Greg Brewton says people leaving a worship service are more likely to be singing the words of a worship song than recounting the points of a sermon.
“Let me write the hymns of a church and I care not who writes the theology.” R. W. Dale
R.W. Dale, a nineteenth century English pastor, understood the vital importance of our congregational song lyrics. When music is used to accompany text, the text is heightened to a new level of remembrance. That is why people leaving a worship service are more likely to be singing the words of a worship song than recounting the points of a sermon. Congregational songs are not “filler” that leads to the sermon time. Through our worship songs we praise, pray, encourage and teach. One way worship leaders can disciple their congregations is through thoughtful song selection with great attention to lyrics.
Here are a few biblical principles to consider when choosing songs for congregational worship.
Our songs should be scripturally sound. The Apostle Paul tells Timothy to “rightly handle the word of truth” in 2 Timothy 2:15. Later in chapter 3 Paul reminds Timothy that ‘all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” As ministers we must give priority to the Word in worship and ensure it is rightly handled. When people are gathered in worship, we want everything spoken and sung to be rooted in Scripture. Is the song we are choosing scriptural truth? Not all worship songs are created equal in this way. Some popular worship songs can actually not be scripturally sound. As worship leaders we must have a theological foundation so we can wisely choose scripturally sound songs.