A Spiritual Ministry of Music Part I: Developing a Biblical Philosophy of Church Music -- By: Donald P. Hustad

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 117:466 (Apr 1960)
Article: A Spiritual Ministry of Music Part I: Developing a Biblical Philosophy of Church Music
Author: Donald P. Hustad

A Spiritual Ministry of Music
Part I: Developing a Biblical Philosophy of Church Music

Donald P. Hustad

[Donald P. Hustad is Director of the Department of Sacred Music, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois.]

[Editor’s Note: This article is the first installment of the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures on the subject, “A Spiritual Ministry of Music,” given November 10–13, 1959, at the Dallas Theological Seminary, by Mr. Hustad.]

We are living in a day of increased specialization in the professional aspects of Christian service. Mission boards are asking for full-time airplane pilots, full-time builders, full-time secretaries, as well as full-time preachers and teachers. And in our churches we are appointing full-time ministers of youth, full-time ministers of visitation, full-time ministers of Christian education, and full-time ministers of music. In the Southern Baptist denomination alone, during the past twenty years this movement has mushroomed until now there are more than three thousand churches which have men employed who are specializing in the ministry of music in the church.

It would seem then that the challenge to the pastor, and the prospective pastor, becomes obvious. Sooner or later, whether in the north or the south, he is going to be administering a program which includes a ministry of music, and a minister of music in that position. It behooves him to prepare himself for this responsibility of administration. It has been proved that the seemingly magnanimous attitude of “I don’t want to be bothered about the music program—I will leave it entirely in the music director’s hands” does not lead to successful administration, nor to an ideal music situation.

The importance of considering church music is also apparent when we realize that in the organized services of the church, particularly the services of worship and evangelism, from one-third to one-half of the time is occupied with music. Are we pastors willing to give this much of the valuable time spent in God’s house to a ministry which we do not understand, and for which we have no working philosophy?

Many future ministers will find that in their first

appointment or call, in a church that is comparatively small, they may themselves be expected to provide the ministry of music by leading the singing, or even by directing and organizing the choir. It is significant to notice that our theological schools—whether Bible college or seminary, at least in our nonliturgical communions—offer almost no preparation for this kind of activity or responsibility. No courses are offered in either the philosophy of church music, or...

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