PASTORS, I HOPE YOU WANT YOUR PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY WE SING IN CHURCH

Singing Worship  The following excerpt from a book by Jonathan Leeman was posted by one of my pastor friends, Justin Wainscott, in his church’s weekly newsletter.  I believe it is highly significant that this encouragement is coming from the senior pastor to his people.  Our churches would be well served by more under-shepherds caring about how their flocks participate in corporate worship, and take simple steps like this one to help worshipers engage with head and heart.  It is one thing for the worship music leader to educate, and I certainly advocate that, but for many worshipers more gravity is given when the senior pastor makes such an effort as well. Here is the article as it appeared in the church’s newsletter:

WHY WE SING IN CHURCH

It is a helpful reminder of the significance of singing, and of congregational singing in particular.

Believers sing in churches because Christ has commanded us to sing (Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19). Yet let me unpack that truth by articulating three reasons for why I expect God would command his people to speak to one another not just in prose, but in poetry and melody.

We Sing To Own and Affirm the Word

Singing is how the congregation owns and affirms the Word for itself. In the Bible, singing is one God-ordained way for the members of a congregation to respond to God’s revelation. It’s how they raise their hand and say, “Yes, I believe and affirm these truths with my whole person.”

Churches sing because their new hearts can’t help but echo the Word, which has given them life. Whether those songs were written in the sixteenth century or today, they should echo Scripture. If there is any place where God’s Word should literally reverberate, it should reverberate in the church’s songs.

We Sing to Engage Our Emotions with God’s Word

Singing is how the congregation particularly engages its emotions and affections with God’s Word. When we sing, it’s hard to remain emotionally disengaged. Just as the sense of smell can evoke strong associations and memories, so the sound of music both evokes and provokes the heart’s joys, griefs, longings, hopes, and sorrows. Singing, I’d say, is the medium by which God’s people grab hold of his Word and align their emotions and affections to God’s.

We Sing To Demonstrate and Build Unity

Singing is one way of demonstrating and building corporate unity. Singing God’s Word is how a congregation tunes its heart together across the whole range of biblically-driven affections. And churches sing together because it helps us to see that our hearts’ praises, confessions, and resolutions are shared. We’re not alone.

What should be clear in all three reasons for why we sing is that singing in church should be about the church singing—congregational singing. Perhaps choirs and soloists can be carefully used to call the church to respond. And musical performances outside the gathered church are wonderful. But God has given music to the gathered church so that the people together can own, affirm, rejoice in, and unite around God’s Word. Far better than the sweet harmonies of a few trained singers is the rough and hale sound of pardoned criminals, delighting with one voice in their Savior.

The most beautiful instrument in any Christian service is the sound of the congregation singing.

Jonathan Leeman, Reverberation: How God’s Word Brings Light, Action, and Freedom to His People (Chicago: Moody Publishers), 156-158.

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church keyboard players, Church Music, Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leader Relationships, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

One Comment on “PASTORS, I HOPE YOU WANT YOUR PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY WE SING IN CHURCH”


  1. […] Pastors I Hope You Want Your People to Know Why We Sing in Church […]


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