How Paul Strang Uses His Spirit-Given Gift of Music to Make a Difference

How Paul Strang Uses His Spirit-Given Gift of Music to Make a Difference

Music has always played a huge role in the church, especially the charismatic church. Host Stephen Strang's younger brother, Paul, has been a music minister his entire adult life. Listen to hear how Paul uses this gift to minister to others and to learn about his own music ministry called Brighter Day.

12 Minutes • 24 days ago

Episode Notes

The Strang Report

with Stephen Strang

Guest: Paul Strang

Music has always played a huge role in the church, especially the charismatic church. Host Stephen Strang's younger brother, Paul, has been a music minister his entire adult life. Listen to hear how Paul uses this gift to minister to others and to learn about his own music ministry called Brighter Day.

Introduction

Stephen Strang: Music, especially worship music, is a big part of Christianity certainly of the Charismatic church. Hello, everyone, I'm Stephen Strang and welcome to the Strang Report. Today, I'm going to talk to another Strang, Paul Strang. He's my kid brother and he has been a music minister his entire adult life. So, I consider him an expert about worship music. We've covered this many, many times in Charisma magazine. In fact, a recent cover was on the ministry of Hillsong, which is one of the biggest producers, I guess you'd say, of music. When you were in town once before we did a podcast and got quite a good response. We were talking about music. In fact, if anyone's interested, all the podcasts are there at charismapodcastnetwork.com/strangreport, and all you have to do a search for it. They're all there in order going backwards. So, you may want to check it out. But let's talk about music because music is constantly changing; from the time we were children where we would sing songs like “The Old Rugged Cross.” Then we were singing songs like Doris Akers’ “There's a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this Place.” and “Alleleuia” from the Charismatic movement in the 1970s. It's constantly evolving and nowadays, even Baptist churches and non-denominational churches will have a worship band or worship group and they're lifting their hands and they're clapping and they're doing all these kinds of things that we associate with Pentecostal music. So, I've given kind of my background on it, why don't you give me your perspective of the evolution that you've seen, at least since the 1970s, when you would have first become a music minister at First Assembly of God and Lexington.

·         Read the Strang Report: How My Brother is Using His Spirit-Given Gift of Music to Make a Difference

Paul Strang: Having been a musician all of my life or enjoying music, I found it natural to be involved in the music ministry and seeing the many different kinds of music that are utilized now as opposed to years ago when it was …

Steve Strang: You have not been a musician all your life. I remember those early days of piano lessons. Thankfully, you improved and by the time you went to college, you were pretty efficient. At least mom always said that.

Paul Strang: Yes, yes, she was my biggest fan but utilizing the music of the culture and of the day to worship with, before, there used to be a strict dichotomy between church music and other music. Now there's a lot more acceptance of other styles that go along with good music and worship expression. Because of the evolution of all kinds of music in the worship field and the kinds of things that are going on now, it's a wide-open market.

Steve Strang: In fact, with Hillsong, and especially Darlene Czchech, who had been their first big recording artist, and she did “Shout to the Lord,” which was huge. And they did it on some secular show, what was it, “America's Got Talent”, or one of those shows .. they had all the contestants do it. It was almost like you're in church. It was on YouTube, that's where I saw it. I almost couldn't believe that in a very, very secular setting, they had chosen “Shout to the Lord.” I guess they considered it just kind of a feel-good song.

Paul Strang: It's a worldwide, phenomenon and especially in the church realm, but even beyond.

Steve Strang: And then the song “I Can Only Imagine,” which we all know that song. I think it's sung at every funeral now. I didn't know it was such a big song until the movie came out and found out it was the No. 1 recorded Christian song of all time. It is very simple, but very profound, and really touches people in a very deep way.

Paul Strang: I think it has a contemporary value in that even though it was written for a memorial to the author's father, it has taken on a worship basis in its own just because of the imagination, trying to discover what is it like to be in the Lord's presence, both in the now and in the future, he can only imagine. I think that's what hit the nerve of the general populace, the wideness of that scope, and will I bow before you, will I shout hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all. Those kinds of lyrics were very indicative to a lot of worshippers at the time and it's still the No. 1 seller on the Christian market.

Steve Strang: It is an excellent movie. If you haven't seen it, you need to see it. It's really very, very moving and a well-done movie. So, we were talking over dinner and you were talking about how the Lord has opened some doors with you with senior citizens. I think even with mom being in an assisted living center, you play the old songs. What is it that touches people so deeply, even people that maybe weren't churchgoers necessarily, but maybe they're a little older now … what is it that really touches people?

