Singing Together

Have you ever tried to something alone that was designed to be done with others? The other day I was at the beach with my family and I went down early to put up the big tent so we could have some shade while sitting and relaxing. But as hard as I tried, I found it very difficult to put this large tent up by myself. It would have taken only a few minutes with another person, but for one person it was quite a struggle. Putting up a tent that large was meant to be done with a few people, not just one person alone.

I believe singing in church is meant to be done together. Surely there are some with mics and some without, but we are gathered to sing together not to simply listen to others sing. Some people have the gift of singing, but that should not stop people from lifting a joyful noise. Our singing does not have to be perfect for it to honor God. In the church I grew up in, there was a little lady that sat behind us every Sunday who could not carry a tune to save her life. But the genuineness and sincerity of her praise was moving.

I love the language Psalm 100 and it mentions the communal activity of gathering and singing praise:

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

A few thoughts. First, the Psalm implies that people are already singing before they come into His presence. Singing praise to God is something that defines our life, not simply something done at church. We enter his presence already praising God. And secondly, the response for being His people (those He cares for and protects) is to sing together in praise as one people joining in one voice. There is no better way to thank him than to praise him. Entering his gates with thanksgiving is something we do together as a singing people.

There is some science behind the value and power of singing together. Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and music producer, has spent years studying the impact of music on the brain. He found that when people sing together, the brain releases oxytocin, which could be called the “trust” hormone. We develop a sense of community when we sing with others. If one of the goals of your worship ministry is to create a community of worshippers, this is good knowledge to keep in mind. When people sing together, they feel connected with one another.

So a few questions to ask:

1.) Do you sing songs that the average congregant can sing?

2.) Are songs in keys that only a professional singers could sing?

3.) If your church does not sing in the way you would like, why do you think that is?


One comment

  1. dm2421

    One of my great pleasures: to hear the congregation sing when all the instruments stop during an a capella section.
    Thanks for the post Stewart.
    Doug Miller

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