Since the beginning of the year, it has been my joy to learn, grow, and lead the congregation in worshipping our God during Sunday Service times. I have had some experience in leading smaller groups in simple hymns and songs, but knew that this would be a time of development as I was now leading corporate worship in a larger setting with, quite frankly, many more voices!
As I was looking to step into this role, I began to study, read, and research the topic of congregational worship. While I am no expert, I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey and have quickly understood the great value and importance that singing plays in Christian and Church life. In many ways, one can tell the spiritual temperature of a congregation, based upon their singing.
Created to Sing Many may remember or continue to experience the singing and perhaps dancing qualities of children? I remember long drives in which my younger brother would produce music with sincerely rich lyric and catchy melodies.
Churnola Bars, Churnola Bars, yummy, yummy, yummy Churnola Bars, Churnola Bars, in my tummy, tummy.
Now I hope many of you will not join in mass chorus singing of granola bars at some point in the service! The point stands, we were created to sing, specifically to our God. Are we not compelled to sing out of thin air? As believers, someone stirs us to sing. When we were saved, our motivation comes from something more than ourselves, - our likes, our comfort levels, our musical tastes, and preferences. Intrinsically, as believers, the truth to sing is “Because I’m happy” and to “Sing because I am FREE.” Our singing must be driven and motivated by our freedom in the gospel. Think of the great doctrinal truth that Fanny Crosby penned in “To God be the Glory:”
"Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer the promise of God; The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives."
Committed to Doctrine While some may start with a particular style that doesn’t meet their musical preference, I believe that our desire should be to go for the doctrinal content. Can I provide a tip? Just because it sounds good and perhaps “God-Honoring,” does not mean it is doctrinally accurate. If the lyric was preached in a pulpit, many Christians would be appalled, yet when “masked” in music somehow the content is legitimate? This is concerning yet evident in many Christian circles both past and present. We do not back down from utilizing hymns and songs that promote the gospel, Christ’s death, atonement, and resurrection. We do not shy away from the singing of his virgin birth, nor do we shutter at expressing our sin and the great need for Him… “We will sing of our Redeemer and his wondrous love to me; and how on the cruel cross he suffered, from the curse to set me free.”
We do not need more shallow, vague, and gospel-lite congregational songs. Many churches promote that in order to be “seeker sensitive.” We desire to honor our God by singing truths found in Scripture and that clearly ascribe worth to Him and promote the gospel to lost souls.
Communication in Congregational Singing So what is the message that you are promoting as you sing in church this Sunday? Do you adequately express: REDEEMED? Whether you have an ability in tonal quality or not, singing is a heart expression! My goal is to pick songs that thematically match and promote Biblical truth. My prayer is the God would be honored and that these songs would continue with you and your family as you go about your week.