Why Your Church Does Not Sing

And What To Do About It

Recently I’ve attended several churches as an incognito visitor and I’ve noticed a trend – a lot of people don’t seem to be singing in worship these days! There definitely seems to be a decline in congregational singing from say, 10-15 years ago.

Now this is an admittedly subjective observation – I am probably biased as a musician/singer/worship leader. And this post is not intended to be a judgmental critique nor an angry rant. I’d recommend any of these churches. They were friendly, offered great hospitality, excellent music and solid, inspired teaching.

However, the idea that “Churches don’t sing anymore” has been a hot topic of discussion among worship thought leaders for a while.  From my non-scientific sample of churches, I’d say it’s an accurate trend. A Google search of “why churches don’t sing” will find many articles from a wide range of perspectives. I especially appreciated an excellent in depth series from Kent Sanders entitled: Whatever Happened to Singing in Church?

I have a very different take from what I’ve been reading and in this post I’ll offer my own thoughts on Why Your Church Does Not Sing. I’ll also offer some practical solutions both long term and short term. In fact you can experience some level of breakthrough in congregational singing almost immediately if you follow some of the suggestions in this article. 

But first a qualifier – I have no interest in firing another salvo in the never ending worship wars. I see worship as a worldview and a lifestyle. Music is just one aspect of the congregational worship experience, but it is strategic and important.

I appreciate and see value in almost every style of music and church culture out there. This post is not about the very tired arguments concerning preferences over musical styles, hymns vs modern worship, consumeristic mentality, or the evils of modern production techniques.

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How Can We Change the Way the World Encounters God ?

So I’ve been following along with this series called “The Journey of Worship”” taught by Ray Hughes,at Grace Center in Franklin, TN. You can watch the videos here. 

And I got his 107 Things I Forgot to Say by Ray Hughesbook “107 Things I Forgot To Say The Last Time I Talked About Worship, Creativity and Music

It’s a guided journal exercise to “slow down”, fully experience life, and hear the voice of God. Like all things, you can get as much out of it as you’re willing to put into it.

In this article I’ll share my first journal entry. His first inciting quote from page 1 is this:

“If we can change the way that the church understands music and worship, we will change the way the world encounters God.”  – Ray Hughes

This is a big idea, and quite profound if you’re serious about exploring and applying the answers. This is important because, in many areas, the “world” is rejecting God as represented today by the church. Many, many churches are struggling and in decline. 

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Coaching / Mentoring / Consulting

Get results with support, advice, and solutions.

If you need support, advice, and encouragement in worship ministry, maybe I can help.

I’ve been leading, teaching and mentoring in worship ministry for over 20 years. I’ve served as a volunteer and later as full time church staff. I’ve lead the worship ministries of large, medium and small churches. I’ve served as an advisor to pastoral leaders in dozens of ministries around the world. I also have over 30 years experience in business leadership, management and music production.

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The Worship Leader / Shepherd

My guest post for Seedbed Worship Design Collective

Dear Worship Leader, Choir Director Friends,

I encountered something in God’s word the other day that stirred my heart and I want to share it with you.

I have a question.

Do you ever feel like a hired hand performing a gig?

The sheer technology and pressure of leading worship can be a heavy burden,  skewing the focus of your heart and mind as you lead. 

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How To Handle Opposition for the Worship Leader

Got Complaints? Here's a 5 Step Process to Overcome Them

Dear Uncle Robbie,

I’m a tired worship leader ministering at a small church where my husband grew up. I give and give and give and pour out my heart to the Lord. Now, I’m facing opposition from the leadership and congregation at my church. I know it’s a spiritual attack. I know it’s not of the Lord, He values my heart. I know when I give and worship Him, He is glorified. My question is – What to do next? I need to know if what I’m doing is the best thing for the congregation. I need prayer on how to handle this. Is what I’m doing the most God honoring thing? I love worshipping and I love giving Him the praise. 

Signed, 
A Struggling Saint


Dear Struggling Saint,

First, I want you to know you are not alone. The Lord will be with you. He does value your heart.

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To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice

05 Five Epic Worship Fails: King Saul Disobeys

5 Fails title slide-02

Final installment! In this series we’ve been looking at Five Epic Worship Fails from scripture,  what we can learn from them, and how we can apply their lessons in our lives and ministry. Make sure you read the Introduction first!