Paul Strang: I think what people value from their past, I've heard it said that between the ages of 16 and 26 you absorb more of the music in that time and so it's remembered on and on and on. So, when you go back with the all the old jazz standards that I do at some of these senior living centers, they sing along or they mouth the words with me, and it just touches them in some way and even at some of the memory centers that I play, it does strike a memory chord to some of them. It's fun to just see them enjoy the music. I think that's true across the board.

Steve Strang: And didn’t you say something that even with some of the older people who have dementia, that music will help them? Tell me about it.

Paul Strang: I'm not really sure whether it's just sparking memories or things from the past that are somewhat buried, but it can resurface. And they seem to smile when they hear something they recognize. And that's always a nice thing to know. Good music is good music, but when it's known on the inside, it has a resonation, that some music that you hear and say, well, that's nice sounding but when you know it, it resonates inside. I think that's why some people are so fond of the things that they grew up on, the things that stick with them the most.

Steve Strang: I've seen you minister. I was going to say perform. That's probably the wrong term, isn't it, in some of the settings where you'll be at the piano, which is I guess your number one instrument even though I remember you played the trumpet. I remember the trumpet lessons too. So, people would just throw out songs, titles of songs, and you play everything. I can't believe it.

Paul Strang: It's a gift from the Lord. Some people call it playing by ear. But if I know a song, I can play it just because I know it from the inside. It may not be the best rendition, but that is truly a gift from the Lord. I can't take any credit because I didn't learn what I do from the piano lessons. That was just kind of a basic building block. But I'm thankful for them. It gave me an introduction to music and so forth. But what I do is really totally a gift from God.

Steve Strang: And, of course, you have your own music ministry called Brighter Day. You minister at different churches. You're from Lexington, Kentucky, so it's mainly places easy to travel to Lexington but if people wanted to get hold of you and find out more about Steve's kid brother, what would they do?

Paul Strang: The name of the outfit is brighter day music. While we don't have a website yet, I'm thinking about doing that kind of thing. But I have an address and a phone number at (859) 351-1878 and the address is 431 Monticello Boulevard, Lexington, Kentucky, 40503 and also can be contacted on email at p.strang@twc.com.

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·         The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·         The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

Episode Notes

The Strang Report

with Stephen Strang

Guest: Paul Strang

Music has always played a huge role in the church, especially the charismatic church. Host Stephen Strang's younger brother, Paul, has been a music minister his entire adult life. Listen to hear how Paul uses this gift to minister to others and to learn about his own music ministry called Brighter Day.

Introduction

Stephen Strang: Music, especially worship music, is a big part of Christianity certainly of the Charismatic church. Hello, everyone, I'm Stephen Strang and welcome to the Strang Report. Today, I'm going to talk to another Strang, Paul Strang. He's my kid brother and he has been a music minister his entire adult life. So, I consider him an expert about worship music. We've covered this many, many times in Charisma magazine. In fact, a recent cover was on the ministry of Hillsong, which is one of the biggest producers, I guess you'd say, of music. When you were in town once before we did a podcast and got quite a good response. We were talking about music. In fact, if anyone's interested, all the podcasts are there at charismapodcastnetwork.com/strangreport, and all you have to do a search for it. They're all there in order going backwards. So, you may want to check it out. But let's talk about music because music is constantly changing; from the time we were children where we would sing songs like “The Old Rugged Cross.” Then we were singing songs like Doris Akers’ “There's a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this Place.” and “Alleleuia” from the Charismatic movement in the 1970s. It's constantly evolving and nowadays, even Baptist churches and non-denominational churches will have a worship band or worship group and they're lifting their hands and they're clapping and they're doing all these kinds of things that we associate with Pentecostal music. So, I've given kind of my background on it, why don't you give me your perspective of the evolution that you've seen, at least since the 1970s, when you would have first become a music minister at First Assembly of God and Lexington.

·         Read the Strang Report: How My Brother is Using His Spirit-Given Gift of Music to Make a Difference

Paul Strang: Having been a musician all of my life or enjoying music, I found it natural to be involved in the music ministry and seeing the many different kinds of music that are utilized now as opposed to years ago when it was …

Steve Strang: You have not been a musician all your life. I remember those early days of piano lessons. Thankfully, you improved and by the time you went to college, you were pretty efficient. At least mom always said that.

