In Church Music: For the Care of Souls, Phillip Magness helps the church to recover the primary instrument in worship: congregational voices. During our interview detailed below, Magness shares how “The Lord has given us a song to sing, a community to sing with, and all the talent we really need to proclaim the story of His love” and more.
Lexham Press: What is the story behind Church Music: For the Care of Souls and what is your book’s basic thesis?
Phillip Magness: Most books on church music are written either for the pastor or for the musician. Church Music for the Care of Souls is for both – and for all the baptized. As the people of God, we are all called to care for one another. A chief means by which we care for one another spiritually is in our singing. What we sing, how we sing, and why we sing are questions all Christians should consider. My book draws on my personal experience as a leader of congregational song for over 30 years in a variety of styles and contexts to illustrate a Scriptural understanding of how to go about the Lord’s ministry through music. The Lord has given us a song to sing, a community to sing with, and all the talent we really need to proclaim the story of His love. Once a congregation takes hold of these blessings, their singing will become a profound testimony that will sing faith into every ear that hears.
LP: What contribution do you hope to make with Church Music: For the Care of Souls?
Magness: I hope this book gives permission to many congregations to embrace their own voice, their own talents, and their own living tradition-with pastors thinking musically, musicians thinking theologically, creatives respecting their congregations, and congregations supporting their creatives.
LP: Describe a particularly surprising or enjoyable aspect of writing your book.
Magness: I particularly enjoyed cataloguing all the Scriptural exhortations to sing the Lord’s song. From when God gave Moses a song to teach the people to James’ encouragement to let the cheerful sing praise, there are at least 46 passages where the Bible prescribes singing. And not just any sort of singing, but the joyful remembrance of God’s saving acts and sustaining promises that bring us hope, comfort, and cheer. Of all people, we Christians certainly have a song worth singing!
LP: Share with us something surprising about yourself that only your friends would know.
Magness: I’m an avid Nebraska Cornhusker fan. I even wear a corn head when watching games!