In the summer of this year (2019) we held for the first time a Christian music camp in the Republic of Moldova, which was named “ASAF Camp,” after the famous Levite Asaph, whom King David entrusted to lead with his sons all the worship at the Temple of God in Jerusalem. At the camp, we studied David’s life, especially examining the role of musical worship in everything this man did and was. Together with the participants we studied the books of 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles from the Bible, and in the evenings I preached a message of instruction about the role of worship. Because there were many things I didn’t manage to say in those messages, I decided to do it through a few articles, of which this is the first. In it I will discuss the need for spiritual and professional growth of the Christian musician. Obviously, the article is aimed at Christian musicians, but last but not least for church pastors. Other Christians will also benefit from reading it, for they will find here principles that apply to their ministry, regardless of the spiritual gift they received when they were born again.
The Christian musician must be concerned with both his spiritual and professional growth. In order to bring a pleasing service to God, both are equally important. And if his professional training will be shown on the outside and seen by people, then his spiritual growth will determine his motivation, which is seen entirely by God.
The motivation for the professional growth of the Christian musician must be of a spiritual nature. Precisely because he wants to please God and because he wants to glorify God, that is why he will do his best to learn to sing well with his voice or play an instrument. The authors of Psalm 137 were the musicians at the temple in Jerusalem, probably sons of Asaph, who had become slaves in Babylon. There, on the banks of the Babylonian rivers, they sat down and wept as they remembered Zion and the service they performed in Jerusalem at the house of the Lord. Because they had lost their jobs and been taken from that place of worship, these people could no longer see their purpose and hung their harps in the willows of that land. Their oppressors appreciated their professional training, their artistry, and asked them for songs, saying, “Sing us some of the songs of Zion!” No, their conquerors were not interested in the spiritual content of these songs. They knew the fame of these musicians in Jerusalem and wanted to listen to music of the highest quality. They cared little for the motivation of the temple musicians and treated them as those who sing for money at weddings, celebrations or concerts organized by politicians who manipulate the masses and distort the historical truth.
The pain of slavery and the loss of their homeland hindered these musicians, for they said, “How can we sing the Lord’s songs in a foreign land?” However, they decided to sing. Their spiritual motivation and admiration for God’s character led them to sing and say: “If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalm 137:5-6 NASB). Not their musical professionalism, but the spiritual maturity of these musicians made them rejoice in God in a foreign land and glorify Him from the land of their bondage.
If you want to manifest yourself only as a musician, you will only be interested in your professional growth. You will make great efforts to master the music and you will disregard the deep study of the Bible and the daily living of those truths studied.
If you want to bring true worship to God, then you will want to grow both spiritually and professionally. You will be very concerned about the motivation and state of your heart before God.
A man’s plans show his priorities, because where his plans are, there is his treasure and where the treasure is, there is also the heart, that is, the thoughts. Plan for your spiritual growth and your professional growth. Your spiritual growth can only take place if you study the Holy Scriptures daily, go systematically and well-prepared to a Bible study group, if you are present at the divine services of the church, in the hour of prayer, and take part in all the spiritual work that the pastor asks of all members of the church. A good opportunity you have now is the spiritual growth seminar within the “Bunăvestirea” Church, which I will lead on September 6, 7 and 8, 2019 at the “Prietenia” camp in Cosnita. There we will study Paul’s Epistle 1 to the Thessalonians.
Put all these works in your plans and in your calendar as you put the plans for your professional growth, which involve lessons for your instrument, exercises, rehearsals, songwriting, etc. A unique opportunity will be to participate in the second edition of the ASAF camp, which will take place between July 27 and August 1, 2020. Book these data and contact [email protected] or phone + (373) 69966779 for more details. At the ASAF camp you will have the opportunity to grow intensively spiritually and professionally. Don’t forget to tell your friends to come to this camp.
Translated by Nicoleta Vicliuc