"Solo" or "special music"

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Puritan Board Junior
Due to the corporate nature of worship, how does one justify a "solo" or "Special music" in worship? For the churches that don't have a person sing a "solo" during worship this question address the pianist/organist who is playing music when NO ONE ELSE is singing...


Puritan Board Freshman
Some thoughts:

Joe Morecraft wrote a book called "How God Wants Us to Worship Him" that I think does a good job addressing corporate worship.

As a church, I think it's important to look for the Holy Spirit's leading on "Special Music." If the church is not comfortable with it, then don't. If they are comfortable, then Christian Liberty allows some room for that - in context. What's the context? In my opinion, the special music (solo, group, instrumental, vocal, what have you...) must 1.) edify the body, 2.) direct the congregation to God, not to the musician and 3.) not be EVERY time the congregation gathers (in my opinion). I say not every time because I think it becomes a platform for pride, and becomes difficult to make sense in a congregational setting.

Something else to consider about the value of "special music," and particularly an instrumental: a pause for reflection should be a welcome thing in worship. A time span to reflect on what has been confessed, heard through the preaching of God's Word and how it applies to one's life can be defined by a gentle instrumental.

When the minister of music is doing a "Chuck Berry" across the chancel with a Gibson Les Paul slung low ... it's probably gone too far :lol:

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
This is taken straight from a sister church of the one I am a member of and I think if you can have a solo or special event within these statements, then you're "golden":
Drawing upon the rich traditions of the historic Christian Church, we attest that Reformed worship is characterized in the following ways:


The most important thing that we could say about our worship is that it is God-centered. Reformed worship aims to place the radiant and glorious character of the Triune God and the greatness of his redemptive work on behalf of sinners front and center.


Reformed worship is a marvelous dialogue between God and his people. The course of Reformed worship unfolds in the form of a conversation which alternates between God speaking to us through the proclamation of the law and the gospel and our responding to God in praise and thanksgiving, penitence (confession of sin) and prayer.

Formal and Reverent:

The Holy One of Israel, the Sovereign God is majestic and glorious, and we are to rejoice with trembling in his presence. We believe that such a view of God is best encouraged by a service characterized by form, reverence, and solemn joy. While we thus run the risk of not being “upbeat” enough for some people’s tastes, we believe that we are, week in and week out, promoting a view of God which is consistent with the magnificence of his character revealed in Scripture.


Since the primary purpose of worship is to give glory to God, our worship is not preoccupied with mans needs, feelings, or aspirations. A common mistake is to evaluate worship purely in terms of our subjective impressions and feelings. Thus, for many people, worship is good only insofar as it makes them feel good. While not wishing to discount the importance of our subjective response—indeed it is our hope that we will be subjectively engaged in worship—we would suggest that worship is first and foremost an activity, not a feeling. “What are we doing?” is thus a more important question than “How do we feel?”


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
"Special Music" at our church is not the norm, but rather the exception at our church, and it is done when it fits with what we are doing. For example, we want to teach a song that is more difficult to learn to the congregation, we might have someone or several someones sing it as folks are walking in or just after the prayer time. Sometimes we will have someone sing something appropriate during or after communion. We do not have an offertory at our church (just a box at the back), so there is not a time when special music would be a regular thing.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Depends on whether or not the music falls under the rubric of preaching or worship. If it's just "background" it is neither, and as such would not be any different than poinsettias in the sanctuary.


Puritan Board Graduate
Usually (at least in my current church) it takes the form of a prelude/postlude plus an interlude to transition from the announcements at the beginning of the service to the call to worship.
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