In the last few months I have given you some of the rationale behind what we do in our corporate worship services. So far, I have discussed the prelude, the Welcome & Announcements and the Call to Worship. What is next, well check last week’s bulletin and you will find that it is time for me to address the “Songs of Praise” or, if we are having communion, the first “Hymn” (commonly known as the Hymn of Praise). The question I would want you to ask about the first corporate music we have in the service would be this: “What goes into choosing the first thing we sing?” Well that is a great question and I’m glad you asked, let us take a moment to explore that together.
As has already been alluded to a couple of times is that fact that our first corporate musical expression in worship should be a song of praise to our God. Always remember that when we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, we are singing our prayers and praises to God. When we pray it is very appropriate to follow the acronym A.C.T.S. which stands for “adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.” Notice the “A” is what we should pray first and that is “adoration.” Is it not appropriate to come to God in worship first with adoration and praise? Of course it is! He is worthy of all our praise and it is fitting for us to sing it to Him.
Most of the time we begin our corporate worship services with two songs led by the Praise Team. These are to focus our attention on our great God. We try to choose music that is at once Christ-centered, biblical, and singable. We want to the entire congregation to be able to sing the music and fully participate in the praises of God. On the first Sunday of the month, we typically begin with a hymn accompanied by the organ. When this is the case we usually pick what I would refer to as a “big hymn.” I think when we start with a hymn it should be a rousing hymn of praise which should be sung in a robust manner. Music is powerful and it sets the stage for what follows in worship. If we sing half-heartedly with a lackadaisical approach, that is the attitude we’ll bring into the rest of worship. If we sing with joy and strength with our hearts fully-engaged that is how we will continue as a congregation into the rest of worship.
As your pastor, the most common compliment I get from visitors is that we sing well. That is always so encouraging to me because good singing is usually a reflection of a good heart attitude toward the Lord. Even though we do sing well as a congregation, there are those that choose not to sing. If you are one of those people that will not sing, I would first challenge you to make a biblical argument for not singing during the corporate worship of God. Refusing to sing God’s praises for whatever reason is indicative of a heart that needs to be examined before the Lord.
I have heard some people say they are not capable of singing well so they don’t sing at all. Again, singing is a reflection of the heart’s attitude toward God. I often jokingly say, “If you can’t sing well, sing loud.” The Lord delights in a believer making a joyful noise out of a love for Him. God is not so much concerned with your technical ability as He is with your heart attitude. Conversely, the Lord is not pleased with the person, who may sing beautifully, but sings without any heart commitment to Him.
We have begun to have occasional hymn sings and during those times I have asked Jane Page to give some basic instruction in singing. I encourage you to come and participate in those events, especially if you don’t think you sing very well. If you will pay attention to some of those very basic principles and apply them, you will be amazed at the difference in your ability to sing well. Let us together make the most of every opportunity to praise the Lord together in song for His glory and for our good especially as we come before Him in corporate worship.