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.
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.
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.