About our Music Ministry
Music at Tri-City is not a spectator sport. Corporate worship is emphasized at services with congregational singing enhanced by the choir and orchestra. Musicians of all skill levels are encouraged to get involved in the music ministry, which is designed to glorify God through vibrant, distinctively Christian music.
Tri-City Baptist Church believes that the Bible is the answer to all of life’s questions, and our music ministry is proof of that fact. In fact, the philosophy of our music comes right from Scripture!
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry .
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit , out of the miry clay , and set my feet upon a rock , and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth , even praise unto our God : many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD . (Psalm 40:1-3)
- The Psalmist begins discussing the topic of music by starting with salvation. We believe that our ministry of music is best accomplished by folks who are saved, baptized, and members of the local body of believers. Though we recognize the talents and training of others, the music of TBC is entirely produced by our church family. Of course, special musicians with like doctrine and practice (such as traveling evangelists) are always welcome.
- The “horrible pit” that the Psalmist talks about can also be translated “a pit of noise.” We believe that when God saved us, He rescued us from the world (that is, human civilization as a whole; the great majority of people do not serve God, and their beliefs and practices are consequently out of line with His will) and the music of the world. We have no desire to return to the world or to bring its music into our church services.
- The “miry clay” suggests a slippery position. While other applications are certainly valid, we believe that it is a “slippery situation” to be forced to follow the trends of the secular, and even sacred, music industry. Yes, we love to do new music and freshly-composed pieces, but we feel no compunction that we must sing only the newest releases. The music we sing and play is “classic” in style. That is, it will probably be performed 50 years from now and it may have been performed 50 years ago with equal spiritual significance.
- “The Rock” is Jesus Christ and He is the theme of our song. Songs about social concern, environmental issues, etc. are not as important to us as the songs of our Savior.
- The “new song” mentioned does not mean that the song was written in the last 20 years or that it has a “modern” sound. Since the Psalmist has just finished talking about his life before his salvation, it makes sense that the “new song” is “new” in the sense that it isn’t like the songs he sang before he was saved. Our music is distinctively different. When one passes the open church doors of TBC there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are hearing “church music.” It is as ludicrous to expect that the hymns of TBC would be enjoyed by the local night club as it is to expect the music of the local night club will be enjoyed in our church.Therefore, we choose not to use any style of music that reflects the world or its philosophies. We avoid rock music (in all forms: soft, country, heavy metal, punk, techno, etc.), rhythm and blues, jazz, New Age, Broadway, etc. While some of these are valid musical expressions, we believe that in our culture they are incompatible with the message of Christ.
- Since this passage (and many others) indicates that our music is to be “unto the Lord”, we strive to perform our music in a way that would please Him. Just as we avoid secular and pop styles of music, we also avoid the world’s method of performing. From the amplification system to the vocal styles employed by our soloists, we strive to take the attention off of the performer and point the hearer’s thoughts to Christ. Some of our church practices are not based on direct commands from scripture but rather our desire to be “separate from the world” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
- Isn’t it interesting that the Psalmist uses the word “see” in this verse instead of “hear”? What does the world “see” that leads them to God? Our music at TBC is always “as unto the Lord.” Folks often comment on the musical quality and the spiritual quality of our music. That is a result of following the principles stated earlier in the passage. Evangelism is not the goal of the music ministry of TBC. Evangelism happens as a result of our “song to the Lord.” It is remarkable to the world when they see people dedicated to making beautiful music for a purpose other than aggrandizing themselves. That dedication, that testimony, and the changed life as the result of Christ is what they “see”. In this way the Lord receives all the praise for the precious souls that come to Him.
Again we find our answer in scripture.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another  in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs , singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord  (Colossians 3:16)
Our first purpose is to reinforce spiritual truth. We do this by:
- Singing scripture.We love to sing songs that are directly from or based on scripture. In fact every hymn in our hymnal is validated by a scripture reference under the title.
- Teaching one another.Some of our music is designed to teach spiritual truth. It can warn of sin, remind of promises, etc.
