Have you ever wondered why we sing within a church service? As I write this, I am in a hotel on my way back from Nashville, TN. No, I did not visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, and to be honest, I don’t feel too bad about that. I did get to attend a concert at the Grand Ole Opry and enjoy some good southern BBQ. I was down there to attend the Sing!2019 Conference put on by Keith and Kristyn Getty. They would be most famous for the song, “In Christ Alone.” The conference was especially for Pastor’s, artists, and worship leaders and focused on worship within the congregation. I’m excited to share with you a little of what I learned.
Most of us know that we sing in church to worship God. “Worship” is one of those words we use, but don’t necessarily have a good understanding of what it means. When we worship God, we are proclaiming that He is worthy of reverence, and honor, and praise. When we sing in church, we are primarily singing to God.
There is a second important reason we sing. We sing to teach and encourage one another in our faith.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16, ESV)
Notice what it is saying. Singing is part of letting the Scripture “dwell in you richly.” Singing helps truth to take root in our hearts. Many of you probably have a favorite song or hymn that has meant a lot to you throughout your life because of what it tells you about God.
We sing in worship to God, and we sing for the purpose of “teaching and admonishing” one another. For both of these purposes, it is essential that the songs we sing are richly expressing the truth of Scripture. I’m just going to say it, not every “Christian worship song” is a good song. Worship songs should focus mostly on God, not us. As we worship God, we are focusing on what the Bible says about who He is and what He has done for us – especially what He has done for us through Christ. As we sing, we are also reminding each other of these same truths about God.
Some of you are reading this and thinking about how you don’t sing. According to one speaker at the conference, the second most common command in Scripture is to sing. God doesn’t command you to sound good, but He does command you to sing. I’d like to encourage you to be part of the singing within our service. We sometimes forget that our Sunday service is not simply for watching like a concert or sporting event. Instead, our service is something that we participate in together in worship of God and for the benefit of one another. We don’t need to be known as an extra musical congregation, but wouldn’t it be great to be known as a singing congregation!
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! (Psalm 47:6–7, ESV)