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Seventh-day Adventists recognise the contributions of different cultures in

offering worship to God through music. Musical forms and instruments vary
greatly around the worldwide church family.

Music from one culture may sound strange to a person from a different culture.
Furthermore, cultural change is also occurring within the various streams of culture
around the world. Any one culture, once thought to be homogeneous in its
music/worship expression, may well now give rise to a diversity of musical

The shrinking of the world into what has been called "the global village" has brought
together elements of diverse musical traditions, and these are now often intersecting
and impacting each other in expressions of both popular and religious/worship
oriented music. The impact of culture on worship music should be carefully
assessed on the following principles:

• There may well be aspects of music in all cultures that are generally agreed to
be out of harmony with Biblical principles.
• Ideally, it is best for people within the various ethnic groups to prayerfully
determine, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, what is appropriate in their
context. They need to consider both lyrical and musical elements, and the
strength of any negative associations in making their determinations.
• Deference to those in the community who experience special difficulty with
negative associations will call for an application of the principle of loving self-
sacrifice explained in Romans 14. Some music that blesses individuals and
causes them no offence may be temporarily sacrificed for the sake of general
• It is not appropriate to impose the music of one culture upon a
congregation of another, but it will be valuable to share, explain, and
interpret one to another with an aim of developing understanding and
tolerance. The ultimate goal is unity.
• Those involved in music and its public presentation in church life and worship
will be sensitive to cultural and generational differences, without merely
pandering to culturally conditioned taste and preference.


Congregational involvement in worship through Music

Maximise participation

• Choose congregational music that maximises participation as total

involvement promotes unity and fellowship.
• Weight the balance of total music in worship towards congregational
participation rather than special music.
• Because participation is so important, it is desirable to use local church based
musicians in worship services. Whenever possible, beginners can be involved
in group music, and the talents of the congregation should be explored and
• To maximise the number of people involved in the music of the church, the
formation of choirs or other smaller vocal and/or instrumental groups is to
be encouraged and nurtured.