Saturday, January 14, 2017

Why Congregational Singing Matters Today More than Ever

Just as home entertainment has morphed from family and neighborhood sing-alongs to the ability to consume whatever music the global professionals offer, the church has shifted away from an emphasis on corporate singing. At best, larger churches have shifted to more professional, performance-oriented music. And smaller churches have adopted less of the traditional “come one, come all” since because it feels outdated, irrelevant, and at times downright embarrassing. Who can compete with the masters, after all?

It seems our society’s progress has played a role in the end of congregational singing. Right?


Congregational singing is far from dead, mainly because it’s connected to a source of life higher than cultural trends or modern comparisons. Even so, it receives less attention and adulation than it should—and there are several reasons. First, people tend to be attracted to larger churches where the “performance” of music approximates the professional; in principle, there’s nothing wrong with that. Second, the music in most churches tends to be so loud that the congregation simply cannot hear itself sing. Third, smaller churches with less ability to produce professional-sounding music tend to minimize singing altogether, so as to minimize embarrassment or perceived weakness.

But now is the moment to re-embrace the crucial role of congregational singing in our churches. Singing is an act of obedience; we gather and sing because we’re called to. Like telling the truth. Like loving our wives and our children. Like loving our neighbor as ourselves. These may seem like bold statements, but consider this: Singing is a real and tangible expression of loving the Lord with our whole hearts and our whole selves, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Singing is also a privilege, a foretaste of heaven. After all, one day in the future every tribe, language, nation, and people will sing as one congregation before the throne of the risen Lamb. Until then, we find a microcosm of that day in the unimpressive form of congregational worship. As we anticipate the matchless glories of heaven, there’s immeasurable value in our singing together on earth. The extent of this importance becomes increasingly realized in three ways. Read More

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