- Admonishing one another.Songs like “Praise him! Praise Him!”, “Take Time to Be Holy” and “Rejoice in the Lord” help us to encourage one another to keep on doing the right thing.
How do we accomplish these goals? By using:
- Psalms.These are songs taken right from scripture.
- Hymns.These are songs of human composure that speak of God and His attributes.
- Spiritual songs.These are songs of testimony of what God has done in our lives.
The goal then is to include all these types of songs and keep them in balance.
At TBC we do not insist that all the music performed be the best. We do encourage all musicians to offer his or her best. The difference is that we realize that folks who are not professional musicians often don’t have access to funds or practice time to make a “professional quality” performance. However, one can be prepared and have received coaching so that he or she presents the music in a way that does not distract from the message of the gospel and that accurately reflects our God.
There are many ways that we seek to adhere to the philosophy and to affect the purpose of our music ministry but the most salient ones are congregational singing , the choir , the orchestra , specials and offertories , and seasonal programs .
- We begin most services at TBC with congregational singing. What a blessing it is to hear hundreds of people expressing their own praise to God through corporate singing! Everyone in the congregation is encouraged to participate in making a “joyful noise unto the Lord.” We usually have a “chorus of the month”. That is a song that is unfamiliar to the congregation. We sing it every service for a month to learn it and to allow it to become part of our congregational singing vocabulary. Our hymnal is Majestic Hymns, published by Majesty Music.
- The church choir is made up of members of TBC and meets for one hour each week to practice. They sing at almost every service and special events. Reading music is not a requirement, but usually members demonstrate an aptitude for singing. More important than musical ability, though, is a dedication to the cause of Christ. Faithfulness to services and rehearsals is fundamental and rehearsals are often fast-paced and just plain hard work! What a blessing to be able to offer our “sacrifice of praise” to the Lord in this way!
- The church orchestra is made up of members of TBC who play any of the standard band or orchestral instruments. The orchestra plays with the congregational singing and for seasonal events as well as playing for special musical numbers and offertories.
- Most services at TBC include instrumental music. Proficient instrumentalists may be asked to play a solo or in ensembles. Also, “specials” are always appreciated by our church family. Vocal numbers may be large ensembles, small ensembles or even solos and duets.
- TBC celebrates seasonal events (Christmas, Easter, etc.) often with more music than usual. Drama is sometimes included in these special programs as well.
It is always a fear that one will develop an opinion about the music ministry at TBC after only one service. This may not be accurate because of the variety of music that we do. All within the boundaries of music acceptable to carry the gospel there is music that can be slow, fast, exciting, peaceful, loud, soft, meditative, exhilarating, bold, sweet, old, new, etc. We try to maintain a healthy musical diet while putting emphasis on the “spiritual food” that is good for us and avoiding those “spiritual foods” that would harm the body of Christ.
A final thought about our Music Ministry
Tri-City Baptist Ministries is made up of several entities: Tri-City Baptist Church, International Baptist College, International Baptist Missions, Time for Tots Pre-School, Tri-City Christian Academy, and The Chandler School of Fine Arts.
Because of the unique ministry of our church, one of those entities will occasionally host various programs and concerts that feature “secular” music, or even are mainly “secular” in nature. We believe and practice that “all truth is God’s truth.” And even in these events we strive to uphold Biblical principles in all music that is represented by this ministry.
The choir ministers in song every Sunday morning and evening as well as during holidays and special event programs. Choir practice is on Sundays at 4:45 p.m. It is limited in size, so contact the music pastor if you are interested in joining the choir.
The orchestra accompanies the congregational singing and frequently presents special numbers, as well as participating in programs for holidays and other special events. Orchestra practice is on Sunday’s at 5:00 p.m. If you are interested in joining the orchestra, contact the director for information about openings.
Joyful Noise! Children’s Music Program
Children receive musical training and service opportunities while having fun in Joyful Noise! The program is for ages 4 through 6th grade and meets on Wednesday nights from 6:15-7:30 p.m. in A-256 (TCA Chapel).