Do Drums Have a Place in the Christian Church?

Today’s guest post is written by Clare Evans, you can learn more about her at the end of this article.
djembe-drumming

Music has always played a huge part in the Christian Church. Hymns, organs, and choirs fill our churches with wonderful sounds every Sunday and help grow our community. In a bid to modernize though, more and more churches and places of worship are introducing new sounds and instruments into the church.

Percussion instruments including tambourines, shakers, bongos, djembes, and electronic drum kits have slowly started finding their way into our services. But this transition hasn’t been a smooth one.

Opinion is sometimes divided over these instruments’ place in the Christian church. Some people support their introduction, and see no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate and worship with their help. Others hold a more sinister view.

Some people believe drums and drum beats invite evil spirits and are the music of the Devil. They believe that these worldly instruments do not have a place in Christian culture, and therefore shouldn’t have a place in the church.

With opinion so fiercely divided then, how can we identify if drums really do have a place in the Christian church? How can we incorporate the music of the world into our services and ceremony’s without causing upset and offence?

Do drums really have a place in the church?

With music playing such a key role in worship, drums and percussion instruments do have a place in the Christian church. The challenge comes though, with seamlessly integrating them into general proceedings.

For the few who particularly oppose drums in church, suddenly bringing in a huge drum kit will certainly cause a few raised eyebrows. Instead, it is best to slowly and surely integrate percussion instruments into different parts of worship.

For example, start by introducing a tambourine or percussion shaker one Sunday and see how well it is received. You can then continue by bringing in a few more handheld drums and percussive instruments. You could even ask the congregation to play during a certain song or hymn in the style of a drumming circle.

Which drums should I choose?

When thinking of introducing drums into worship, you will inevitably want to keep everyone happy. You also need to think of financial implications to. With this in mind then – providing you decide drums are right for your church – you need to decide between electronic drums, handheld acoustic drums, or simple percussion shakers.

To keep your ceremony’s traditional though, we would recommend sticking to handheld drums and percussion instruments such as tambourines. There is no real risk of over-playing and making too much noise. Their natural sound will also fit much better with the traditional music of the church.

Before you make any decision though, everyone in the church needs to be involved and offer an opinion.

You should come to an executive decision based on these opinions, and do the best you can to please the majority. After all, you may find that in your particular church the use of drums is still frowned upon.

Drums do have a place in the Christian church and can be a great addition to your services. Bringing a brand new element into your church’s music is a great way to refresh and modernise, whilst still keeping to your true values.

By selecting your instruments – and the way you use them – carefully, you and your church can really benefit from their use.

Clare Evans is the copywriter for Djembe Drum Shop, an online store selling a range of percussion instruments and handheld drums at competitive prices. They also stock percussion packs, perfect for introducing music to your congregation. Visit the website for more details.


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12 replies

  1. There is a brand of Christian (not sure but I think it’s the Church of Christ) that hold a strict interpretation of the New Testament and point out there is no command to use any musical instruments. Their churches sing but have no music of any kind. Unless ones subscribes to those tenants then I wholly recommend Psalm 150, which not only mentions drums and cymbals but ultimately “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

    The idea that drums beats invite evils spirits is some person’s fear tactic that happens to hate drums. A drum is an instrument that like all others – piano, television, facebook, YOUR VOICE – can be used to bring glory to God or not. Some Christians brag about not have television in their house, noting all the filth that’s on it. Well, there are also filthy magazines and dirty books, but no one brags about getting rid of all their books because then you couldn’t read the Bible.

    • Very good point, Clark! Your right, many people take a small part of scripture making it doctrine while its been taking out of context. All scripture needs to agree with each other for it to be solid. If not, its heresy.

  2. Percussive instruments and cymbols are spoken of in the Psalms in several places as vital instruments of praise and worship! Just read Psalm 150 if you don’t agree! They go right along with praising, shouting, lifting of hands, etc., etc. It’s all in there! Just look at Miriam (sister of Moses) and her tambourine! I believe God loves rhythm for He invented it; He is a God of music and variety, including the beautiful chords and lush melodies that come straight from His musical palette! 🙂

  3. Good comments! It never ceases to amaze me the silliness that is in the Church over music. The type of music played, and the instruments used to play that music do not at all matter. It does not matter if 1 voice is singing a solo.

