 15, Moses’ sister, Miriam uses a tambourine to teach the women a song. 1st Chronicles 25 records King David organizing the musicians to be used in the worship of God. When the Israelites rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah 12:27 records that they rejoiced and worshiped by using cymbals, harps, and lyres. To be opposed to the use of instruments in worship is to ignore the examples set before us.
The Scriptures tell us to. Psalm 33:3 instructs worshipers to “play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” And Psalm 150 goes into great detail about the use of trumpets, lutes, harps, tambourines, strings, pipes, and cymbals. The psalmist didn’t suggest these things. He gave a command: “Praise Him with...” To be opposed to the use of instruments in worship is to ignore the commands of Scripture.