What Music Connects you to God?

Musical preferences are complicated and personal things. One person loves rock music, another classical, a third folk and a fourth hip-hop. And all of them might be sitting in the same pew!

Given these differences in musical preference, how should we use music in worship? Should we just standardize on one style of music and expect everyone to take part, or incorporate different styles into worship to connect with as many people as possible?

Speaking as an avid lover of music, I think that when we join a community, we need to learn to worship in the way that community worships. We need to uphold the parts of the body of Christ that are responsible for worshiping God through music, even when the style of music isn’t to our personal taste.

What about you? How do you handle the tension between your personal weekday preferences in music and what you sing on Sunday? Is it even an issue for you?

More importantly, what is it about music that connects you with God? Is it a certain style of music? Is it the words? Something else entirely? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

15 Responses to “What Music Connects you to God?”

  • Jason says:

    Music is a great gift from God. Personally, I believe that all music in an of itself is amoral, meaning neither good nor bad. What matters is the message in the music. I’m a rock and roll fan, but when I became born again, I threw out almost all of my rock cd’s. I listen mostly to worship music now, still in the rock style. I like many other kinds of music, but rock has been what’s in my cd player mostly. I’ve bought a few new rock cd’s…Red, Pillar, Flyleaf, Tenth Ave North, etc. Great music, positive message. If you call yourself a Christian you should follow Christ. I don’t think you can keep all your Kiss, Nirvana, or Nickleback cd’s and say Jesus has changed your heart to desire Him. At the same time though, I’ve heard older folks say rock is the devil’s music, so they stay quiet at youth worship night and say it’s too loud, yet later at the football game they’re screaming their heads off. You shout over what you’re passionate about, so shout for Jesus, whatever the music form. Clap, sing and head bang to David Crowder, or sing and shout to old hymns…but be passionate, not for the music, but for Jesus!

  • Claire says:

    I enjoy many genres of music, both Christian and non-Christian. I am naturally drawn to songs or artists by their gripping melodies; I am heavily influenced by the music and/or musicianship. Lyrics are quite powerful as well; I find myself many times seeing Christ through even the most secular lyrics. As Christ is alive in me, I see things differently than the world. Many times secular music connects me directly to God. Artists simply write about their observations in life and about what they know. Aren’t they writing about the world that our God created? They just don’t know it. I am encouraged by these reflections. I am reminded of where God has brought me from. I am able to learn how a non-believer views their surroundings. As the earlier commenter stated, music is amoral. I agree! I was raised to keep a tight reign on what was worthy to be labeled Christian and I look back now to see how I missed out. There is value in appreciating music as music; I consider it and other arts part of God’s creativity that when we enjoy, He’s pleased. Restraint has its place, but there is liberty in seeing God in more than things only carrying the Christian banner.

    • Chris says:

      @Claire Good thoughts, thank you for sharing!

      “Lyrics are quite powerful as well; I find myself many times seeing Christ through even the most secular lyrics.”

      Any examples you’d like to share?

  • rebecca says:

    music is good, depends on what you listen to. im still looking up rock, pop ect ect bands the are christan any segestions?

    • Chris says:

      @rebecca It probably depends on what you like? Anything in particular that you’ve run across that you really enjoy?

  • Cheryl says:

    Music is something that touches your soul and makes you enjoy some aspect of your connectedness to creation. We all have deep within us a spot that can be reached by the beauty of nature, music, art, poetry, ect. I agree with Jason and Claire, there are many types of music that one can enjoy that touches the spiritual within us. I would say though that if the music has a negative pattern of vile or reprobate speech that it’s not something we should embrace. Scriptures tell us to dwell on that which is lovely, pure and righteous so we can’t be dwelling on words that are violent or caustic. A mind can’t hold two dominate thoughts at the same time and what we listen to does matter to our subconscious mind as well as our conscious mind.

  • Brittanie says:

    I think we should incorporate many styles of christian music in worship . I listen to both traditional gospel and contemporary gospel music. The lyrics is what moves me. The words are defintely what moves me closer to God.

  • Music is something that we received from God so we must use it well and also we must use it in order to praise and please Him. And I think, whatever genre is used, it doesn’t matter as long as it is for God!

