Saturday, 18 July 2015

Evangelising through Music

Music is a powerful form of evangelising today, especially among our youths. This is because our youths are more receptive and inclined towards listening, singing and remembering songs, and it is through many of these songs, both old and new, that we receive teaching, our minds being exercised along with our hearts. God reaches our hearts through our minds. As Paul said, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (Rom 12:2). 

So how do we fully utilise music to evangelise? First of all, we have bible verses which can be memorised through a catchy song. This is often used to teach young children through repetition of the verse until they can sing from memory. By doing so, these children would have learnt much of the bible by the time they are teenagers. Knowing the bible well leads to knowing Jesus better and His command to go out to proclaim the Good News.

For youths, due to their energetic and impressionable ways, perhaps musical plays concerning the life of Christ, the life of a saint, a story based on a passage from the bible, or even a story which reflects a Christian virtue or Christian life situation could be meaningful. This is because such musical plays give our youth an opportunity to express themselves both visually and audibly, while proclaiming a Christian message to the audience. Furthermore, since many of our youth can be influenced by their peers, inviting and encouraging the older youth to participate in such musical plays could encourage the younger ones to tag along and become involved, because they see their friends taking part and would not want to be left out. Some examples I recall are the Witness, which is about the life of Jesus; and The Choice, which is about the life of a Roman Centurion who later became a Christian when he had a conversion experience upon witnessing the passion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. 

Youth concerts and rallies, where a lot of Christian music is played and sung, are also another form of evangelising. When our youth bring their non-Christian friends along, the charged atmosphere and powerful songs soon lead our young friends to their feet, singing, clapping, cheering and dancing away. Of course, this would need to be followed up by keeping in touch and using other forms of evangelisation, such as providing reading material and personal testimonies from other youths, so that the Gospel message can be experienced and learnt.

Music workshops for youths and other interested parties could be a great way to evangelisation. People could be invited first to have a jamming session with their Christian friends and hopefully, they may become more interested in Christianity, as the join the fun in playing and singing Christian songs. 

In this age of the internet, using a website is also a powerful means of evangelising; more so if Christian music is promoted on the website. Through such a website, people from all over the world can gain access to such songs, listen to them, and perhaps through the meaningful words and lovely melodies, they too may become interested to know more about the Christian faith. This is made even more effective when some basic Catholic teaching is included in the website, enabling visitors to read something about the Catholic faith while listening to the songs.

Even hand phones and MP3 players so commonly used these days can be deployed as a form of evangelising. How so? By using ring tones in the form of Christian songs, since many hand phones nowadays support complex polyphony features, someone just might get inspired to enquire more about that ring tone and the Christian can then introduce the other person to Jesus. Friends could share the earphone plug of an MP3 player with another friend who may not be a Christian, and this could lead to further enquiries about the Christian song being played, especially if it is a catchy or “cool” tune, and further evangelisation could occur. 

Through singing the story of Jesus, singing what we believe and sharing the Christian music we enjoy, we give people a context for living. As we relive the coming of Christ into the world, our own lives make sense. In worship and song we see ourselves on the continuum of time – we live for the here and now, with an eye for the future.

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