The Importance of Congregational Singing


Praise God that so many churches have moved beyond this and (from what I can see) have embraced the kind of upward focus, musical variety, meaningful worship, and brotherly love and respect (or deference) that I believe God wants us to have. I would say that is the case with the church that I am part of.

So, whether it is the “clergy” (or church leadership), government, or our own preferences that threaten our church’s singing voice, we must keep in mind how critical our singing actually is. Here is what the Apostle Paul said about it:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16, ESV).

Leading up to those imperatives to sing in that verse, Paul wisely recognizes that there will be disagreements about our “doxology” (or how we arrange our worship to God). He instructs believers that when they have contentions about these things to:

Put on then, as Gods chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3: 12-14, ESV).

I love how he describes what happens when we are bound together and unified by love for one another: we are in “perfect harmony.” I don’t think I have ever sung a “perfect harmony,” but I do know that when a group of singers gets anywhere close to a good or great harmony, it sounds amazing, and it moves our souls.

And Paul is saying here that this type of togetherness is what we can and should have. And congregational singing is a big piece of that. It is the staff on which our notes hang.

But a church that does not sing has amputated one of its most important corporate spiritual disciplines.

Why Does This Matter to Us Today?

Over the last couple of years, I have begun to really learn to appreciate congregational singing more than anything else. I still love artful expression as well as musical excellence and good production, but I am learning that the most important aspect of corporate worship music is not what is on stage being played for the congregation; it is what is being sent back by the congregation: singing.

When God’s people sing, we are expressing their praise to God (vertically), we are encouraging and ministering to one another (horizontal), we are communicating the goodness of God and the beauty of the gospel to others (outward), and we are declaring and reminding ourselves of truth and God’s promises (inward).

Singing is such a wonderful spiritual discipline. So, Church… let’s sing!







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