-written by Nick Ivey
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
I remember the first time I ever stepped on stage to lead a room full of my peers. It was one of the most nerve-racking experiences I have ever had. It wasn’t just the thought of having to stand in front of a bunch of people and sing, but rather the weight which comes along with this responsibility. It is a heavy responsibility to direct and guide as we do the very thing we were created to do: give praise to our Creator.
As a worshiper, singer, musician, and lover of music, I am convinced music stirs something inside of us like nothing else. It brings with it deep emotion and connection. We as leaders and facilitators of worship through music have a responsibility to not be “tuggers of heartstrings,” but rather extend an invitation to come along as we collectively praise our Father.
Part of this responsibility is to make sure the songs we are leading are consistent with scripture. It is, after all, the truth of the gospel which brings freedom. In light of this, I want to give some insight into how we vet and select songs our leaders use at SoHills.
It is nearly impossible to find a church, movement, or doctrinal “camp” who share complete theological cohesiveness. I had a mentor one time put it this way:
There are heart issues and there are rib issues. Heart issues are things essential for the body to be in one accord, while rib issues can often be open for discussion and differing opinion. You can live without a rib; you can’t live without a heart.
Things such as God’s sovereignty, Scripture being infallible and divinely inspired, Christ’s divinity… these things are pillars of the Christian faith in which there is no room for compromise. These are heart issues and the things we as leaders strive to uphold and protect in our song selection.
Rather than omitting all music created by another church who doesn’t share all of our doctrinal beliefs, we don’t want to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and recognize some of these songs are extremely powerful, communicating exactly what we are desiring to express to the Father. In the same token, utilizing songs from a particular church does not mean we condone, practice, or share their entire belief system. Rather than dealing in broad strokes, the songs we sing are individually vetted for their doctrinal and theological cohesiveness as a means to protect this body.
I urge you to test everything against the word of God. Scripture is our defining road map for all things concerning the Father and how He works in and among us. He will never operate or move in a way contradictory to His word. The essence and epitome of our faith is Christ crucified. Where trouble begins to lurk in is when the essence becomes anything but the truth of Christ crucified. Remember to love always, pray fervently, test all things, remain steadfast, and cling to the goodness and hope which comes in knowing Jesus. He is our one and only hope!
Nick is on staff at SoHills, leading the adult bands. He is married to Ronda and they have 3 kids.