    What does matter is that God is worshiped and glorified. As long as the particular church is in agreement as to what type of music they will have and God is worshiped…what else matters.

    Being hung up on a certain type of music is man’s problem, it certainly did not come from God. I grew up with an organ in church that had pipes that filled the whole back wall of the church. The organ sounded awesome even if you did not like that type of music. I now prefer piano and drums, guitar…we even have a sax and a trombone player. The music is great!

  4. I think God owns everything first and Satan has taken what God made for good and perverted it. If we are worshiping the one true God, and not our flesh, and none other, then it is not wrong.

    A good example of what I mean can be found with intimacy and sex. God made this to be a holy and beautiful thing between husband and wife. However, Satan has perverted this, causing pornography, sex outside of wedlock, homosexuality, and all sorts of perversions. However, that does not mean that sex is perverted or dirty..it’s not if it is done the way God intended.

    So, a drum, if played for God and the way God intended, is not wrong and not bad. Another good example can be found in meditation. When we think of meditation, we oftentimes think of the Middle Eastern religions, Buddhism, and New Age cult religions. However, to meditate was first found in the Holy Bible in reference to us meditating on His Word and in our thoughts about Him (God)..and once again, Satan took something very holy and perverted it. This is one of his specialties.

    The question is to whose beat are you drumming? The beat of God the Father (YHVH)? The World? Satan? Or self?

  5. We have a whole worship and praise band at our church. Guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drum set, and even a bass clarinet I think.

    Personally I believe that the intention behind playing an instrument determines if it is for God or for the devil. If a person is drumming to summon demons, by all means keep that out of the church. On the other hand if the intention at heart is to praise God, then it is perfectly acceptable.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

    Great article!

  6. I think many people miss the point entirely on this issue. The idea that any instrument can be inherently evil is absurd and not worthy of discussion.
    The problem I have with drums in church worship is twofold. The first reason is simple – they are always way too loud. They are disruptive and in many cases inappropriate to the song being sung. How many times must someone impose his or her conviction on the congregation that Amazing Grace or Great is Thy Faithfulness needs a backbeat? Pul-eeze.
    FYI, I’m a 20+ year professional musician and university Composition teacher, been in rock bands forever and have no built-in prejudice against contemporary music. I play it every Thursday night.
    The second problem I have with a drum kit in worship is that the relationship of drums (especially the back beat) to secular music is singular and beyond debate, and therefore to pretend that there’s no inherent association with it is absurd. I hope I’m not alone when I say that I want my worship experience to be as much unlike my Monday through Saturday experience as possible. I want to have a sense of God’s otherness, His unique characteristics. I need to be reminded of my smallness and dependence. I do not need the comfort of familiar and toothless rock or pop songs dipped in Jesus. As far as that goes, give me Led Zeppelin on 12 over the emasculated soft pop of the average worship tune any day. At least it wouldn’t be trying to sit on both sides of the fence.
    I feel about the music I hear in church music like a friend of mine (sadly) regards his sister – “She’s a nice person, but if she wasn’t my sister I would never be friends with her.” I would never listen to this music outside of church. I realize that many people do, and I’m the oddball as usual.

    I wonder how many fans of soft rock/pop worship would like to have the sermons follow the same culturized model?
    “And Jesus was like, “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed…” and the disciples were like….”Wow”…

    OK, you can all start flaming me now.

    • Hi John, I’m not the author of course but thought I would reply. You have a valid point insofar as the volume goes. I have no problem with drums, in fact the music is not as good without them, same as no bass. Music is of course based on preference, and some as you said is fairly worthless. But there is a whole lot more to it that issues with drums. Having done sound for a church I know of many issues – to loud overall, drums to loud, lead singer volume to low, backup singers overshadowing the lead, guitars to high or drowned out by bass etc.

      Worship first and foremost needs to be about God, not us. 🙂

      God bless
      Greg

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