|Looking to the organ and choir loft at Tenth Presbyterian, 17th and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, PA|
Howland, Colin. “Music at Tenth.” Music at Tenth Presbyterian Church. 13 Sept 2015. http://www.tenth.org/blog/posts/music-at-tenth. Accessed 14 Sept 2015.
“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!” (Psalm 149:1).
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!” (Psalm 105:1–2).
The Bible clearly teaches us that God’s people are to be a singing people. Music is fitting for worship because it involves the whole person: heart, mind, soul, and strength. Through singing we both learn the faith and give expression of our faith.
Music has a threefold purpose at Tenth Church. Music is an important part of corporate worship, music plays a critical role in Christian discipleship, and music is an effective means of outreach into our city and the world.
Music in Corporate Worship
Music is probably best thought of as part of the prayer life of the Church. The Psalms give us a glimpse of the richness and variety of sung prayer: praise, lament, confession, thanksgiving, frustration, joy, sorrow, to name but a few. Notice also how Psalm 149 encourages singing “in the assembly.” Corporate worship is the primary purpose of music in the Church. As a congregation, we gather as part of the much greater assembly of God’s people around the world as well as those saints who worship him in heaven with the company of angels and the heavenly hosts! The Bible also allows for individual musical expressions that build up the body: “when you come together, each one has a hymn…(1 Corinthians 14:26).” Even as we have individuals pray in a prayer gathering and that edifies those who are present, the same is true of those who offer musical solos.
Music & Discipleship
A close look at the songs of the Bible indicates that we praise God by singing the truth which he has revealed about himself back to him in faith and love. For example, in Exodus 3:15 God reveals his name to Moses and says, “This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” David then, reflecting back on the meaning of God’s name, is able to say in Psalm 8:1, “O Lord (God’s name!), our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Singing helps us to hide God’s word in our hearts, and his word does not return to him void. The choirs of Tenth Church exist not only to give praise in the assembly, but also as a means to disciple those who participate in choir.
Music & Outreach
Psalm 105 puts singing praise in the context of making known God’s deeds among the peoples. Music is a powerful communicator and a wonderful medium to winsomely convey the truth about God to the culture. For example, people will happily listen to Handel’s Messiah or Mendelssohn’s Elijah simply because of the great aesthetic quality of the music, but they will also be hearing the truth of God’s word beautifully presented in the musical rendering. Tenth’s concert series has been an effective means of telling God’s wondrous works to the city of Philadelphia and beyond.
Opportunities for Service
Tenth Church has musical opportunities for people of every age—all beginning Sunday, September 13. If you or someone you know sings or plays an instrument, please contact me for more information on how to serve in the music ministry.
Children (contact Judy Harvey)
- Praisemakers—Pre-K music program for ages 4–5. Sunday mornings in B2, leaving the 11:00 AM worship service at the second hymn.
- Tenth Children’s Music—Music program for grades 1–6. Sunday evenings, 6:15–7:40 PM, in 315 S. 17th Street for choir, handchimes, and hymnody work.
- Tenth Men’s Choir—The men’s choir sings once monthly in morning worship services and rehearses between morning services (10:20–10:45 AM) in the choir loft. No experience is necessary.
- Tenth Church Choir—The Tenth Church Choir sings at the Sunday evening service and also for special services and concerts. Previous choral experience and ability to read music are helpful but not essential. Rehearsals are at 5:15 PM on Sundays and 6:30–8:30 PM on Mondays.