Singing - everybody's doing it.

I'd bet you know the words to your team's fight song and have an optimal volume somewhere around "verbose" to show your love of team.

You hopefully know the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it (even that word that's high - laaand of the freeEEEEE!). You can probably get the first and last verses to Amazing Grace, even if they are wrong..

Look, everyone sings.  EVERYONE loves some kind of music.  And everyone sings.  In the *least* everyone hums.  Or claps.  Or jives.  Or taps their foot. 

But when it comes to singing in church, we can't seem to get our mojo going.

Just a word of warning - I won't call anyone out directly here and non-participation is certainly not the case in *all* churches - just a bit in mine.  Maybe we are just naturally quiet people?  Which is great - there is nothing wrong with being a quiet person.  This post isn't about that.

And believe me, some days you just don't feel like singing (tired, sad, mind is elsewhere) but I'm talking about those people who have justified their non-participation day in and day out - but do sing in other areas of life.

Songs serve different purposes, after all.  You don't want a dirge at a wedding and if we SANG a dirge and you were smiley happy all over the place, I'd look at you funny.

But most songs we sing in the church are celebratory or praise or even joyful.

Bottom line is this: everyone sings... but not at church.  For some reason, some folks in (my) church do not.  I have some thoughts about this, and ways that we can encourage more singing.

Reasons they don't sing:
  1. They don't believe the words that are coming out of their mouths.
  2. The music isn't very good (uninspired).
  3. It's not their "thing".  And by thing they mean a.) they think they can't sing. b.) they think it's girly.
So yeah, I'm calling you out.  I hear ya - I can understand why you feel this way, but that's no reason NOT to sing.  Okayokay, we can do better in the church with our music.  Always room for improvement in the least - and if Billy-Bob over there hits a sour note right when you and God are having a moment - that's kind of a problem.

To you folks who are worried about becoming gurly-men out there, I've seen you give it your best at karaoke or make a friend smile by being goofy.  I know you *can* sing.  And I've heard the fight songs of football teams from people who wouldn't speak louder than a mouse when they come into a sanctuary.

Why should you sing?

  1. It's like smiling.  If you do it, it actually makes you feel better.
  2. God deserves better.
  3. We absorb it better.
 That's right.  I'm pulling that card.  Sometimes we don't sing for ourselves.  God enjoys our worship and enjoys it even more when you choose to worship fully, even when you didn't get home til 1:30 last night. 

Now, when I say he enjoys that I'm not saying the inverse is true - I don't think God suddenly loves us less because we sound bad (and yes, some people sound bad).  But hey, didn't God make you?  Isn't Jesus in on that whole knowing your limits and grace and appreciating who you are unconditionally?  I think there are other things God gets a lot more angry about than if you flub "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing"

But when you do sing (like smiling) you find yourself feeling and understanding the thoughts and praises you are singing about.  Sometimes there are things in the songs that we need to know - and by know, we need to hear - and by hear, I mean we need to hear it come from our own lips and the lips of those next to us so we can believe it.

I'd rather everyone come to worship and not sing than not come to worship. 

If you don't enjoy singing - hang in there and start small.  I promise you you'll find a song about God you'll enjoy.  You might start as simple as tapping your foot or humming - but let a song pull you in.

If you do enjoy singing - please do it for God.  Worship on Sundays is corporate and nothing causes more of a distraction on a Sunday than you trying to prove to the people around you *just how much* you love God.

If you don't enjoy singing and can't stand that guy who does - focus!  Stick to God.  a little grace, please. :)  Always assume that the person worshiping beside you is doing it for God and not just to make you angry or draw your attention.

What about you?  Why do you think we should sing louder/fuller/better?  Why do you not like singing?


  1. I'm so glad to hear someone else say this! Amen, Jack!

    The Psalms say over and over to make a "joyful NOISE". Nowhere do they say, "Make a perfectly in-tune sound worthy of Simon Cowell's approval."

    I love the words in the praise anthem "I Love You, Lord". The last phrase says, "Take joy, my King, in what you hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear." God knows what is in our hearts and when we are truly praising Him in song, I believe it is a sweet sound to him. Remember that He is the one that gave you that voice to praise Him. Forget what anyone else around you thinks. Make a joyful noise!

  2. I love singing in SDL. It is one of my faves and when I heard them doing Amazing Grace(my chains are gone) I got all happy and then we sang It is Well With My Soul- oh! I just loved it. 2 of my faves. Plus through Seth and the band I have been turned on to good music like Dave Crowder Band and Chris Tomlin. So, I sing. Matt kind of sings but more or less just moves his mouth. :)

    Oh and the Snuggs sing bc they sometimes sit behind us! Ha.

  3. for me, singing and music is the best form of worship. I love to sing.

    I do think that sometimes however, especially in the more contemporary style worship, some churches (a church I visited in Houston recently comes to mind), the worship service becomes a worship performance. The music can be overbearing--new, different, loud (which all can be good, but can also make it hard to become a participant), and sometimes it seems like the whole service is designed so that no one but the praise team or worship leaders are supposed to join in. Or my favorite (at the church in Houston), the worship leader was jumping around and acting like a rock star. I'm all for enjoying worship, but when it feels like the whole thing is a of glorification of certain individuals it loses its holiness.

    Then you get to the user friendliness of worship, contemporary worship in particular.. No sheet music so that those who can or want to read it can know what the music is doing like you have with old school hymnals, words on screen don't always match what's being sung (or those who can't see the screens, example: wheelchair users or others who can't stand long periods or those with limited vision, can't see the words and participate fully. There have been many times when I truly want to sing and worship, but can't because I don't know the words and am not feeling well enough to stand). Sometimes it's just so loud that it feels like you're yelling at God instead of singing to Him.


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