Since music often inspires a spirit of worship, it has an important role in most Apostolic Faith services. Musicians accompany the congregational singing, and vocal and instrumental selections are part of nearly all meetings. Those who participate in the music ministry of the church represent the organization, so they must be born-again Christians and live in a manner that validates their testimony.
Requirements for Musicians
Prior to participation in the adult music ministry, musicians will be expected to:
- Develop their vocal or instrumental skills to a level that equips them to participate effectively.
- Be at least fourteen years of age.
- Read the Apostolic Faith Church Volunteer Handbook.
- Be thoroughly familiar with the contents of this document.
- Submit a Worker Application form (or a Youth Worker Application for those under the age of eighteen) upon completion of the above requirements. The Worker Application includes three personal references. Applicants are asked to disclose any matter which may affect their suitability to work with children and youth. Authorization to do a background check is included as part of this form. (The information obtained through this process will be kept confidential.)
Musicians should also be prepared to fulfill on an ongoing basis any additional training or recertification requirements established by the Apostolic Faith organization.
Current address and phone information, including emergency contact numbers, must be kept on file in the church office for every regular participant in the music ministry.
Expectations of Musicians
Musicians in the Apostolic Faith work are expected to:
- Participate faithfully in the areas of music ministry where they have been given a role.
- Support the work of the church through prayer.
- Adhere to the policies of the Apostolic Faith organization.
- Attend scheduled practice sessions and other training events whenever possible.
- Notify the music leader when absence at a service or practice is unavoidable.
- Cooperate with the music leader and other musicians concerning equipment, music, and supplies.
- Wear appropriately modest attire, keeping in mind that musicians are often seated on a raised platform in the front of the sanctuary.
- Observe all copyright laws (details are provided in the Apostolic Faith Church Volunteer Handbook).
From time to time, the organization will provide opportunities for additional musical training. All musicians are strongly encouraged to attend these training events.
Presentation of Musical Selections
The musical selections presented by vocalists and instrumentalists in the course of a church service contribute greatly to the beauty and holy nature of the services. Following are a few guidelines for this aspect of music ministry.
- Focus on honoring God. If a musical number is to be effective in ministering to the congregation, it must be anointed by the Holy Spirit. The manner of presentation should always be pointed toward honoring God, rather than to displaying the performer’s talent.
- Select appropriate pieces. Vocal soloists typically choose their own songs, as they know best the selections that will fit their voices, style of singing, and vocal range. Instrumentalists know which numbers are best for their skill level. Prelude and middle special numbers should be upbeat and energetic, encouraging enthusiasm. The special just prior to the message should be slower, inviting people to prepare their hearts for the sermon.
- Limit personal comments. Vocalists generally should not give a mini-sermon or share personal thoughts before their music selection. If an introduction would add to the spirit or clarity of the selection, the music director and/or pastor should approve comments ahead of time.
- Be ready to testify. It is appropriate for musicians to testify following their song if it takes place during the testimony portion of the service.
- Make sure the accompaniment does not overwhelm. If using a CD or instrumentalists to accompany a vocalist, take care that the words remain distinct. (Positioning yourself close enough to the microphone can help with this.) The accompaniment should never predominate, as the spiritual message is in the words.
- Consider the lyrics. Songs sung in a Gospel meeting should be doctrinally sound and have a message that will inspire or encourage the listeners. They should also fit the nature of the meeting—the choice of song for a baby dedication, for example, would be quite different from what would be chosen for a church dedication.
- Balance contemporary and traditional musical styles. Individual preferences in music vary, and there is a range of what is appropriate for a Gospel meeting. While it is important to make sure that our music avoids flamboyancy or any mimicking of worldly entertainment, a variation in style of music can keep the services appealing to all ages.
Services at the Portland camp meeting, in the Portland headquarters church, and in some of the branch churches are webcast. Musicians who take part in these services should be especially careful that their platform deportment, posture, and attentiveness reflect the sacred nature of our church services. Women and men both should sit modestly. There should be no gum chewing during church services.