Tag Archives: corporate worship

Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore

As you search the internet it is amazing how many articles you can find on this subject. What strikes me about them is that my experience confirms what they say. And while some may want to say that we are making an issue over contemporary vs traditional, I think they miss the point. The reasons that Thom Schultz gives in his article are clearly not a stylistic preference issue, but an issue of application and presentation. (Schultz does a fair job of further explaining this in his follow-up article listed at the end.) It is this application of the music that has driven people from their involvement, not the style of music. People want to be engaged in the worship and not simply observers, but to often the music is presented in such a way that it discourages people from joining in. Maybe it is time we re-evaluate how we are presenting the music portion of the worship service, and some times the rest of the service as well.

Holy Soup

Looking around the church last Sunday I noticed that the majority weren’t singing. And most of those who were singing barely moved their lips. The only voices I actually heard were those on stage with microphones.

That’s been the case for years now–in churches large and small. What used to be congregational singing has become congregational staring.

Even when the chipper “worship leader” in contemporary churches bounds on stage and predictably beckons everyone to “stand and worship,” the people compliantly obey the stand command, but then they turn into mute mannequins.

What’s behind this phenomenon? What happened to the bygone sounds of sanctuaries overflowing with fervent, harmonizing voices from the pews, singing out with a passion that could be heard down the street? I suspect it’s a number of unfortunate factors.

Spectator set-up. Increasingly, the church has constructed the worship service as a spectator event. Everyone expects the people on stage to…

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The Journey Has Just Begun

Back on September 30 I posted the blog “Remembering Hymns and Their Place in the Church.” In that blog I committed to writing about a different hymn each day through the end of the year.  At the time, I thought it didn’t seem too much.  When I found myself in the middle of it, there were days I was not sure I could make it. Between my job, my various ministry commitments and my family, finding time to throw this into the mix was at times, near impossible.  But here we are, 93 days later and I lived up to my commitment.

Everyday, yes some were later in the day before they got published, but everyday I wrote. What I found is that some hymns I know like the back of my hand.  Some, I thought I knew, (maybe I only knew the first verse) but had never really looked at all the words. Some hymns are brilliantly profound and beautiful.  Some of the things we find in a hymn book, well there is a reason they are never used.

Most importantly though, I confirmed what I had already believed. The hymns still have a place in the church.  They bring unity to a diverse body.  They allow a genuine corporate worship of the body, that is everyone is personally involved in the worship and not simply following the whims of the leader. They are filled with deep reflection on the words of scripture.  They present theological truths that are foundational to what we believe.

Are hymns the only form of worship music? No.  There is a place, a time, a purpose for each.  But hymns, perhaps, best embody what Sunday morning has always been.  A time for the body to come together and renew as they join together to worship God as one.

So for the past 92 days I have written each and every day. As I move forward, there are still more hymns to consider. Starting today and going through Easter, I will continue to reflect on hymns, but I will cut back to three days a week.  My plan is to publish on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning to allow me the needed time to spend on my other ministry commitments as well.

Thank you to each of you who have joined me on this journey and I invite you to continue as we move now from the birth of Christ, to His glorious resurrection.