Singing In Worship

| Published:
Abraham Inetianbor

How often do you find yourself smiling when you hear a bunch of kids singing happily, even when they are not "100%" on key? Very often I would think because you see the honesty from their hearts, and you can tell they pay less or no attention to the harmony. Now think about how God feels when he listens to melody from our hearts even when all the notes are not on point or in complete harmony. Do you think this is just another one of a million reasons why Jesus wants us to be like little children? If so, why don't we adopt such attitude towards singing with an open heart and giving thanks to the Holy one?

Most people don't recite "book, chapter and verse" on their way home from a Sunday worship especially when driving or walking by themselves. Yet, you would agree that the majority of Christians are either talking or thinking about:
  • how boring or how great the worship service was; and/or
  • how excited they feel for "praising God today."
Yes, it has a lot to do with the singing and this is why some people unconsciously find themselves humming the closing song on their way home. A preacher can deliver the best message of his life on a Sunday and most people will not grasp the full message simply because their interest may have been lost due to poor congregational singing. How is this connected to singing you may ask. When I trained song leaders in the past, I always remind them that it's always about God and not us. Leading songs in worship is like leading a congregational sermon in harmony because we are speaking to one another. It is not an audition for "American Idol" or a talent competition.

In my humble opinion:
  • Opening song should be familiar and welcoming so people can get their minds right.
  • The song before the sermon should be familiar and upbeat so people can stay awake.
  • Closing song should be familiar and familiar and familiar and familiar. You get the point.
No part of worship is more important than the other and I'm not saying harmony is not important. However, singing, which is one of the major contributing factors to spiritual growth has been overlooked in some congregations. Not just for the melody or harmony, it’s mainly because these are spiritually designed words from the scriptures that not only encourage or motivates but it also enrich and uplifts the spirit. People get inspired by how involved or engaged everyone is when offering the sacrifice of praise to God. It's one thing not to know a particular song and it's something else to be ashamed to praise your God in front of your brothers and sisters.

You cannot deny the context of Colossians 3:15-17. We have been instructed to speak to one another through songs during worship and if we choose to sit at home, this scripture is not being carried out as intended. The walls of the building where we as Christians choose to meet, do not and will not speak to one another because we are the church. It’s fair to say that one of the main reasons two or more people needs to be gathered together in God’s name to worship is because it takes two or more (Matthew 18:20) to speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19).

So, simply put, there’s a lot more than communion that we miss out on when we don’t worship with the saints. When you read the book of Colossians chapter 3 and pretend for a second like you were reading the 10 commandments with “Thou Shalt,” you will never take singing in worship for granted. Reading the entire chapter makes verse 16 even stronger. We are instructed to make melody from our hearts to God and NOT melody from an instrumental. I love music to death but God's command is God's command. Also, there is absolutely no New Testament example for us to even come close to considering using instrumental music in worship to God. Can you do so on your own time? Absolutely. Just not when two or more people gather together for the sole purpose of worship to God.

  • I know some of you are familiar with Ephesians 5:19-20 about making melodies from our heart to God. So, NO, we do not need a “good voice” to sing in worship. Listening to the message of the songs is just as important as listening to the preacher deliver a sermon, and failure to do so is just like partaking in the communion in an unworthy manner. The words of the spiritual songs we sing are intended to dwell in us richly for the growth of the spirit.
  • Singing in worship is not the same as a Choir, Chorus, Band or any form of other organized professional singing groups. Would I personally love to hear an entire congregation sound professional like an A Capella chorus? For sure. If God wanted every congregation to sound just like that a hundred percent, I believe he would have made it a requirement to becoming a Christian.
  • How does this sound? Hear, Believe, Repent, “HAVE A GREAT VOICE” Confess, and be Baptized before you can be added to the Church. I don’t need to explain how silly this sounds. Thank goodness this is not what we have in the scriptures. Well, we have everything else except the part that requires a "good voice" to be saved.
  • Yes, the words of our songs are spiritual but the arrangements are not binding in any way, shape or form. Don’t be shy because you think you got a “note” wrong. It’s just a guide to get everyone on the same page as much as humanly possible. We are not auditioning for American Idol like I mentioned previously so there is no shame in singing if you know the song. And if you don't know the song, don't be ashamed either. You can just listen to your brothers and sisters tell one another: "Oh how I love Jesus because he first loved me.” “All to Jesus, I surrender.” “Alas, and did my savior bleed….” etc.
  • A successful sacrifice of praise to God is all in our ability to recognize the meaning and strength in the words of the songs we sing. It is not in the power of our voices or our ability to rigidly conduct, control or dissect musical note for note or bar to bar transition. The melody in our heart is derived from our recognition of the words as being true, and not profane. The very least we can do is let our meditation on the words of the songs be acceptable in the sight of our heavenly father who only can see, and listen to our hearts.
Let us sing like we know WHY we sing. You left your house to congregate for a reason so make it count when encouraging one another. Let us make beautiful melodies in harmony as much as we humanly can, and let God have the glory.

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