Special Music Guidelines

Music is all around us. And “Christian music” as a genre is very popular today. But what music is the best for special music performances at our church services? Here are some general principles that should be helpful. These guidelines are meant to give direction on why we’re doing special music and how we can be unified in our approach. If you have any further questions, contact Church Administration.

The Starting Point

Special music is a very visible means of serving God’s people, and as such, these guidelines are important and help us set the best godly example we can as we serve God and help direct His people to Him.

Music has been part of worshiping God for thousands of years, and it is a special honor to serve in this way. From a “big picture” perspective, it is essential to understand and remember that special music should not be focused on being “a performance.” It is not a display or show of one’s talents and abilities. Rather, it is using one’s talents and abilities as an offering of praise and worship to God. It is also using one’s talents and abilities to direct God’s people to Him in a more thoughtful or pro-found way. This focus should guide how we view what selections to use and how to pre-pare them.

With that in mind, here are several questions to ask yourself as you prepare special music selections:

1. Do the words glorify God?

Always make sure that the words are scripturally accurate and doctrinally correct. The focus of any lyrics should be honoring and praising God and should not highlight the singer or songwriter.

2. Is the genre appropriate for Church services?

It’s good to have a mix of traditional and contemporary genres for special music. Even so, try to stay out of the extremes when it comes to appropriateness, within each genre. For example, some classical pieces may be technically impressive but not inspiring to the congregation, because they are really focusing more on the expertise of the singer or musician than giving glory to God. Often times for a general audience and worship of God, simple is better.

In regard to contemporary music, some songs may essentially be “love songs for Jesus.” These types of songs might evoke sentimental feelings for Him, but they can trivialize the deep awe and respect we should have for God and Christ. Whether traditional or contemporary music is involved, also be sensitive to the fact that some in the audience may be troubled by music that they associate with their past experience in a mainstream Protestant or Catholic church. Use wisdom and judgment, and if in doubt, ask your pastor for guidance.

3. Is the style consistent with our Church traditions?

When you play or sing music, remember to maintain a level of formality, dignity, and self-restraint. Many well-meaning “contemporary Christian” singers and musicians come across as being “theatrical” in their overuse of emotions. They “emote” for effect. That is, they make the focus of the piece more about the emotional experience they are having, than the message of the song. There should be power and passion in our music! However, we must remember to keep the focus on honoring God and inspiring the congregation. Many “contemporary Christian” pieces sound like run-of-the-mill rock or R&B songs. The style of some songs may be fine for a Church fun show, but their sound may be inappropriate for Sabbath worship services. It is important to distinguish the difference.

4. Does the performer’s dress reflect standards upheld by God’s word and His Church?

Just as the Church has specific dress guidelines for men involved in speaking, song leading and leading in opening and closing prayers, we also need guidelines for those giving special music in front of the congregation. In most western-culture settings, the appropriate clothing for men is coat and tie; for ladies, a dress or skirt and blouse that are modest and conservative. (Other formal-setting attire is appropriate in other cultures in international areas—check with your Regional Office if you have questions).

Ladies should avoid the trendy and immodest apparel that is commonplace for many female per-formers in our society today: short, tight, form-fitting dresses, necklines displaying cleavage, bare shoulders, backless dresses, etc. Because being on an elevated platform or stage makes hemlines appear higher than they actually are, a good rule of thumb when bringing special music is for a dress or skirt to at least reach the knees, including when seated. Be careful with high slits in a dress or skirt. If dress attracts undue attention, it will draw the minds of those in the congregation away from their focus on the music and worship of God.

Final Note

Everything about the special music we give should help direct God’s people to Him. It is a tremendous privilege for all of us to come before the great King each and every Sabbath and to worship Him. Using musical talent to inspire our brethren and praise God is a very special opportunity that should not be taken lightly.

Sermonette Outline: The Two Genealogies of Christ

Title: “The Two Genealogies of Christ”     

SPS: To explain why there are two genealogies of Christ – one in Matthew and one in Luke.

Key Scripture: Matthew 1

Supporting Scriptures:

Jer.22:30, Luke 3:23, Num.27:1-7,36:6-7


Have you ever wondered sometimes why the Bible mentions two genealogies of Christ – one in Matthew 1 and another in Luke 3?  The most confusing thing about them is that they are totally different!  Brethren, why are these two genealogies both in the Bible?  Did God goof up and let this error into the Bible?  Can we learn anything from them?  

