Purpose, Process, and Product The three P’s of Gospel Music

Originally printed in the Lookout Valley Informer

I often hear fans talk about Gospel music without any reference to the Word of God. That shouldn’t be. Many Bible verses apply to Gospel music either directly or indirectly. Let me demonstrate by considering just three aspects of Gospel musicpurpose, process, and product.

Purpose. Gospel music, more than any other type, is music with a purpose. Its purpose is to praise God and to preach the Gospel. Read Psalm 150. It lists every major type of musical instrument – strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass. After naming all the major types of instruments, it ends with, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.” Gospel music gives every instrument made by man and every voice in our race the vehicle to obey the command – “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.”

Preaching is the other main purpose of Gospel music. We are still preaching even when we are holding a guitar. The Psalms were originally sung. Also, most Bible scholars, while we cannot prove it, believe a large portion of the prophetic books were originally songs. Think back. The most important concluding point of many Sunday morning sermons was a dear old choir singing “Just as I am.”

Process. Our process should produce the best we have to offer to the Lord. The Old Testament uses the phrase ‘without blemish’ (Ex. 12:5, Lev 1:3, etc.) nearly every time it refers to any offering made to God. We should bring the first fruits of our labor and present it to our Lord (Ex. 23:16), not throw Him the leftovers that we can’t sell in the open market. Please don’t misunderstand me. God wants our best. However, one person’s best may naturally be better than another. On my best day I sing worse than my wife on her worse. The Lord doesn’t hold it against me. I just owe God my personal best – not the best in the world or even better than the pretty young lady standing next to me in church.

Product. After all the gear is loaded in the bus and the last halleluiah has been shouted, we should be able to say with Paul that we were, “determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2). The product of Gospel music is the simple message of the cross. The music portion of Gospel music is really just the package. The message is the product we are selling. The message is everything.

— Donnie Bryson

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