This month children's ministry man RICHARD HUBBARD explains the thinking and theology behind his song "Frontline".
My latest album, 'Strike It Rich', was released by Kingsway in April and contains original material written with the whole family in mind. The idea was to produce a genuine all-age praise and worship album which can be enjoyed by all the family, adults as well as children.
One of my personal favourites is the last track on Side 2, called "Frontline". It is generally appreciated more by an adult audience/congregation as it is a quieter, more reflective song which encourages individual Christians to step out into their gifts and ministries. It is proving to be a powerful and moving song.
The basic idea is that as Christians we are not called to be passive and apathetic. On the contrary we are called to enthusiasm and involvement Sadly, as I travel around the country -- and abroad too - I have found that in many of our churches it seems that individuals are saved but stuck! Often people have no idea what their ministry is or what their gifts are. Individuals can be seen drifting round from week to week, month-to-month and year to year with-out any clear direction. Many people seem not to have any clear sense that they have a destiny - that they have a specific calling or ministry to fulfil.
The song aims to cut right across this thinking. It states that we are all called to the Frontline, to active service rather than passive nonchalance. Whilst recognising that who we are is more important than what we do, the song challenges us (including our children) out of our complacency. Underlying the lyrics is the idea that there is a specific plan for each of our lives and that being involved will be both fulfilling and effective.
Being on the Frontline does not mean that we should all be in full-time ministry! It is not unspiritual to have a job. Being on the Frontline means we are prepared for spiritual action wherever we have been placed. It has more to do with lifestyle and availability to God than callings to full-time ministry. We can all be on the Frontline - whoever we are and wherever we are, irrespective of whether we are in "full-time" ministry or not.
In writing the song I felt it important to be honest and real. No one appreciates super-spiritual platitudes wrapped up in theoretical religious packaging.
We have to face it - it is not always easy to live on the Frontline. Sometimes it can be lonely. It is not easy to stand out from the crowd and be a lone voice when no one else around has any time for Jesus! Sometimes, it can be exciting - especially when we see people healed, set free, discovering their ministries and so on. Sometimes, however, it can be hard. When everything is going wrong, people let you down and life seems to be a slog; it is certainly not easy! Yet, in spite of all this, being on the Frontline is always the greatest place we can possibly be - as the last verse makes clear.
It is important that children as well as adults recognise the need to discover God's plan for their lives. Living on the Frontline is not really an option - it is essential if we are going for effective Christianity. As individuals we need to be making the difference in our churches, in our neighbourhoods, at work, at school and in the real world outside the four walls of our cosy churches. We will never make that difference unless we are prepared to take the risk and live on the frontline.
There is another major concept behind the song that needs to be explained. As we all know, we are in a spiritual battle. We constantly have to face the effects of Satan's grip on humanity. Even though we have the victory in Christ we have to work out that victory in practical terms. It is rather like it was with Joshua, when God told him to enter the Promised Land. God had given him the victory, but he had to fight for every inch of land! Living on the Frontline means we have to be like trained soldiers, ready for action - in fact, ready for anything! The church needs to be a military zone, a battle station. Sometimes it appears more like a casualty department of a hospital, nursing people who are hurt and injured. Whilst this is to some extent a necessary element of church life, it is also true to say that, unless we are outward-loo king and ready for action, our churches simply will not grow. Living on the Frontline as individuals and working on the Frontline as churches will ensure that the Kingdom of God makes strategic advances in our localities. As advances are made here, the spiritual temperature of the whole nation will be affected.
Because living on the Frontline does not always come easy, it means that we do need to be persistent and patient We need to be able to deal with frustration, failure, difficulties and press through. Living on the Frontline is a challenge for us all. Let's face it -we are all in the same boat. We all face pressures and uncertainties but the exciting thing is that, if we are prepared for the cost and if we are prepared to press on despite all the difficulties, we can genuinely be involved in the process of seeing God's Kingdom making strategic and radical advances in our generation.
Words and music by Richard Hubbard
Sometimes it can be the loneliest place to be out on the frontline out
on the frontline
Sometimes it can be the loneliest place to be for all the world to see
Sometimes it can be the most exciting to be out on the frontline out
on the frontline
Sometimes it can be the most exciting place to be and I'm glad that it's the place where God wants me
Sometimes it can be the hardest place to be out on the frontline out
on the frontline
Sometimes it can be the hardest place to be and I know that it's the only place for me
Sometimes it can be the greatest place to be out on the frontline out
on the frontline
Sometimes it can be the greatest place to be and I'm amazed the way that God is using me
© 1991 Thankyou MusicThe opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.