  1. Matthew’s Genealogy
    • That of Joseph
    • Legal purposes – Jews’ custom in keeping records to trace descent through the father.  He was writing to show the Jews that through Joseph, Christ was of the tribe of Judah and was “eligible” to be the Messiah.
    • Joseph’s lineage given to emphasize the fact that Christ had to be born of a virgin.  He could not be a literal son of Joseph even though a legal one:
    • Jeconiah (Jeconias, Coniah, Jehoiachin) was one of His ancestors.
    • Matt.1:11-12 Josiah begot Jeconiah
    • Jer.22:30 “Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper. Sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah.”
    • Jeconiah had children but God said that he would never more have a descendant to reign on the throne.  Therefore a child of Joseph would never be never be qualified to rule on the throne, (including Christ)
  2.  Luke’s Genealogy:
    • This is Mary’s.  Jewish custom – Mary’s genealogy was given under her husband’s name.
    • Luke 3:23 Joseph was “of Heli” = he was the son-in-law since his father was Jacob (Matt 1:16) “Jacob begot Joseph”
    • Mary’s blood lineage – no block to the throne of David (Her ancestor was David’s other son, Nathan – (Luke 3:31)  God had promised David that He would establish his throne forever – fulfilled that promise through making Nathan the ancestor of the promised King who would sit on David’s throne through eternity.
    • How could Mary transmit David’s royal inheritance?  All inheritances had to pass through the male descendants.
    • Num.27:1-7,36:6-7 When a daughter was the only heir, she could inherit her father’s possessions and rights if she married within her own tribe.  Apparently, Mary had no brothers.  Joseph became heir by marriage to Mary – and inherited the right to rule on David’s throne. – this right passed on to Christ.
  3. Summary:
    • Joseph’s genealogy shows Christ was a descendant of Jeconiah and thus could not sit on the throne through inheriting the right through Joseph.  It further proves the virgin birth: The curse on Jeconiah’s line would have passed on to Christ if He were Joseph’s real son, but He wasn’t — He was begotten by the Holy Spirit and was the Son of God.  But Christ was Mary’s son through Nathan and can inherit the throne legally because of her marriage to Joseph, whose genealogy shows he was of the tribe of Judah.

Sermonette Outline: David and the Shewbread

Title: “David and the Shewbread”

Key Scripture: Matthew 12:3-4
SPS: To explain what is meant by this passage.

Supporting Scriptures:
1 Samuel 21:1-6, Leviticus 24:5-9, Numbers 28:9-10

Mat 12:3-4 NKJV – “But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he
and those who were with him: “how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not
lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?”

What does this mean? Was Christ validating David breaking the law of God?


  1. Context
    a. Note that the parallel passages are in Mark 2:23-28 and Luke 6:1-5
    b. Just preceding the passage in questions, Christ is challenged by the Pharisees. They
    criticized His disciples for plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath day, as they were passing through
    the fields, saying it was not lawful.
  2. Core issue: the appropriate way to keep the Sabbath
    a. Christ clearly was challenging the Pharisees understanding and application of the scriptures.
    They were taking Him to task – and He was showing their lacking of discernment.
  3. Follow the Scriptures
    a. 1 Samuel 21:1-6 – David and his men eating the shewbread of the priests
    b. What was the instruction concerning the showbread?
    c. Lev 24:6-9 – ““You shall set them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure [gold] table before
    the LORD. “And you shall put pure frankincense on [each] row, that it may be on the bread for a
    memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD. “Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the
    LORD continually, [being taken] from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. “And it
    shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it [is] most holy to
    him from the offerings of the LORD made by fire, by a perpetual statute.”
  4. Explanation
    a. Ahimelech the priest obviously understood the purpose and procedure for the use of the
    b. When David asked for bread, Ahimelech exercised his appropriate decision- making authority to
    grant David and his men the permission to eat the bread.
    c. Important: Christ, the author of the Sabbath was using this as a good example of proper
    discretion and wisdom in exercising God’s law. This was not putting a stamp of approval on breaking the law! David was not breaking the law! He goes on to add one more layer representing another good example of applying wisdom and judgement to keeping the Sabbath, citing the priests’ vigorous requirements for the Sabbath sacrifices (Number 28:9-10).

What we are reading in this section is a proper insight in the application of the law concerning
the Sabbath day. The Sabbath day is holy, and should be observed and kept holy. But the 39
Sabbath regulations of the Mishna that the Pharisees meticulously observed did not show wisdom,
judgement or discretion. The priests exercised their prerogative to provide nourishment to David
and his men, using the showbread normally reserved for them. The priests were required to butcher
and prepare animal sacrifices on the Sabbath. As Luke 13:15, and Luke 15-5 explain, animals must be
cared for on the Sabbath.

Far from being permission to ignore the Sabbath, Christ taught how to properly keep the Sabbath,
showing discretion, wisdom, and common sense.