Keith Getty lists five of the many reasons we should all sing passionately in church this Sunday:
Each week, upwards of 100 million people in America attend church, listen responsively to the sermons, and pray sincerely. But when it comes time to sing the hymns, the level of engagement drops dramatically.
There are many proposed reasons for this fall off, all of which hold validity. It could be the wider culture’s waning interest in community singing, the diminishing levels of music education in the West, the role of choirs in schools, the unstable and increasingly narcissistic elements in church music, or even the spiritual state of our nation as a whole.
For millennia, music has been an integral part of corporate worship. The first hymns are as old as the early books of the Bible. The disciples and early church leaders sang those songs and added some of their own.
Notable thinkers throughout history (and into the current era) — everyone from Luther to Bach to John Newton — have so believed in the importance of corporate worship that they, too, contributed to the grand canon of hymns we know today.
As a contemporary hymn writer who travels to cities worldwide, I love to meet pastors and worship leaders and encourage them to lead their congregations in deeper, more passionate singing. Here are just five of the many reasons we should all sing passionately in church this Sunday:
1. We are commanded to sing.
We are called to sing — indeed, the Scriptures command us more than 250 times to sing. It’s hardly one of those “controversial” issues that is hard to ascertain precisely what scripture is saying. It’s not a choice. It’s not dependent on “feeling like it.” It’s not our prerogative.
Throughout biblical history, in every place and circumstance — in victory and defeat, in celebrations and festivals, in death and mourning — singing was second nature for people of faith. Indeed, the largest book of the Bible — Psalms — is itself a songbook that explores the range of human experience and interaction with God through singing.
In the New Testament, Paul tells the early churches to get together and sing. In Ephesians 5, he reiterates the call of old to engage with each other in the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, making music from the heart.