Russ Hutto cites John Wesley’s 7 guidelines for corporate singing.
In 1761, John Wesley penned 7 iconic guidelines for corporate singing for church congregations who would be singing out of the Select Hymns with Tunes Annext hymn book.
Believe it or not, in the 18th century it was fairly cutting edge to sing the classic hymns that we know and love today. So, with a heart towards helping people express their worship through song, Wesley added these directions to the beginning of this hymnal.
One of those is Sing All.
Sing All – see that you join the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.
Encourage your congregation to sing. Let them know it’s ok to join in! Invite them!
Some times people will see their own lack of skill in singing as an excuse not to join. But God doesn’t look on the outer appearance of a person. In the same way, He isn’t bothered by the sound of our voices. Because it’s the sound of our hearts that He cares about. Find ways to encourage your people to join in singing.
By doing any activity that a person isn’t the greatest at, there is an opportunity for humility. Yes, there also comes the possibility of embarrassment, but that’s not the point. As a worship leader you have the great privilege of helping people “find the voice of their heart.” No one, at any given time, should ever be ostracized for the lack of skill in singing.
Sure, there are exceptions when a person might be singing so obnoxiously loud that they then become a distraction. That is not the scenario we’re talking about here, and is also addressed in John Wesley’s Guidelines.
Here are some tips to encourage ALL singing:
1) Consider the entire setlist as opportunities for every vocal range to participate. Spread the lead range throughout several songs. Try not to make every song led by the same person (or same vocal range). If your entire setlist is led by a person with the vocal range of Johnny Cash, then only those folks who are comfortable in that range will join in heartily. Spread it around. Let a female lead a song, then let a male lead another song.