A PASTORAL APPROACH TO LEADING CONGREGATIONAL SONG

Paul Clark FBC choir2“What is going on here?” Perhaps no question is more potent or in some ways as unanswerable in regard to the regular weekly worship of our churches. William Willimon poses this question and says of the diagnosis of worship, “If we, as pastors, could learn to diagnose and analyze people’s worship, here would be a rich resource of insight and revelation.” For the person charged with pastoral music leadership in planning and leading worship music we would posit that Willimon’s statement is to be prayerfully considered, and the initial question is to ever be a haunting friend. In relation to congregational song it would be easy to assume that if the music fills the room, then we must be engaged in vibrant worship, and that is what is “going on here.” So lost are we at times that we may have fooled ourselves as pastoral musicians into confusing decibel level, assumed mood, and/or excellence in performance precision with genuine ministry in worship through this mysterious act of faith we call congregational song. But what about the needs and pastoral concerns of individuals, the church body, the community, Church, and the world? Should not the body of Christ expressing itself in communal song in worship provide effectual ministry toward these concerns?

Are we so busy singing about our own personal supposed closeness to God that we completely ignore the world we have been called to reconcile unto God?

“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood.”

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