One of my favorite things about my church is our congregational singing. It does me good to hear and participate in worship with people who sing the gospel from their bellies. We may not have hundreds of voices but we’ve got some good ones and loud ones.
The most important aspects of church music is that it should be A) theologically sound and gospel rich AND B) they should be songs that are constructed for congregational singing as the main emphasis of the music. I don’t believe that we should allow the instruments or the band to drown out the singing of our brother or sister next to us. I believe church music is most edifying when the emphasis is on hearing your brother next to you and singing with him for all you’re worth. It’s soul work.
There are many reasons why I advocate for this type of congregational singing. In this post, I would like to give just two.
Congregational Singing Protects the People from the Preacher
When a congregation sings songs like “All I Have is Christ” from the bottom of their being they are edifying, protecting, and caring for one another. Essentially what is happening in those moments is that the individuals in the congregation are preaching the gospel to each other in song. They’ve begun soul work on each other before I ever step into the pulpit. But it also protects them from whoever steps into the pulpit, if God forbid, it need be. If the preacher fails to preach the gospel, whether it is intentionally or unintentional, whether it is on a regular basis or occasionally, or whether it is just a random egg that a preacher can lay every once in a while, it protects them from him. If, for whatever reason, the preacher fails to preach the gospel, the people have still preached it to one another. The gospel is still present there.
Congregational Singing Preaches to the Preacher
When a congregation continually sings songs like “Oh, the Deep Deep Love of Jesus,” with serious joy that bubbles up from their diaphragm, they preach to their preacher. Not only does a congregation preach the gospel to one another in song, but they are also preaching to the preacher in song. If there is one thing a preacher needs from his congregation it is this. When a preacher hears his people mean what they sing when they sing sweet truths about Jesus, it stirs up his love for them. After a preacher experiences this it makes him want to stand right up in the pulpit and give the sweet gospel right back to them. It makes him want to give them every bit of Christ that they have just stirred up in him. Congregations can care for their pastor by singing the gospel to him.
If you don’t get to experience this, come visit Hope Baptist Church and see what it is like (shameless plug, I don’t even care). hopebaptistspringfield.com
Below are links to the songs I mentioned above.
“All I Have is Christ”
“Oh, the Deep Deep Love of Jesus”