by Ken Blue

Perhaps the best example of “the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing,” is in the lack of coordination between the Pastor’s sermon, and the music director’s selection of songs. Seldom do these two connect the music with the message. I have watched song leaders pick songs for the service five minutes before a service begins.

Pastor, if you perform a wedding, the party selects wedding songs and music to match the occasion. If you serve at a funeral, the songs match the event. At a birthday party, they sing “Happy Birthday.” So, why is it that most song services in church have no connection to the sermon? The reason, no doubt, is ignorance of its importance, or a lack of planning by the pastor. Many pastors have no idea what their sermon subject will be a week from Sunday. That may be the real cause of the problem.

Another reason for the problem, is the pastor is too lazy to plan his preaching schedule, and topics. Therefore, he doesn’t have any plan for the music ministry. This takes time, thinking and planning. Many pastors don’t have any plans beyond next Monday morning. This is inexcusable.

Everything that happens in the service should reinforce and support the purpose of the sermon. This includes all the services. That means that the Pastor must plan all sermons or subjects weeks before they are preached. He must then meet with the music director and see that the songs support the sermon.

How is it at your church? Do the songs have any real purpose or are they just filler? Are the songs selected because they are familiar, and old favorites, or do they promote the theme of your message? Think about it, and see how next Sunday’s selection matches the goal of your message.

One way to correct this problem is for the pastor to fill out the order of service, and see that all involved in the music ministry receive it. Include in it the song selection. If you are doing a theme for a month, ensure that everyone, who needs to know is informed of what you expect. The more people you have supporting your objective, the more likely you are to achieve it, and the more you communicate, the more they will be able to help you. You are trying to get a point across with your sermon, I hope. Why not plan so the music will assist in that goal? Are you lazy?

Original article can be found at shttp://www.kenblueministries.com/2013/07/29/is-the-music-in-step-with-your-message/

18 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Stewart,

    While I do not intend to speak for Mr Johnson, or Mr. Herber, I would like to speak for myself. I appreciate your response, in the fact that you obviously desired to admonish.

    However, I have to ask if you were evenhanded in your admonition? Did you read the same article I read? Did you read Mr. Blue’s responses?

    I did not attack the person of Mr. Blue in my response, but did question the assertions he made. In both the article and in his response to me, he listed only two reasons for the Pastor not planning his music to correspond to his message. (Ignorance or laziness.)

    Again, I simply questioned if this was the best way to approach what you claim was an educational resource.

    There is nothing in Scripture to directly support the method promoted. This does not make it wrong,as I said in my response. It did, and does sound like a good way if a Pastor chooses to use it. However, there may be, and are many good, solid Pastors who do not lead their church using this method who are still “leading” their church in a solid Biblical manner. We may certainly apply the verses you referenced to the practice mentioned in the article. There may be many methods that can be used which would also align with those principles. However, the specific method is not mentioned, and therefore should not be placed on the level of doctrine, but preference. Those choosing to administer their churches differently must be given the same right to their preferences. All preferences should align with Bible principles of course, and there are certainly some that do not.

    Again, I am not speaking for the others. However, are you saying that you did not see any harsh, contentious words in Bro. Blue’s responses? You say my response was not conducive to a Biblical Christian response.

    “It sounds like you are opposed to planning before you step into the pulpit. If you do plan, why? Are your sermons “Saturday night specials?” ”

    “If you don’t plan your preaching and music, and attempt to coordinate them, it may not be because you are lazy, just uninformed. Consider yourself informed.”

    The above was quoted from the author’s response to my comment. Did you not find those statements contentious? Did you find his responses to my comment as being conducive to a Biblical Christian response? If there is blame here, should it not possibly be shared with the author as well?

    I say again, I don’t disagree with the content of the idea, I was questioning the assumptions made about men who didn’t do it that way.

    I don’t consider that taking offense. In reality, my comment was not very different from yours. You saw what you perceived to be an unChristian attack on a Brother and you responded. I saw what was I percieved to be an unChristian attack on other Pastors with a different view and I responded. You may believe it is not the same.

    Contention did come…we are just in disagreement on where the pride originated. You are of the opinion that it originated with those responding. I don’t know their heart. I believe that I did not respond out of pride, but concern for the tone of the article.

    Are we not to disagree with articles here? Are all comments only to be of supporting views? If so, I misunderstood the purpose of the comment section.

    I did not answer a matter before I heard it. I heard it (or in this case “read” it) and then responded.

    I was not offended. I never claimed to be. Was Paul “offended” when he withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed? Was Jesus “offended” when he cast the money changers out of the temple? I am not likening Bro Blue to Peter or the money changers. I am simply saying that all disagreement does not spring from offense. Sometimes, disagreement springs from believing that something is wrong.

