This is a recent article I wrote for the SGNScoops. I feel strongly about this subject and wanted to promote it on my website as well as the QueenLiving facebook site. Thank you for reading and I hope you will share it as well. Also, check out the SGNScoops on-line magazine. Great articles and good info about Southern Gospel and Christian Country music.
An open letter to pastors…
Why should you have an outside guest come into your church? Or better yet; why should you let a singer or singing group come into your church?
Over the past 29 years of traveling with my husband and doing what we do we have seen a decline in churches opening their doors for singers to come in. Contemporary music is pretty much obsolete being swallowed up by praise and worship music. I am not knocking Praise & Worship. I actually love it and listen to it a lot, but I also love to hear a song that tells me a story that I can identify with.
Recently we received an email from a man asking how to purchase Chuck’s music. He told us that he and his wife had just recently gotten back into the church and were working on their marriage. His pastor had recommended that he begin listening to a Christian radio station in their area when he heard one of Chuck’s songs about working things out in marriage. The man listened to the words, it touched his heart because of the season he was in with his family. This wasn’t a one-time event for us, many times after a concert a man or woman will come up to Chuck and begin to tell the same story of separation, reconciliation and working things out. The story in the song resonated with them and gave them hope to keep trying and that things would work out.
But back to my open letter….
Why should you have singing ministries in your church? For one; the invitation. It has been discovered that many churches find that their new members came while visiting during a gospel concert after seeing it advertised. It sparked within them a remanence of their mother, grandmother or grandfather’s love for that old-time music and something propelled them to check it out and while there they discovered that church wasn’t too big and dynamic with all the lights and smoke machines or that Christians weren’t actually judgmental and angry as society lead them to believe and the peace they felt there drew them back the next Sunday.
Secondly; people open up when they hear music. It unlocks something within us. Neuroscience is studying the effects music has on our brain. One study even showed that patients about to undergo surgery were split into two groups. One group was told to listen to music prior to surgery while the other group was given anti-anxiety drugs before surgery. It was found that the patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than the patients who took the anti-anxiety drugs. Scientists are still studying how the brain processes music but are finding that music affects many different parts of the brain. When humans are listening to music not only the part of your brain that is auditory reacts, but other parts as well. Which seems to reason that when a person hears a message through a song they are more accepting of that message than if it is given to them by words alone. So bringing in a singing ministry is quiet evangelical as well.
In these days of rediscovering what church means in the postmodern society, I would challenge pastors to not overlook the benefits of bringing in outside singers or singing groups to your church. There is a benefit to having them come. The singers themselves may not even realize those benefits, but as a good steward of what God has blessed you with, I would encourage you to open your doors to those who have chosen the profession of travel while ministering through the gift of song that God has given them. You, your church and your community may find healing from the music that is brought to you.