JESUS IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH: WHY DO WE SING WHEN WE MEET?
Sometimes when children visit our church building, they are surprised that there are instruments in the building. What are they for? They ask. Singing is not something people in other religious groups do. If you think about it, apart from church, when do we sing? Perhaps you sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to family or a workmate. Perhaps you sing along to the radio, the brave people might sing to karaoke. So why do we sing in church?
What is church singing for?
Singing is a way for God to rule over our church family. We sing ideas that are from God’s word.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts (Colossians 3 verse 16)
Singing is a way that we show ‘yes, I believe these things.’ But singing is more than agreeing God’s word is true…
Singing is a way God teaches the church family to connect our feelings and our commitments or priorities with God’s Word. A special aspect of singing is the musical aspect. Music can remind us of special feelings or it can help bring on those feelings in us. Good church songs will help us put the right emotions to the words.
But singing is more than a way to agree with the truth of God’s word and to feel right about it…
Singing is one way of showing we agree with each other and of making the church family united. Church singing is normally something we do together. When I speak, you listen, when you speak, I listen, but when we sing, we speak together. By singing songs together, we stop church from being a performance by just a few people. Singing together is one way of showing we are one.
Christian singing is for telling the truth, for showing or learning the right feelings and for being a united church family.
So what makes a good church song?
Many of us have a favourite hymn or chorus, but if our songs are for truth, for feeling and for unity, we need to make sure our songs help those things.
Christian singing is
• for telling the truth,
• for showing or learning the right feelings
• for being a united church family.
Truth: Christian songs do not have to be sentences of the Bible copied into a song. A good song can be a poem that teaches us the word of God. Some songs are not true. Some songs make false claims about God’s promises or about ourselves (along the lines of “All I ever think about is you Lord”). We should not sing them.
Feelings: God’s goodness to us is a reason for great joy. Our songs should help us feel that. That is not the only feeling songs should show. Other songs will help us show sadness or feel sad about our sin or about our suffering.
Songs are for the whole church family to sing. Some songs are true, helping right emotions, but the tune is too hard for us to sing. We should not try to sing them. So a good song is one that we can
sing together – some songs are amazing when a great performer sings them, but if we tried, it would fall flat.
What does this mean for our singing on a Sunday?
The musicians and song leaders serve the church by helping us to sing. The role of the song leader is to help us to sing, and they will know if they have fulfilled that ministry when they can hardly be heard because of the singing by the church family – so join in!
Singing is not just a way for us to express our feelings. God can use it to teach us the right feelings. So don’t wait until you feel like singing –so join in!
The most beautiful instrument in any church meeting is the sound of the congregation singing. You may not be the best singer. It doesn’t matter. God wants you to stand with other Christians and sing with them – so join in!