The Compelling Calling of the Church Musician

Published by Concordia University, Nebraska 6 months ago on Tue, Aug 22, 2023 2:51 PM

"I have no use for cranks who despise music because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the devil and makes people joyful; they forget wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. After theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor." — Martin Luther 

 

To be a church musician is to partner in the Gospel, combining the gift of music and the Truth of God's Word in ways that point people to "...the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" and that invites them to "taste and see that the Lord is good."  

I recently witnessed a young man and prospective music student visit our campus and meet with two gifted music professors at Concordia University, Nebraska, Drs. Kurt von Kampen and Joseph Herl.  

The professors provided a tour of the stunning new Borland Center for Music and Theatre. They spoke about the superb education and quality of musicianship, the vibrant music community and culture, and the commitment to helping students on their journey as Christians and as musicians. The faculty also took great care to ask questions, learn about the goals and interests of this young man, and invite the opportunity to ask questions. Even with all of this, the most compelling part of the visit was a description of the church musician's calling that I will never forget.  

I do not recall the exact words, but as I reflect on what I heard described to this young man, I've begun to take what I remember and put it into my own words. As such, it went something like this.  

Do you like working with children? I ask this because teaching songs to children is often an integral part of being a church musician. It is through simple songs and hymns that children first learn and memorize essential truths of the Christian faith. They discover more of the church's songs and hymns as they grow up, even putting them to memory. They hide these hymns in their hearts and minds. As they age and their memories fade, the music often remains, offering comfort and encouragement, pointing them once more to "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Even when people are on their deathbeds, God's Word in a hymn still finds its way into their minds and lips, sometimes even amid their last breath before God calls them to their eternal home.  

This musical and lifelong catechesis is a compelling vision for a simple but profound life's calling! What an honor to spend one's life enjoying the gift of music combined with God's Word, using these precious gifts to support the church's life and the faith journey of God's people. God indeed blesses us through those who heed such a call.  

Learn more about Concordia's music programs at cune.edu/music.