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Use What You Have: Embracing Diverse Musical Expressions in The Salvation Army

In the rich tapestry of The Salvation Army's worship, music holds a special place. Often, when we think of music in The Salvation Army, images of a British-style brass band or a robust 20-piece songster brigade come to mind. These are traditional and beloved forms of worship, deeply ingrained in our heritage. However, it's essential to remember that these are not the only ways to praise the Lord.

The Biblical Foundation of Musical Diversity

Let's turn our attention to the Bible, specifically Psalm 150:1-6. This Psalm is a powerful reminder of the diversity in worship:

Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

This passage doesn’t limit worship to specific instruments or styles. Instead, it encourages a celebration of God's greatness through all forms of music and dance.

Embracing Musical Diversity in Our Corps

In many of our corps, we don’t have live music, not because we don’t want it, but perhaps because what we can offer don’t fit the standard mold of what is typically seen in The Salvation Army. It's time to broaden our perspective.

Recognizing Hidden Talents

Within our congregations, there may be individuals proficient in instruments like the flute, saxophone, violin, harmonica, piano, guitar etc. These talents are often overlooked because they don’t fit into our preconceived notion of Salvation Army music. But imagine the richness of worship we could experience if we embraced these diverse musical expressions.

The Bible's message is clear: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" This means everyone has something to contribute. If you think you don’t have anything to offer, remember, it’s never too late to start. Learning an instrument, singing, or even joining in with simple percussion instruments can be a way to participate in worship.

Encouraging New Forms of Musical Worship

Here are some ideas to encourage diverse musical expressions in our Salvation Army corps:

  1. Musical Showcases: Organize events where individuals can showcase their musical talents, regardless of the instrument or style.

  2. Varied Worship Teams: Create worship teams that incorporate different instruments, fostering a more inclusive and diverse musical experience.

  3. Music Workshops: Find workshops or classes for those interested in learning a new instrument or improving their musical skills.

  4. Incorporate Different Musical Genres: Explore various genres like contemporary Christian, gospel, classical, or even folk music in our services.

  5. Community Collaboration: Collaborate with local musicians or music groups to bring a fresh perspective and new talents to our worship services.

Our worship should be as diverse and vibrant as the body of Christ itself. By embracing the variety of musical talents and expressions within our congregations, we can create a more inclusive and dynamic worship experience. Let's encourage our corps to use what they have, to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and to remember that every sound in praise is music to God's ears.

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