10 Recommendations to Gospel Artists from a Loyal Fan and Concerned Pastor

I am a loyal Gospel Music fan. For years, I have joyfully collected Gospel CD recordings. More recently, I download music from iTunes. And I rarely go anywhere without my iPod. Keys, wallets, cell phone, and iPod – don’t leave home without them!

I love Gospel Music. Praise and worship. Traditional. Contemporary. Old school. New school. You name it. I like it, except for quartet music (Oops). Sorry.

Really, I just love music. But I especially love Gospel Music. However, most of the Gospel Music on my iPod, I would absolutely freak out to hear performed in an actual worship service on Sunday morning. The music may sell a lot of records. But it is not music that is appropriate for public, corporate, Christian worship services.

Gospel artists, know that you have my full support. I love your work. Many of your are very gifted and talented. And I pray that God will use your ministries to his glory. However, as a pastor, I am concerned about how your work shapes Sunday mornings in many local congregations.

Concerning music in worship, Paul exhorts, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV).

Note three things about this verse. A variety of music is acceptable in Christian worship. Music used in worship ought to teach and warn the saints in all wisdom. And the goal of music in worship is to cause the word of Christ to dwell in the hearts and minds of the saints more fully.

Even though you are performing music as a part of the music industry; as a Christian, you are not exempt from these instructions. The Lord will hold you accountable for the music you perform in his name, just as he will hold me accountable for the sermons I preach in his name. So sing, play, and write to the glory of God!

Here are ten recommendations you should consider as you strive for spiritual excellence in your music ministry:

1. Write and sing songs that exalt the Godhead, rather than songs to and about the congregation or audience.

2. In many instances, simple is better. But be careful not to dumb down worship by only writing and performing simplistic songs. 7-11 songs – where you keep saying the same seven words eleven times – are not edifying. Write a text. Make a point. Give us something grand about Christ and the gospel to listen to, sing, and think about.

3. Please stop doing so much talking before, during, and after the songs. Just sing. And let the lyrics speak for themselves.

4. Take the time to have a pastor or Bible teacher review your lyrics, to help you think through the theological, doctrinal, and textual implications of your lyrics. (Hopefully, it can be your pastor. You do have a pastor, don’t you?) Word of Faith teachers do not count.

5. Be sensitive to the fact that your recordings influence many local churches, music departments, and worship services – for better or for worse.

6. You may cause us to miss your point about how good God is if you are simultaneous trying to show us how good you can sing.

7. Do not give “shout-outs” during the songs to your record company, producers, fellow musicians, band members, home town, or… you get the point. What’s that about?

8. You dishonor the entire worship service and set a bad example when a pastor invites you to sing and you do your “set” and then leave.

9. Stop speaking in tongues on your recordings. Many of your listeners do not speak in tongues. And many who do believe that tongues should have an interpreter. Carefully study 1 Corinthians 12-14. And think about what you are communicating in a recording of worship music.

10. Stop addressing cities in your music. “Praise him, Detroit.” “Sing it with me, Houston.” You are not leading cities in worship. You are leading the congregation you are leading. Hopefully.

Here is one more recommendation for free:

11. Please remember that it is not about you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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14 thoughts on “10 Recommendations to Gospel Artists from a Loyal Fan and Concerned Pastor

  1. That is exactly right! This is why the worship leader’s name has to be “pastor”; he doesn’t have to do the work but he needs to pre approve the work!

  2. Pastor did you and Pastor George have a talk recently because he too gave a top 10 in Bible Study last night and you have to call him and ask him for a copy. Too much Letterman lol.

    Auntie BB

  3. The South has a rich heritage in our music. It was used to convey many different types of messages during slavery as people escaped to the North and later as life situations occurred. People today seems to still be using music to send messages of all type.
    Thanks for reminding us to be careful of our musical content.
    FOCUS: Jesus- the Cross- Living Saviour.

  4. How do you come up with your topics? Great post, as usual. There's a saying that "An Idol Mind is the Devil's Workshop", based on your numerous postings, I guess you have Angels in the outfield working overtime, continuously keeping the devil at bay.

    God Bless

  5. I agree and disagree. With black music in particular, worship and contemporary genre's are too close to the secular in both content and style. In fact some artist have taken their music, and have made both a gospel track and a love song at the same time. I believe the praises of God are mainly for the people of God, even though there is room for worship being a witness opportunity.

    However, where I disagree is that the Psalms were sung, and most of them are personal reflections of which many are not theologically consistent with the nature of God, but it does reflect how we can percieve God, and His actions in our relationship with HIm. a perfect example is Psalm 44:23 Wake up, Lord! Why are You sleeping? Get up! Don't reject us forever!

    Those are pretty strong words, but are God breathed. Also 7-11's can be annoying, but Revelation 4:8 declare a Holy 7-11.

    Either way good post, and God bless you, as the lines of theology are being blurred at the expense of people's ignorance. As a result it shows up in our music, in our prayers, in our sermons, sunday School classes, declarations, etc.

  6. Pastor,

    Funny, I'm from Oklahoma and I didn't start to like quartet music until I moved to California. Pastor, did you get my email on Facebook?

  7. Oh My Goodness!
    This was too funny and all too true. Especially the pre-song chat and the shout outs!
    Thanks for the post.
    Continue to let Him use you!

  8. Pastor Charles,

    what an awsome message praise God for your recommendations to gospel artists it speaks volumns, Pastor Charles, your testimony and message to the Raines graduating class Sunday was beautiful, kids need to know that they are never to young to do a work for the Lord, and they need to have a personal relationship with God.

    God Be Praised.

  9. Oops.

    I meant “Quartet Music.” My bad.

    Update: Since I moved to the South, that Quartet Music is starting to grow on me.