    I don’t know how this comment will be received. I will simply say once more that it was not the idea I disagreed with. I disagreed with what appeared to be a harsh opinion of those who didn’t follow a personal ministry preference, which is still all it is. If my comments were perceived by others to be contentious in nature, I offer my apologies, and meant no personal disrespect to the author.

  2. Ken Stewart
    September 12th, 2013 at 11:02 pm
    Mr. Johnson, Mr. Herber, and Mr. Foster: I concur with Jason, and after reading your responses to Pastor Blue’s posting it is evident that there are flaws in your arguments. The “tone” in which you have responded is not conducive to a Biblical Christian response and is evidence of a serious problem in your thinking. Please understand that I am not attacking you but am merely pointing out that there is a distinct “gall of bitterness” in your remarks. It would be advised that you consider the following instruction (Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and increase in learning…)
    Your remarks are very contentious which leads to some obvious Biblical conclusions. These responses are prideful in nature (Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention, but with the well advised comes wisdom.) and reveal a personal offense. This is dangerous for your Christian walk as Psalm 119:165 points out where the offense originates (Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them).
    In your haste to condemn based upon this offense you disregarded Biblical principle established in II Timothy 3:15 that demands that study should take place, preferably before answering (Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is a folly and shame unto him.). Had diligence been exercised in this matter it would have been evident that administration and planning are part of the ministry. I Timothy 3:1-5 tells us that a pastor should display management ability in his personal life as well as in the church; this is not dicatorial but Spirit driven action of governance of the grave responsibility given to him by God. Clearly this demonstrates the need to plan according to the will of God which is revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Bible. James 4:13-17, verses often misused by non-planners, does not prohibit planning but aims to instruct one in how to plan, that is by conditioning our plans to a willingness to have God revise them at any time. A pastor, the leader that God chose to place over the flock, is responsible for behaving in such a Biblical manner, thus a justification, if you will, to have the authority to plan the song service of the church. This is not the ministry of the song leader, but an extension of the role of the pastor. Therefore it is imperitive that this, the selection of songs, be entered into with as much prayer as the sermon has required. While Pastor Blue does not need me to defend him or his position as he is quite capable of doing such on his own, I must say that the article was simply an educational resource for pastors and a provoking of those that fail to take this matter soberly unto good works, edifying them and encouraging them to take an active role in leadership in the church as God has required. This is how the article should be taken. Please examine your ownselves and prayerfully ask “Search me, O God”. And in case you need Biblical verification of what I have written here, please see Titus 2:15 and Proverbs 27:5. Done in love that you would walk in newness of life…

  3. The author’s response to a very well thought out comment concerning his tone was met by an even worse display of “my way or you’re wrong!”. There is no love in this article, thus it cannot be of God! Do you really believe that you are the only pastor or preacher that God has gifted to shepherd His people? Do you truly feel that worship leaders are simply puppets to have their strings pulled by you? Some would say that the “pastor/dictator” model doesn’t work these days, but I’ll say that model NEVER worked because it is not biblical! I have pastored, youth pastored, and preached for over 20 years and I cannot tell you what a blessing it has been that virtually every time I’ve preached, the Holy Spirit has done an amazing job of leading myself and the song leader in the same, God honoring direction!
    For you to dictate the songs that are chosen seems to me to be far more of an issue of control with you than a sound, Biblically based leadership principle. Do you really think the Holy Spirit needs you to fulfill another man’s ministry as well as you own? You absolutely hit a nerve with me because I’ve made a vow to God to never again be silent while the pastor/bully role is being advocated or celebrated!
    Lastly, your “where in the Bible does it say not to do it this way” is simply lame. You have zero scriptural authority for “your way” of doing things and you know it.

    • Dear Mr. Johnson, it is refreshing to receive a response from a person who demonstrates that he knows who does, and who does not love the Lord. Also, your humility, and assurance that the Holy Spirit has led you in a God honoring direction through your ministry is an example we all need. Your comment, “I have pastored, youth pastored, and preached for over 20 years and I cannot tell you what a blessing it has been that virtually every time I’ve preached, the Holy Spirit has done an amazing job of leading myself and the song leader in the same, God honoring direction!” Is evidently to be construed that the two of you never planned, and that it was not needed. You just “winged it” and then assumed that the Holy Spirit approved it.
      I’m sure all the brethren will be able to discern your humility, love and spirit in your response. Finally, you would not know if the Holy Spirit was working in your ministry or not; if you do, enlighten us as your demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.

