Question about Professional Skills for missionaries:
"How can a music degree be used in missions? Are there any unique opportunities for musicians?"
It was German short-term missionaries who noticed the people used a similar tune but with different words to greet them each time they visited a village. The musicians in the German group quickly learned the tune. Host interpreters explained that the words were an oral history of that village and people group.
A year later the team, with help from a Christian who knew the language, created Bible story lyrics for the tune. When they sang them in the language, people heard and wanted to know the God that the visitors knew! That's how to use music in missions!
There is a great need here for professionals who have more than just talent, but training.
I remember the first concert we did here in the city. Over 1000 people came just to see and hear a violin. They had heard that we would have a violinist.
Now translate that into missions. Can musical expertise impact evangelism? Yes.
We collect used instruments which students basically have to do the best they can with if we can’t find a teacher. It is so sad to see patched instruments (two trumpets put together to make one etc).
Music touches hearts.
I would suggest taking a visit or two and seeing what could happen with your talents and training. I am constantly encouraging my musician friends to come work with our worship teams and choirs and students. They are the ones who become worship leaders here in the church. It’s important work.
Take the Liberty courses and try a field experience with your missions agency. Many more with this calling are needed in South Asia, which is the least reached and most unengaged part of the world. Why not engage them with music that speaks to their hearts?
There is growing interest in using music in missions including specialized training schools and ministries. (Read about some what I'm involved in here and feel free to contact me if you want more details.)
Music changes people... it goes beyond words, beyond the language barrier, beyond culture... yet it communicates.
1. Your music can keep you going. Many a missionary has found music a great comfort and creative outlet, especially for those days when life is frustrating and nothing makes sense. It's something familiar from home and can restore your sense of perspective and focus on the Lord.
2. Music can bless your ministry. Many mission teams rely on members with such abilities to help them worship together, assist and encourage the local Christian community, and lend their skills to local outreach efforts.
3. Music can make you friends. With or without a music degree or specialized training, simply being able to play an instrument or carry a tune may also help you make friends not only with other musicians but also with those who want to learn or who just enjoy being around the music. Ask God to make you a blessing and use your skills for his purposes!
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