Music Influencing the World

What kind of music do you listen to? What are your views on Christian music? When I was a teenager, finding good music to listen to without reverting to worldly music was a little more difficult than it is now. Not only do I consider modern day Christian music to be just as good as secular music in terms of quality of production, lyricism, and creativity goes, but it is superior in a lot of instances – all the while glorifying God. Artists such as Canton Jones, Lecrae, Mary Mary, and our very own, One Focus rap group have been able to make innovative, inspirational, “neck breaking” music that is all about Kingdom business.

Artists in the secular arena have even started remixing Gospel songs in order to get a piece of the action. In 2009 Ne-Yo (a secular artist) hooked up with Mary Mary for a “God in Me” collaboration. There are even times when I’m riding in my car and someone will pull up next to me and ask me who I am listening to.

Being a musician, I understand the power of influence that music has in this day and age. William Congreve, an English poet in the 1700s stated, “Music has the charms to soothe a savage beast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” I interpret this quote to mean that music has the power and influence to bring about change. With music being one of the most powerful stimulants that affects our emotions, I believe that music has a strong influence on our minds and spirits, which ultimately determines the decisions we make and the actions we take. Galatians 5 gives us the type of fruit we should instill into our spirits and Romans 12:2 tells us to renew our minds apart from the world and to align our lives with God’s perfect will.

The type of music we listen to is a major factor in our daily walk with Christ. At work, I do a lot of report writing and the system I use pulls data from another system that obtains its data from what people input into the various data fields. Sometimes data can be erroneous and my supervisor always says “garbage in, garbage out.” We could apply this mantra to what we allow to enter our ear gates throughout the day. If I am constantly injecting my mind with sexual thoughts sparked by the content of the music I listen to, then it’s only a matter of time before I act on those thoughts. Music has the power to make us experience a wave of emotions–sadness, anger, happiness. Music sets the mood–it sets the atmosphere. Think about it: when you are about to set the mood with your spouse, you listen to slow jams, when you’ve broken up with a significant other, you listen to sad depressing music, when you are upset with someone or trying to pump yourself up to confront someone, you may listen to something loud and hardcore to get your adrenaline to rush. Listening to this type of secular music at the wrong time can be the very thing that leads you to an avenue of sin or depression that you cannot crawl out of. We as Christians can hinder our growth by allowing those things that are not of Christ to enter into our minds and spirits. It is imperative to be aware of the type of influences we allow music to have on our lives.

Is it ‘OK’ for Christians to Dance?

Psalm 150:6 states, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” The bible highlights different ways to praise God which includes instrumentation, singing and of course dancing.

In today’s world and youth culture we see secular artists making hits about dances almost every other day. It doesn’t take much effort to find a kid or young adult crankin’ the Soulja Boy, doing the dougie, the flex or the dutty wine to name a few. Think of the impact these artist have, how many albums they have sold and the amount of people you see doing these dances. Have you ever asked yourself how much of an impact you could make by promoting fun dances that would bring the lost souls to God and also promote God’s word?

As a dancer it seems that as time progresses the different styles of dancing have become more secular, but at the same time the role of the dance ministry in the church and in the world has increased. So what does that mean for us Christians? When discussing the role of dance many issues arise. The major controversy is that there are so many dances to chose from, but not all are acceptable to perform in the church. There is a thin line separating what is an appropriate form of dance and attire for Christian dancers. As Christians it is imperative that we flock to modest styles of dancing that make God the focus rather than certain parts of our bodies.

Typically, dance styles seen in churches are prophetic, liturgical or interpretative because of their ability to appeal to a desirable, conservative appearance. The problem that arises is that there is a younger generation who want to praise God through dance, but are hesitant to minister because they’re fearful the churches won’t accept their modern moves and that they’re being to sexual.

The truth is, God created all types of dances, and they can all be utilized to add to His glory and to reach lost souls. A Christian dancer must understand, however, that no matter the style of the dance they practice, they must always be a conscious performer, meaning they must understand the purpose behind their steps and the intentions behind their moves. For example, if you’re at a night club dancing provocatively with a member of the opposite sex, what are your intentions? To arouse or seduce? Examples of dance like this are not edifying to God. Still, in Genesis 50:20 the Word says “What the devil meant for evil, God will turn it around.”

Our Heavenly Father gave us the gift to dance, it’s a way to praise him, and I believe that we as Christians and dancers can adapt various styles of dancing such as hip hop, lyrical ballet, or jazz to do just that. Dancing can change lives, no matter if you’re doing the dancing or watching. It is a way to express emotions, to tell a story, it is a path to save souls, which is the purpose of our ministry.

Your motivation to dance should be to save the lost at any cost. So remember, don’t be afraid of diversifying your collection of dance styles. Explore hip-hop, jazz, tap, folk, latin, traditional, swing, ballroom, afro-Caribbean and the many others forms and enhance your ability to outreach and minister to people from all walks of life.