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Some are instructing churches to turn down the music volume during their Sunday morning gathering. We cannot dismiss these arguments as complaints from old curmudgeons within the church, such as the argument that a lower volume of music emphasizes corporate singing. However, I’m not sold that the best way to encourage corporate singing is turning down instruments’ volume.
The goal of leading corporate song is to facilitate the joyful singing of God's people. Anything you do should tend toward their participation and full engagement. This means that your leading of the singing should be simple and predictable enough so that the congregation can jump on board, and also compelling enough that they want to jump on board.
In A Home and a Hunger: Songs of Kingdom Hope, singer/songwriter Caroline Cobb invites listeners to sing the story of God’s kingdom. Cobb has emerged as a unique and needed voice as she attempts to make biblical theology accessible for old and young, new believers and longtime Christians, for those who know their need and for those who think they’re doing OK.
The joy of the good news of Jesus outshines all other joys, making it seem like we must be dreaming, filling our mouths with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy. So our worship services should feel joyful, right? On the whole, yes, of course, they should. But that is far from the whole story.
Congregational songs must be singable enough that unmusical people can participate and theologically understandable enough for new believers to benefit from their truth. But the biggest struggle I see when songwriters show me new congregational worship songs isn’t musical or theological. The greatest struggle in writing good congregational worship songs is structural.
Our church sings original music. Not always, but sometimes we do it. Most of the time it’s awesome, but other times, it’s an exercise of patience for our congregation. Recently someone asked me to explain why our church writes original music, so I’ve been thinking about all the ways songwriting serves our local church....Read More ➔
Song and melody not only unite us with others, but also touch parts of our hearts that might surprise us. This Independence Day liturgy took a truth that wasn’t immediately at the forefront of my mind and moved me from passive forgetfulness into active gratitude....Read More ➔
In a day and age where so many distractions are fighting for our attention, one of the best ways we can help center our people’s hearts is through a specific and pointed call to worship. It urges people to turn from worldly distractions and set their minds, hearts, and attention on the glory of God....Read More ➔
1. Dividing congregations along age and affinity lines. 2. Eliminating choral expressions in worship. 3. Worship leader ageism. 4. Elevating music above Scripture, Prayer and the Lord’s Supper. 5. Making worship and music exclusively synonymous. 6. Trying to recreate worship with each new generation. 7. Ignoring the Christian Calendar and adopting the Hallmark Calendar. 8. Worshiping like inspiration stopped with the hymnal. 9. Worshiping like inspiration s...Read More ➔
The songwriters of the Church have a special responsibility. We should be writing songs that expose God’s people to more and more of His powerful, life-changing Word....Read More ➔
Whatever the ambient volume of our sanctuary, there is a more critical matter of volume and understanding at play. It is one of the most glorious truths in the universe: implicit, and seldom mentioned. That is, when we gather to worship at our local churches, behind all our prayers and all our songs, behind all our exhortations and all our encouragements: the Lord hears....Read More ➔
I recently had a conversation about the process of creating art with a friend who writes movie scripts. As we talked, I mentioned a difficulty I’ve had in writing a song that I’m actually happy with. I’m trying to write more because I want to cultivate this gift in my own life and serve the congregation I am privileged to lead. But it’s been frustrating....Read More ➔