Paul Strang: Yes, yes, she was my biggest fan but utilizing the music of the culture and of the day to worship with, before, there used to be a strict dichotomy between church music and other music. Now there's a lot more acceptance of other styles that go along with good music and worship expression. Because of the evolution of all kinds of music in the worship field and the kinds of things that are going on now, it's a wide-open market.

Steve Strang: In fact, with Hillsong, and especially Darlene Czchech, who had been their first big recording artist, and she did “Shout to the Lord,” which was huge. And they did it on some secular show, what was it, “America's Got Talent”, or one of those shows .. they had all the contestants do it. It was almost like you're in church. It was on YouTube, that's where I saw it. I almost couldn't believe that in a very, very secular setting, they had chosen “Shout to the Lord.” I guess they considered it just kind of a feel-good song.

Paul Strang: It's a worldwide, phenomenon and especially in the church realm, but even beyond.

Steve Strang: And then the song “I Can Only Imagine,” which we all know that song. I think it's sung at every funeral now. I didn't know it was such a big song until the movie came out and found out it was the No. 1 recorded Christian song of all time. It is very simple, but very profound, and really touches people in a very deep way.

Paul Strang: I think it has a contemporary value in that even though it was written for a memorial to the author's father, it has taken on a worship basis in its own just because of the imagination, trying to discover what is it like to be in the Lord's presence, both in the now and in the future, he can only imagine. I think that's what hit the nerve of the general populace, the wideness of that scope, and will I bow before you, will I shout hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all. Those kinds of lyrics were very indicative to a lot of worshippers at the time and it's still the No. 1 seller on the Christian market.

Steve Strang: It is an excellent movie. If you haven't seen it, you need to see it. It's really very, very moving and a well-done movie. So, we were talking over dinner and you were talking about how the Lord has opened some doors with you with senior citizens. I think even with mom being in an assisted living center, you play the old songs. What is it that touches people so deeply, even people that maybe weren't churchgoers necessarily, but maybe they're a little older now … what is it that really touches people?

Paul Strang: I think what people value from their past, I've heard it said that between the ages of 16 and 26 you absorb more of the music in that time and so it's remembered on and on and on. So, when you go back with the all the old jazz standards that I do at some of these senior living centers, they sing along or they mouth the words with me, and it just touches them in some way and even at some of the memory centers that I play, it does strike a memory chord to some of them. It's fun to just see them enjoy the music. I think that's true across the board.

Steve Strang: And didn’t you say something that even with some of the older people who have dementia, that music will help them? Tell me about it.

Paul Strang: I'm not really sure whether it's just sparking memories or things from the past that are somewhat buried, but it can resurface. And they seem to smile when they hear something they recognize. And that's always a nice thing to know. Good music is good music, but when it's known on the inside, it has a resonation, that some music that you hear and say, well, that's nice sounding but when you know it, it resonates inside. I think that's why some people are so fond of the things that they grew up on, the things that stick with them the most.

Steve Strang: I've seen you minister. I was going to say perform. That's probably the wrong term, isn't it, in some of the settings where you'll be at the piano, which is I guess your number one instrument even though I remember you played the trumpet. I remember the trumpet lessons too. So, people would just throw out songs, titles of songs, and you play everything. I can't believe it.

Paul Strang: It's a gift from the Lord. Some people call it playing by ear. But if I know a song, I can play it just because I know it from the inside. It may not be the best rendition, but that is truly a gift from the Lord. I can't take any credit because I didn't learn what I do from the piano lessons. That was just kind of a basic building block. But I'm thankful for them. It gave me an introduction to music and so forth. But what I do is really totally a gift from God.

Steve Strang: And, of course, you have your own music ministry called Brighter Day. You minister at different churches. You're from Lexington, Kentucky, so it's mainly places easy to travel to Lexington but if people wanted to get hold of you and find out more about Steve's kid brother, what would they do?

Paul Strang: The name of the outfit is brighter day music. While we don't have a website yet, I'm thinking about doing that kind of thing. But I have an address and a phone number at (859) 351-1878 and the address is 431 Monticello Boulevard, Lexington, Kentucky, 40503 and also can be contacted on email at p.strang@twc.com.

Where to Find Stephen Strang on the Internet

·         The Strang Report on Charismamag.com

·         The Strang Report on cpnshows.com

·         On Twitter

·         On Facebook

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How Paul Strang Uses His Spirit-Given Gift of Music to Make a Difference