Effective Evangelistic Music

The power of music in worship.

BY L. S. Melendy

In the exodus from Egypt we find the song of Moses recorded. It is a song of triumph. Miriam also took a timbrel in her hand and sang unto the Lord. A beautiful song of thanksgiving composed by the sweet singer of Israel is left on record for us in 1 Chronicles 16:7-36. This song was the result of David's heartfelt thanks to God for the safe return of the ark. Later, in the days of Ezra and Ne­hemiah, God called for a reform, and we find that singing was important enough to be men­tioned several times in the two books.

In the days of the early Protestant Reformers music played a very important part. We are told that the enemies of Luther feared his songs more than his sermons.

God is again calling for a reform. The world is trampling underfoot the Sabbath of the Lord. A breach has been made in the law of God. He is calling for consecrated men and women to build up the old waste places, that they may be called the repairers of the breach, the restorers of paths to dwell in.

Just as surely as music had a part in the earlier reform movements, so surely is music destined to have a part in the last great work of reform. Taking this as axiomatic, I shall confine myself to the particular kind of music that I have found most effective in our evan­gelistic services. In the first place, there must be personal consecration and a desire to win souls before the efforts of the singer can be fruitful. There must, in other words, be a personal connection with God before one can sing truthfully, "He walks with me, and He talks with me."

The next point of importance must be a lib­eral number of songs that can be used to pre­pare the hearts of the hearers for the sermon, and also to emphasize the thought carried throughout the discourse. It is not best to run before the speaker with a song that bears on his subject. For instance, if the subject is on Daniel 2, I would not use the song, "Look for the Waymarks," at the opening, although it can be used at the close with good effect. Neither would I use a song describing the coming of Christ to precede a sermon on the manner of Christ's coming. At the close of such a discourse it is well to use a song that urges a preparation for His coming, rather than one giving in detail the fact that He is coming again. The minister has just done this, and it is the singer's privilege to appeal to the hearer to be ready for that coating.

It requires many songs to cover the different subjects used in a long evangelistic effort.

Many times a singer wishes he could use a certain song, but it is not written in a key suitable to his voice. In view of this, I would urge the pianist to learn to transpose these hymns into different keys to suit the voice of the singer. Many good songs are lost to our evangelistic efforts because of the inability of the pianist to transpose. By this I do not mean a natural transposition as from three sharps to four flats,—but more radically than this, possibly from one sharp to three sharps. With perseverance and practice, this can be accom­plished. In all our singing we are ever to keep in mind the one purpose of winning souls. I have found short chorus singing—just a few words with an easy time—very effectual in public efforts. You will find these little songs buried away in hearts years after you have left the place and have all but forgotten that you ever sang them. After we have held an effort in a town, it is not unusual to hear the boys and girls in the streets singing, "I have the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, Down in my heart to stay."

And while such a song as "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" is most impressive in its place, yet we find the simple verses and tunes most often retained in the heart. Let us ever remember, whether we sing or play, to "do all to the glory of God."

Hutchinson, Minn


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BY L. S. Melendy

July 1935

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