      • Mr. Blue,
        My response was written with the same spirit of humility which I and others perceived in your original article. My only regret is that I did not include the following (this also my answer to your demand to inspect the fruit of God’s ministry through me): Romans 14:4 NKJV

        Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

        • Mr. Johnson, you need to take a valium and get your thought straightened out. If fact, the last line in your response shows incoherence in your logic and thinking. For instance, your last sentence says, “You have zero scriptural authority for “your way” of doing things and you know it.” I ask, do you have scriptural authority for the “way” you do or don’t do things? I don’t expect a straight answer to the question.
          I too, searched in vain for love in your article. Also, your comment, “My response was written with the same spirit of humility which I and others perceived in your original article.” Is an admission of your own lack of love and humility. Perhaps you could demonstrate where it is since you are an authority on love, leadership, and how the Holy Spirit works. You should know, with your vast experience, that leaders are always accused to two things, one is being a dictator, and secondly, the absence of love. Are you a decision maker or a dictator?
          Now, the intent of my article was to help those pastors who felt the need for some advice. It was not intended for hyper-sensitive, insecure pastors such as yourself. Oh, by the way, stop flattering yourself. It is unbecoming.
          I would ask you the same question, “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Do you think you are exempt from that question?

        • Mr. Johnson, you need to take a valium and get your thought straightened out. If fact, the last line in your response shows incoherence in your logic and thinking. For instance, your last sentence says, “You have zero scriptural authority for “your way” of doing things and you know it.” I ask, do you have scriptural authority for the “way” you don’t do it? I don’t expect a straight answer to the question.
          I too, searched in vain for love in your article. Perhaps you could demonstrate where it is since you are an authority on love, leadership, and how the Holy Spirit works. You should know, with your vast experience, that leaders are always accused to two things, one is being a dictator, and secondly, the absence of love. Are you a decision maker or a dictator? Does the verse you quoted in Romans apply to you also? “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”
          Now, the intent of my article was to help those pastors who felt the need for some advice. It was not intended for hyper-sensitive, insecure pastors such as yourself. Oh, by the way, stop flattering yourself. It is unbecoming.

      • Dear pastor Blue,
        I appreciated the advice. I also try to see the benefits of planning ahead. I try to plan ahead with the leadership for at least 6 months in advance, on themes. We all try to be teaching and preaching the same thematic ideas over the entire month. It also includes, to the best of our ability to use music that amplifies or enhances the spirit of the message. Every Wed morning the music director and I have a meeting as we contemplate what hymns might best enhance the message, or what special music by be edifying to the church as a whole.
        The leadership of our church works off an Annual Theme of short Mission Statement for the year. For example, last year we had Fortaleciendo la Fe (Strengthening the Faith) as our theme for the year. We had a Theme verse from Colossians, Rooted and Grounded….That in turn allowed us to pick strategic themes for each month.
        Our music may not lend 100% to the theme of any given Sunday, but a few of the hymns are picked to enhance and reenforce the message.
        I do not believe that the Holy Spirit has ever guided any one to fly by the seat of their pants, although there have been a few times I was asked to preach without being advised before hand, and yes the Holy Spirit was kind and gracious to me in giving me clarity of thought.
        God bless you and please continue to share with us your thoughts based upon 40 years of experience in pastoring.

        Mitchell MUller
        A servant only

        • Dear Mitch,
          I am glad someone can discern that my article is only advice. One size does not fit all. However, our church services should not look like a Chines Fire Drill, put together by the Marx Brothers. You will always be wise to pray for wisdom, plan your ministries, and do the best you can. The Three Blind mice don’t get it, I’m glad you do.

    • Author : Jason (IP: 50.47.40.37 , static-50-47-40-37.sttl.wa.frontiernet.net)
      E-mail : [email protected]
      URL :
      Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/50.47.40.37
      Comment:
      Dear TJ I almost fear saying anything to you lest you pop a blood vessel. Please calm down:) I think the advice is great and we practice it at our church as well. I also have seen to many pastors blame the Holy Spirit for their lack of planning. If you feel it is wrong to tell your staff or music director what songs might go with the message you are not LEADING your church. (Last I checked the Shepherd of a flock is to oversee) Picking some songs is not “Lording over your people” I quote from your reply to Dr. Blue “Do you truly feel that worship leaders are simply puppets to have their strings pulled by you? If you are the Pastor your staff reports to you. Let me ask you this: do you tell your staff when to come to work or do they come whenever they feel like it? Or when the Spirit leads them? Do your Sunday school teachers have a job description (If they do that seems pretty dictatorial) Do you have policies for your Choir? Do you tell your ushers to wear a tie? If you fe
      el the Pastor is being a dictator because he chooses some songs to go with his message you have LOST your mind… I realize many pastors struggle with this because it hits so close to home. It is no wonder why they get on the defense, who wants to admit they have failed to have a clear planned vision for their services. I have been criticized for planning messages well in advance because I am ruling out the Holy Spirit. I believe the same Holy Spirit that “Leads” many Pastors on Saturday night or God forbid Sunday morning can lead a Pastor weeks ahead. (with messages and music) He may even tell the media guys he wants the volume at a certain level. As for Scripture to back up his point. With what I have observed in the ministry I would say #1 “I Cor 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion” Yes I am aware of the context but the principle is clear. (I have seen some services where not one thing tied together and it was clearly a lack of planning) It was “confusion.
      And it would also be good to keep in mind. Pr 29:18 “Where there is no vision the people perish” I do not believe he was saying that every pastor that does not do this is not right with God. It was a simple admonition to evaluate how we are conducting our services. I am going to go out on a limb and guess he has learned a few things in 4 decades of pastoring.