  • Alicia says:

    I agree with you about different tastes and styles of music. Our Fellowship has a variety of people and vast age differences. Everyone uses different styles of music to worship our Lord Jesus. We changed our order of service to include a hymn a week , some older and new contemporary songs to meet the needs of the people. We are at church for fellowship and to worship together in His name. So, why not make our time together one of meaningful praise that touches all hearts.HE smiles at our compassion for eachother and visits often when we bow and worship HIM.

  • Benjamin says:

    I believe classical is the only way to truly worship Christ…..
    ok – I’m just kidding. Anyways, I was wondering what your thoughts were on this.
    I’m a worship leader at our church and yet when I’m not leading normally on a Sunday morning – I don’t sing. I just never want to. I have gotten so numb to worship songs that I rarely find myself caught up in the beauty of a song anymore. Partly probably because so many songs use the same cliches! Partly because it feels stupid staring at a screen at lyrics I have memorized (I don’t know where else to look). Partly because there is probably an issue I need to work through. Any idea on where I can start at?

    PS – David Crowder is one example of someone who really knows how to write those original lyrics! Seriously, he’s good.

    • Chris says:

      @Benjamin You had me going for a second…

      Assuming you’re the only worship leader at the church, I have to ask the question: why are you picking songs that use so many cliches? If you’re unable to worship I’d have to think that other people in the congregation are having problems as well.

      If you’re not the only worship leader, I wonder if you should talk with the other worship leaders to see if they’re experiencing the same thing.

    • Claire says:

      You should TOTALLY check out Sovereign Grace music. It’s a church denomination based on the east coast. They have a huge music program and these people are legit. Here’s their main website – http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/. I don’t even go to a Sovereign Grace church but I’m in love with their music. Their songwriters use really deep, original lyrics. They’re very meaty. They’re like modern hymns in a way. Many songs are taken right out of scripture! Their songs are theological.

      I’m also the worship leader at my church. I’m not quite in the same place as you but I can understand that sometimes the same songs over and over can get monotonous. Change it up and keep pointing your congregants closer to God!

  • musician says:

    The church must learn to come up with a working definition of Christian music.
    Here are some criteria I think of:
    1) must be well-written musically
    2) must stand the test of time
    3) music must be beautiful (I know that is personal taste but God’s creation is vast and includes many types of beauty)
    4) words, if there are words, must be focused on God. Benjamin, I feel your pain. How many praise choruses are filled with “I” and “me”?

    Don’t forget to let those who know how to play classical to play in church. Classical music, which has stood the test of time, includes 1500 years of incredible worship/sacred music!

    Read “Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down” by Marva Dawn, or “All God’s Children in Blue Suede Shoes” (author’s name escapes me) Eric Routley has many excellent books on worship, as does Patrick Kavanaugh.

  • J says:

    I think you all have some very good points and ideas. The one thing I want 2 stress is that we need to be less worried about If it pleases us, and more worried about the music edifying God. Our lives as believers are supposed to beboth directed by , and pleasing to God. Therfore any music that is not plesing 2 God we should not allow it to be poured into our spirits. This world is obsessed with labels and categories but their truthfully are only 2 Good(God) and Evil(Not God).
    Think someone made this point alredy, the genre doesnt matter.
    To the gentleman with the issue of being numb, you said it yourself you know what the true problem is and its not the style of music or the repetition. My hope is that you search for that place where you first fell in love with God and when you get back there stay grounded in his word, and keep your mind foucused on him so that you may not go astary again.
    Music is a very powerful tool that is being use to influence everyone the question is how does you music influence you, your friends, and your children? Are you letting them embrace ideas that are against the very word you vowed to follow? No matter the style, is it a sweet, sweet, sound in his ears? If not it probably should burn yours, but thats another topic entirely. – Follow God and nothin else not you denomination, pastor, priest, or whatever, the instruction was “pick up this cross and follow me” not the ways of men. – were is the holy nation of brother and sisters in Christ?

  • Lois says:

    Ephesians 5:19-21 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; ΒΆ Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

    Music in worship is from OUR hearts UNTO our God; thanking him for all that we have and are. It doesn’t need to come from other sources. I, too, receive much encouragement from outside sources in “music” but leave it to my own heart and soul to praise God during worship to Him.