by Tom Jenkins | Minister of Music
June 25, 2013

Missional Music

One might think that June and July are of a slower tempo around the church music office. The Celebration Choir will be on ‘vacation’ for the month of July and although we have Sunday worship each and every week – the pace does feel a bit more relaxed. However, in the world of music ministry, the fall is just ‘hours’ away, and Christmas feels like tomorrow! So yes, we’re working on filling in the rough outlines of our Fall season of music through Christmas and making plans for Easter too.

As we work, we are ever desirous of God’s vision, leading and influence. It’s easy to fill in a rote order of worship – three songs and an offertory – but not so easy to create a God-inspired true worship experience for the wide diversity of our congregation. Our emphasis for our Summer Study and into the fall season is centered around missions; living life in a missional way and recognizing our position as Ambassadors for Christ. Living life this way means that missions is incorporated into our daily lives and not just something we give an offering toward or a mission trip we take every few years.

The Disney tune “Whistle While You Work” comes to mind. You know the story: seven assorted dwarves are busily and happily in the mining business, but don’t keep a very clean house. Enter the princess who encourages them with a song.

Whistle While You Work

Just whistle while you work

And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place

So hum a merry tune

It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace

Just like that song, music serves to joyfully encourage us to do the work of God as He purposes in each of us. Our music can be very missional: educational, inspirational, testimonial, and evangelical. It can set the pace for our work, and teach us at the same time.

One of my favorite “missional songs” is To Worship, Work, and Witness by Henry Lyle Lambdin. It was written in 1969 and was one of nine texts that were selected out of 800 for inclusion in a collection of new hymns dedicated to the “mission of the church.” There is great missional theology in each verse so take a moment and read it through as a devotion. It’s an encouragement as we seek God’s will and plans for the music ministry to “Be thine thy Master’s purpose to seek and save the lost.”

To Worship, Work, and Witness

To worship, work and witness, the Good News spread abroad,
We magnify Thy mission, Church of the living God;
The Father’s new creation thro’ Jesus Christ His Son,
The Spirit has empowered to do as Christ has done.


Be thine thy Master’s purpose to seek and save the lost,
To ransom those in bondage, to dare nor count the cost;
To love and lift the lowly, to heed the pris’ners groan,
To take up other’s burdens and bear them as thine own.


Be thou to Christ His body, hold fast to Christ thy Head;
Be thou Christ’s open letter by all men to be read;
Be thou Christ’s holy temple, Himself the cornerstone;
Be thou Christ’s living altar whereon His love is shown.


Head of the Church, inspire us to have in us Thy mind,
To humbly wait Thy guidance, Thy joy in serving find.
Bestow the Spirit’s grace-gifts to serve the common good,
While helping each the other to love Thy brotherhood.