Epic Fail Number Five: King Saul Disobeys (1 Samuel 13:7-15
1 Samuel 15)

In the session were going to be looking at two episodes from the life of Saul in the Old Testament.

Background of the story.  Saul is the first King of Israel. He was anointed, and he has some early victories in his life and reign. But he has a bit of an inferiority complex and it caught up with him. Ultimately, His character could not sustain this calling.

Let’s look at the first story. 

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Lip Service Won’t Cut It

04 Five Epic Worship Fails: Jesus Confronts The Pharisees

5 Fails title slide-02

In this series we’re looking at Five Epic Worship Fails from scripture,  what we can learn from them, and how we can apply their lessons in our lives and ministry. Make sure you read the Introduction first!

Epic Fail Number Four: Lip Service: Jesus Confronts The Pharisees (Mark 7:1-13, Matthew 15:8-9)

Background of the story.
For some time now Jesus has been going around doing his earthly ministry of proclaiming the kingdom of God, teaching and healing. He is starting to get into some debate and controversy with the religious establishment, the Sadducees and Pharisees. This exchange cuts right to the heart of the “religious spirit”.  

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Integrity Matters

03 Five Epic Worship Fails: Ananias and Sapphira

5 Fails title slide-02

In this series we’re looking at Five Epic Worship Fails from scripture,  what we can learn from them, and how we can apply their lessons in our lives and ministry. Make sure you read the Introduction first!

Epic Fail Number Three: Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:1- 11)

Background.

Here’s the scene. The book of Acts is all about the birth of the church. Jesus has been resurrected from the dead. Then the Holy Spirit falls upon the disciples at Pentecost. (Acts 2) The church is set on fire. Jesus followers are going out and healing people, signs wonders and miracles are happening. All heaven is breaking loose, and the church is growing exponentially. It is an exciting time.

A spirit of unity and generosity had become part of their spiritual DNA. The end of Acts 4 describes the culture of early Christian community and it’s a beautiful thing.

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You Gotta Do God’s Work, God’s Way!

02: Five Epic Worship Fails: David & The Ark

5 Fails title slide-02

In this series we’re looking at Five Epic Worship Fails from scripture,  what we can learn from them, and how we can apply their lessons in our lives and ministry. Make sure you read the Introduction first! http://www.robstill.com/five-epic-worship-fails-and-what-we-can-learn-from-them/

Epic Fail Number Two: David and The Ark (2 Samuel 6, 1Chronicles 13 & 15)

Background of the story. This is the account of when David returns the Ark of the covenant from its captivity with the Philistines and brings it to what would become Jerusalem.

This is something that had been in David’s heart for a long time. He had been anointed as a young man to become king, then spent many many years in the wilderness awaiting for his destiny to be fulfilled, and finally mean King Saul dies. Now it is his moment and the first thing he wants to do is go get that ark and bring it back where it belongs. 

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12 Essential Scriptures to Disciple Worship Volunteers

My Guest Post for Seedbed Worship Design Collective

As I write this article, we are in the Eastertide season, the 50 days between Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost. One of the traditional stories that would be preached during this season is the “Great Commandment” that Jesus gave for his followers to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).

A disciple is a believer who is growing in his faith and his love for Jesus on an on-going basis. She is a learner who is in a lifelong process of maturing and being transformed by the Lord.

Note: This is a guest post I wrote for the Seedbed Worship Design Collective, you can find the original article here. 

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Worship Ministry Insights from Cain & Able

01 : Five Epic Worship Fails: The Story of Cain & Able

5 Fails title slide-02

In this series we’re looking at Five Epic Worship Fails from scripture,  what we can learn from them, and how we can apply their lessons in our lives and ministry. Make sure you read the Introduction first! http://www.robstill.com/five-epic-worship-fails-and-what-we-can-learn-from-them/

Epic Fail Number One: The Story of Cain & Able (Genesis 4)

Background of the story. We are at the beginning of the story of God. He’s created the world in Genesis 1 and 2. He’s created Adam and Eve,  they’ve already sinned and been kicked out of the garden of Eden. Now they have their first children, Cain and Abel.

Genesis 4:2-4

Abel was a herdsman and Cain a farmer. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm.

Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, “choice cuts of meat”.

Cain brought fruits and vegetables whereas Able offered steak and hamburgers.

The scripture then says that “God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval.” Genesis 4:5

Why?

Why would God except one offering and reject the other? What’s up with that?

Does God like barbecue more than salads?

Now let’s look at the rest of the story. 

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