  4. I rarely comment when I disagree with an article, but on this one I am going to.

    The concept of picking songs which coincide with the message is a good one. However, this article seems to elevate it to such a place of importance that all of the sudden, Pastor who are to “lazy” to plan their sermons “weeks in advance are the problem.

    Is this edification? Where in the Bible is their one verse of Scripture to indicate that the opinion of the author must be followed?

    Where is it said how far in advance a Pastor should plan his messages? The author says that sermons should be planned “weeks” in advance. Why weeks? Why not months or years? How many weeks is weeks?

    I am not trying to be argumentative, but really, I don’t understand the purpose of this article. If the author believes songs should be matched to sermos, then why not say it is his opinion, or that it has been a blessing to him? Why go to attacking pastors who do not do it his way?

    The illustration of wedding songs and birthday songs is flawed. People choose wedding songs for weddings. People song Happy Birthday at a birthday. What should they sing in church? How about songs hymns and spiritual songs? Why must they match the sermon topic so long as they agree with the sermon subject…that is to say, the Word of God! Yes, it may be helpful, but is it lazy not to?

    When we go so far as to now be telling good men how far ahead they should plan their sermons, or be “lazy”, and how they should choose their music, perhaps we are forgetting what independance is?

    I know, the author had a right to write the article. Independentbaptist.com had the right to print it. I have the right to disagree.

    I do not necessarily disagree with the author’s opinion. It sound like it might be fine. I firmly disagree with the logic of attacking others for not doing it his way, especially when it is merely his opinion and preference.

    • Mike, thank you for your comment.
      Everyone has a right to their opinion, and since you do not understand the purpose of the article, I will attempt to explain it. The following quote from the article might be understood by you. “Everything that happens in the service should reinforce and support the purpose of the sermon. This includes all the services. That means that the Pastor must plan all sermons or subjects weeks before they are preached. He must then meet with the music director and see that the songs support the sermon.”
      I do not believe all pastors are lazy who do nor coordinate their music with the sermon. Some are simply ignorant of its importance.
      Your question, “Where in the Bible is their one verse of Scripture to indicate that the opinion of the author must be followed?” I a “straw man.” Where in the Bible does it say one should not plan his sermon topics, and books he preaches? It sounds like you are opposed to planning before you step into the pulpit. If you do plan, why? Are your sermons “Saturday night specials?”
      It sounds like I hit a nerve with you. If you don’t plan your preaching and music, and attempt to coordinate them, it may not be because you are lazy, just uninformed. Consider yourself informed.
      You said, “I do not necessarily disagree with the author’s opinion. It sound like it might be fine. I firmly disagree with the logic of attacking others for not doing it his way, especially when it is merely his opinion and preference.” Of course it’s my opinion. After pastoring for over 40 years, I have lots of opinions that might help some pastors. I have also been around long enough to know that many pastors are lazy when it comes to studying and planning.
      Finally, if a pastor chooses to plan ahead, or just “wing it” each Sunday, is his own decision. We are independent Baptist. However, that is not an excuse to not do everything possible to be the best we can in our ministry.

  5. Nice pastor-bashing article that should have been worded differently. There’s nothing wrong with planning, but the Holy Spirit should direct the preacher. This will often mean a change in the pastor’s planned message. If the music is right, and the message is right, these two will always fit perfectly together. The Holy Spirit–yield to Him!

    • The only people who feel “bashed,” are those who are too lazy to work at coordinating their music with the sermon. When the pastor plans his music and sermons, he should pray and seek the Holy Spirits guidance. The idea that yielding to the Holy Spirit means that one should not pray, and, plan, and choose songs that reinforce his sermon, is, as I said, a sign of laziness or ignorance. Many pastors wait until Saturday night, and then search through a sermon book for something to preach. Personally, I do not believe the Holy Spirit is in that process. I contend that it is being lazy. The Holy Spirit gives wisdom-seek it from Him!

      • Rev Ken Blue, Your point is the greatest on hymns that matches sermons. I would be very grateful if you can allow me to quote your work in a book on the same topic. Kindly reply through e-mail

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