is singing secular songs ok in a church event?

I was asked by our youth leader- Is it ok for Christians and for the church to sing secular songs in their events.
Here is how our conversation transpire:

Youth leader: Pastor somebody asked me why there are secular songs being sung in our youth event.

ME: well what do you think is the reason why

YL: well since we put some positive secular song the students have been inviting their friends to our events.

ME: are there some questionable lyrics in the song selection?

YL: None, the songs we sing are positive songs but some say that when we sing secular songs it is like endorsing the singer as well. So if the singer is questionable, then the song is questionable?

ME: Hmmm, nice point. So why do we have secular songs in our youth event?

YL: Pastor don’t ask me I am asking you

ME: Alright, let me tell you why.

Songs reflect our culture. It is the language of the people that you reach out to. Am I right?

YL: Yes

ME: But at the same time Christianity is counter cultural. It teaches you to shun the ways of the world and love Jesus. It is very offensive. Am I right?

YL: Yes – very true.

ME: So here is why we have secular songs in our youth events.

WE PREACH THE GOSPEL (countercultural) in a language (music) the culture understands.

WE USE THE LANGUAGE OF THE CULTURE TO PREACH A COUNTER- CULTURAL MESSAGE.

The music, the movies that the young people watch ANYWAY, should be a tool we use to teach them valuable truths about God, Jesus and the gospel.

YL: that is a nice way of putting it

ME: Yeah it sounds nice, maybe I’ll blog about it…

So here it is.

ps: for the younger guys out there, if your church is quite strict about it – pls respect the rules. Find a way to lovingly communicate to your leaders about it.

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10 thoughts on “is singing secular songs ok in a church event?

  1. david chan

    hmmm… i agree with the motive, but disagree with the approach.
    the bible says that when we fellowship in a church setting, we are to “sing praises to God.” that is extremely difficult to do with secular songs that have nothing to do with God. it’s just plain old positivism.

    songs DO reflect our culture. the church is a community that has a DIFFERENT CULTURE. if we sing secular songs in church, we are actually affirming them that the church has the SAME culture as the secular world. also, the COMMON LANGUAGE between the church community and secular community are still tagalog, bisaya, or english, or etc… they understand these languages quite well. “we preach the Gospel in languages they understand” simply means they must understand the Gospel mentally at first so that they can respond to it.

    when we say “countercultural” and then use secular songs, our actions actually communicate volumes that we aren’t aware of.

    so to me, i think the BIGGER question is this:
    is the church service a bridge event?
    OR TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY:
    is the church service PRIMARILY to teach, train and equip believers while being mindful of the presence of nonbelievers? OR is it PRIMARILY to reach out to the lost while being mindful of the presence of sheep with spiritual malnutrition?

  2. prince patrick

    so true! at least we’re not becoming aliens outside the cool world. I mean, if Jesus is here, he’d be attending youth service wearing nicely washed jeans and sneakers, grooving with giant headphones stuck on his ears as “Miss Independent”s playing.

    Oh pastor, my house is just like at the back of ghills church. Ill try to attend one time.

  3. melody

    I grew up in such ‘secular songs is from the devil’ church setting. Although I respect it, I wondered about it. It made me feel out of touch, different, bored. If secular songs are sung in church, it’s purpose was to reach out to others. It’s not used as for praising God only, but in some ways, it does honor God. And some secular songs’ lyrics are changed to Glorify God. So I am glad there are churches who found a balance.

  4. David John

    I love this post. I agree with Pastor Dennis. In our church we are really not too legalistic (or even legalistic at all) about things as long as the gospel is NOT COMPROMISED. The best way to reach out to people is by understanding their culture/subculture and somehow relate to them the best way we can. And some secular songs do have a positive meaning to it and they do fit the preaching series very well. Remember when Jesus was hanging out with “sinners” and the Pharisees were naming Him names by doing so? The Pharisees knew the law and were legalistic about it but they did not do what Jesus did – Reach out. Same thing. Jesus did his best to relate to the culture of the people around Him (I bet He’d also listen to Justin Bieber and use his music to reach out to Bieber’s fans. That is if Jesus is still with us today. (“,)), that’s what we call reaching out but did Jesus ever compromise the gospel? NO. If He did, then why are we still wasting our time preaching about the gospel today? (“,)

  5. J

    Hi Pastor Dennis. I hope Victory stops using secular songs in its worship services. Such is foreign to Scripture. Let me quote something from John MacArthur:

    “Where did Christians ever get the idea we could win the world by imitating it? Is there a shred of biblical justification for that kind of thinking? Many church marketing specialists affirm that there is, and they have convinced a myriad of pastors. Ironically, they usually cite the apostle Paul as someone who advocated adapting the gospel to the tastes of the audience. One has written, ‘Paul provided what I feel is perhaps the single most insightful perspective on marketing communications, the principle we call contextualization (1 Corinthians 9:19–23). Paul … was willing to shape his communications according to their needs in order to receive the response he sought.’ ‘The first marketeer was Paul,’ another echoes.

    This much is very clear: the apostle Paul was no people-pleaser. He wrote, ‘Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ’ (Gal. 1:10). Paul did not amend or abridge his message to make people happy. He was utterly unwilling to try to remove the offense from the gospel (Gal. 5:11). He did not use methodology that catered to the lusts of his listeners. He certainly did not follow the pragmatic philosophy of modern market-driven ministers.

    He was not a salesman or marketer, but a divine emissary. He certainly was not ‘willing to shape his communications’ to accommodate his listeners or produce a desirable response. The fact that he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19), beaten, imprisoned, and finally killed for the truth’s sake ought to demonstrate that he didn’t adapt the message to make it pleasing to his hearers! And the personal suffering he bore because of his ministry did not indicate that something was wrong with his approach, but that everything had been right!

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