Andy Park: Teaching and Evangelism Through Worship Music

Wednesday 20th August 2003

Many people have the idea that contemporary worship music is of value only to the Church, a coded language to the living God. In fact, as renowned worship songwriter ANDY PARK explains here, worship songs can have a profound ministry in teaching the saved and evangelising the unsaved.

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The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and the Son:
Not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
We believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
Perfect God and perfect man: Of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting;
Equal to his Father, as touching his Godhead:
Less than the Father, touching his manhood
Who, although he be God and man, yet he is not two but one Christ.

From Arius:

We praise him as without beginning because of him who has a beginning.
And adore him as everlasting, because of him who in time has come to be.
He that is without beginning made the Son a beginning of things originated;
And advanced him as the Son to himself by adoption.
He has nothing proper to God in proper subsistence.
For he is not equal, no, nor one in essence with him.
Wise is God, for he is the teacher of wisdom.

Arius's hymn begins beautifully. But as the hymn unfolds, he strips Jesus of his divinity, thereby attacking the very foundation of Christianity. This song was sung by thousands of Christians in Arius's day. Let this be a lesson to us - if we are worship leaders, we are theologians, so we'd better be singing the real truth.

In the 16th century Reformation, we see another example of the power of song. In a document by a Jesuit, we read, "Luther has murdered more souls with his songs than with his writings and sermons." For an opponent of Reformation theology, the songs were the most devastating weapon, not Luther's sermons!

Through worship music, our souls are fed with a rich impartation of truth. The worship leaders' challenge is to serve good food to the church every week, giving them a nutritious diet of truth, encouragement and exhortation.

Every week, you envision people. You feed their minds. You tell them who God is, how God sees them and how God wants them to live. You challenge their minds; you confront them with truth. (Maybe that's one reason they often look pensive and thoughtful rather than always effusive and expressive.) Remember, the worship you are hoping to foster goes far beyond the immediate reactions of people in a worship service. You are giving them food for thought, food for life.


"Ours is the culture of the artist, not the culture of the orator," said Eddie Gibbs, professor of church growth at Fuller Seminary, to a group of Vineyard songwriters in February 2001. He told us that our impact as worship leaders and songwriters is far greater than that of preachers or authors. He urged us to "respond to the challenge of biblical illiteracy," which is greatly on the increase today.

We face our own modern day Arian controversy, since we live in a culture where the majority does not accept Jesus as God. Our job is not only to explain the nature of God to Christians but to present the gospel to the unconvinced.

Tony Campolo, who teaches at Eastern College in Pennsylvania, observes that in past years, the voluntary chapel services were largely neglected by the students. However, in recent years this has changed dramatically:

"Students are leading worship in forms that have come out of the charismatic movement. The worship time lasts for more than 30 minutes and it is drawing students together as never before. We had to move the chapel services out of the auditorium and into the gymnasium just to contain the student body. Students are being converted by worship. This is surprising to me because I always thought the sermons were the decisive factor in bringing people into a relationship with Christ. But, I am finding that worship can do that even more effectively and deeply. Young people are looking for a relationship with God more than a theology about God. Worship which is truly in the Spirit is giving that to them."

Once again we see that worship touches the whole being - not just the mind, but the emotions and the spirit. The pathway to the mind is often through sensory, artistic experiences.

I have many friends who regularly lead worship music outside the four walls of the church. One friend in British Columbia leads worship every Friday night in the summertime after a churchsponsored barbeque for the needy in the town's central park. Other friends do worship songs at secular coffee houses (many of the songs don't emphasize the name of Jesus but are genuine songs about God). I've led worship on a beach boardwalk, in parks, in shopping centers and in apartment courtyards. Here is one story of the evangelistic power that works through worship in the marketplace.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Mikhaila in US @ 05:49 on Jan 2 2013

We should distinguish the type of music we play and write and call worship songs. If we are to worship the Trinitarian God then we should write and play songs that are worshipful to Him. We have plenty of examples from the Bible and even what instruments we are to play. Much of contemporary worship music rarely if ever even mentions Jesus. I can easily substitute any name for this sappy stuff. Many do not even talk of scripture just, 'Jesus is my boyfriend' type of songs. Now if you want to play this OUTSIDE of church to the unchurched as well as to the believers then fine I suppose. However, you really aren't teaching God's truth but emotionalism. It's no wonder a lot of men don't like these 'worship' songs. If I were to buy you a gift it should be something you like not something I like. Shouldn't it hold true for our Lord to be given something He likes. I'm sure He is much kinder than I to look at the songwriter's heart and the singer's motive but let's get real. Many contemporary Christian songs have no real depth and are disposable. Scripture is so very rich. We should do it justice. I myself am taking this challenge.

Posted by helen yawson in Accra ghana @ 12:45 on Oct 6 2008

thanks for your excellent insight on worship and evangelism

Posted by ISRAEL ASARE in ACCRA-GHANA @ 09:12 on Jun 16 2008

dear sir,
i'm very interested in the programes on your website.
any way,i'm in one of the theological schools in ghana, but my problem is i would like to know the idea of God and human being either in worshipsong,praises,sermons and practices in churches.
thank you.

Posted by dahil in philippines @ 06:54 on Nov 19 2007

worshi[p is one of our purpose in life!

Posted by Dianne Miller in Trinidad, West Indies @ 21:02 on Jan 24 2007

I love worship, I just love my God and if there is anything i can give to Him is worship.

I just love to worship Him. I never listen to any other
music but worship songs, no other songs really appeal to me ever again. I feel so good singing for the Lord and Him only.

Reply by Ursula in New Zealand @ 02:49 on Jun 13 2008

Hi there, i am the same,love christian music, our love for the Lord for who He is and Him for us, draws us to worship Him, i don't listen to secular music as well, it does nothing but worshipping God is awesome.

[report abuse]

Posted by karen h. findley in wardensville, @ 23:37 on Jun 24 2006

I was at a church meeting and a lady sang "will you ride?" god gave me a vision for a painting and it has blessed many. Keep in the spirit!

blessings.karen findley

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