Looking out into our congregation during corporate worship each Sunday, I see a variety of expressions. Some people are singing loudly and intensely, others are looking around nervously, some have their arms folded and lips pursed, while others look to be mumbling quietly in hopes that no one will hear them.
As a lifelong musician and vocalist, I understand that corporate worship can be an intimidating time for non-singers. For many people, singing aloud in any context besides their own shower is mortifying or just undesirable. Combine that with a multitude of distractions (kids, lunch plans, song preferences, etc) and some people are just waiting for it to end.
But, what if we’re missing out on a Biblical activity with a formative purpose? Is singing in church reserved for those can actually carry a tune? Or is it meant for everyone?
Here are 3 reasons why all of us should be singing together in corporate worship:
1. It’s a Biblical command.
Ps. 149:1 “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly.
There are 400 references to singing in the Bible, and at least 50 direct commands for the people of God to sing. It’s clear that God meant for His people to sing in a variety of contexts and situations, as a response to His goodness. There’s even a whole book (Psalms) written by King David (and others) that describes the breadth of the Christian experience through songs. (You might consider it an ancient Top-40, or 150)
If you follow Jesus, God is calling you to sing out to him! Whether you are a good singer, bad singer, old singer, young singer, loud singer, or soft singer – the point is to sing together as God’s people to make one voice. This is a beautiful picture of the unity of the Church.
2. Songs help us learn and retain the Truths of God.
Practically speaking, singing actively engages us in remembering and reciting God’s Truth. In the same way children learn their ABCs through song, melody and rhythm helps our brain retain information more effectively.
Since God has designed our brains to work in this way, singing serves as an opportunity to store God’s Word in our hearts. We can listen to and sing our corporate worship songs throughout the week to remind us of God’s character and goodness. As we remember and recall these truths, we are being formed into the image of God’s Son.
3. Worship language forms us.
We are commanded in Scripture to sing not because God needs it – but because we do. The songs we sing form our images of God, our understanding of human brokenness, our affections, and our practices for engaging the world. This happens at the individual level and the corporate (group) level. Furthermore, singing over each other (Eph. 5: 19-20) bonds us together and encourages us in the faith.
Consider this: When we scan the room during corporate worship to see our brothers and sisters singing together – it reminds us that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves (the Church) and encourages us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Singing in corporate worship may not be your talent, your favorite pastime, or something you feel like doing – but when God’s people sing together, it is for our good and His glory.