The dawn of many ecclesiastical gatherings and use of self-gratifying methods to court and lure followers has become the norm in many Zimbabwean churches. Many dance to the call of sweet and melodious music that is tasty to the ears. But to some, the taste seems to be running parallel to the heavenly way of music and song.

The way people dance, sing and eulogise Christ is leaving a lot to be desired. One would presume! Rhumba, kwasa-kwasa, sungura and other genres have been roped in to suit the faith of many people and at the same time to meet the feelings of congregants. This has created a divide and many questions have popped up, chief among them, “Are christian musicians or gospel artistes worshippers or performers?”

This has raised debate among many people, even those who “worship or perform” in church as they argue that the terms are used interchangeably.  

It is easy for choirs and congregations to become confused about the difference between secular musical performances and sacred musical presentations. Each has a distinctly different purpose: Secular musical performances are designed to showcase the performers themselves. Their purpose is to entertain. Sacred musical “presentations” or musical “offerings” (either term seems more worthy than “performances” when describing church music) should be designed to showcase God. Their purpose is to lead in worship.

There are a lot of meanings that are attached to the words worship and perform, but the generally shared meanings are, “the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object through prayers or other religious forms by which love is expressed” while to perform is “to do an action or activity that usually requires training or skill.”

Contrary to popular perceptions, the main function of a choir is not to perform, but to enable congregational singing. In addition, the choir, praise team, soloist or instrumentalist has priestly responsibilities during worship. The choir enables corporate worship by offering music to God on behalf of the congregation – a priestly function.

Music has always been an integral part of “worship.” There are more than 200 references to singing in the Bible, and it was common practice in the early church to include singing, playing instruments and dancing whenever worshippers would gather. What is the purpose of a choir during a worship service? Are church musicians even necessary for worship? Do they function primarily as leaders or as performers – or both?

The “worshippers or performers” should also distinguish between music and noise. Some end up making noise. The Holy Spirit never reveals himself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time.

Better never have the worship of God blended with music that does not hold truth and makes people invent worldly dances to “satisfy their feelings.”

A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the “Holy Spirit’s working.” Congregants become excited. It is in the choirs or praise and worship teams that we see leaders employing secular antics, for instance, choir masters who urge congregants to do the Zorai Butter dance routine founded and popularized  by Aleck Macheso.

Commenting on the issue, New Life Ministries pastor Richard Dube said the church choir should not be influenced by the world but should influence the world. He said it is “wrong for the church choir to use worldly dance routines.”

“Music is highly spiritual and in church it should uplift the church. Some now want to use the Zorai Butter and Jah Prayzah dances in church, which is wrong. In church they must be worshippers and maybe at a concert they can perform, not in church or when they are rehearsing for,” he said.

Pastor Dube’s comments were also confirmed by Apostle Edward Chinyunyu of Christ Revealed Worldwide Ministries who said taking secular dances and incorporate them in the church choir is dangerous as we do not know where secular artistes draw their inspiration from.

He said that those who lead choirs should consider themselves as ministers who usher people into the kingdom of God.

“There is a difference between a performer and a minister (choir). When people are singing, they should lead people to God because they will be at the pulpit that happens to be the altar of God. When the walls of Jericho fell, ministers who blew trumpets were the leaders and they were consecrated people.

“Taking secular dances to church is wrong. I am not saying that secular artistes are satanic, but we do not know where they draw their inspiration from,” the Apostle emphasized.

While many employ worldly routines in the “holy temple of God,” it still remains if God’s silence means that He is entertaining people when they desanctify His house.