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Why I Didnít Sing When I Visited Your Church
Challies ^ | 03/21/2017 | Tim Challies

Posted on 03/21/2017 3:30:30 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

It was a joy to finally visit your church a couple of Sundays ago, and to worship with the believers there. You know I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Just as you promised, the pastor is an excellent communicator and a man who loves God’s Word. His sermon was deeply challenging and led to some great conversations with my children.

Now, you asked me why it looked like I wasn’t singing. I know that was probably a little awkward, so thought I’d send along a brief explanation. Primarily, it’s because…

I was not familiar with the songs. Your church has a tremendously skilled group of musicians leading them and it was a true joy to hear them play and sing. They sound as good live as they do on their album! But, unless I missed something, all of the songs on that Sunday were drawn from their own music. There weren’t any hymns in the service or even any familiar worship songs. So it’s not that I didn’t want to sing; it’s just that I didn’t know the songs. I want to be fair—every church has some of its own songs, and there is nothing wrong with that. I tried to follow along the best I could so I could learn some of yours, but even then…

the songs weren’t congregational. Most of them seemed to have been written with the band in mind more than the congregation. What I mean is that they were unpredictable and often went beyond my vocal range and ability. This made them tough to learn and difficult to sing. Sometimes I would just begin to think I had it, but then…

your singers would ad-lib. Twice through that final chorus they sang it one way, but then on the third they did something I didn’t see coming and just couldn’t follow. Was I supposed to follow them up the scale as they went high on that final chorus, or was I supposed to stick with the original melody? I didn’t want to mess it up, so figured I’d better keep it quiet. I might have had help there, but…

I couldn’t hear the congregation sing. I wanted to learn from the people around me, but I couldn’t hear them. A lot of them seemed to be singing along, but they were far quieter than the band. Don’t get me wrong, I love loud music and often crank it to silly levels when I’m at home or in my car. (I’ve even got it at an obnoxious level as I write these words.) But as I understand it from Colossians 3:16, a key element of congregational worship is hearing the congregation. Singing is in the realm of “one-another” ministry, meaning that we are to sing for the other people there. But that was tough because…

it felt like a performance. We were in a darkened room sitting on theatre-style seats. The band was on a brightly-lit stage at the front of the room, singing their own songs with the volume cranked right up. This set a context that struck me as more concert than church. I really enjoyed watching the band and listening to them, but it felt to me that they were doing rather than facilitating the worship. So finally I just sat back and enjoyed the show.

Now, please don’t think I’m trying to rekindle the old worship wars. I believe there is room in congregational worship for both traditional hymns and modern worship songs. I love them both! But the way the music was structured and implemented in your church was just not conducive to congregational worship. It was good, it was professional, but thinking about it now, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it wasn’t a bit too good and too professional. I wonder if the desire for excellence may have robbed it of much of its usefulness. It’s worth considering: If our desire for excellence puts the music out of reach for the congregation, perhaps we’re pursuing a wrong definition of excellence.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: challies; church; cuzurmusicsux; singing; urmusicsux; worship; worshipservice
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1 posted on 03/21/2017 3:30:31 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t sing in church as a courtesy to others.


2 posted on 03/21/2017 3:34:22 PM PDT by Nachoman (My guns and my ammo, they comfort me.)
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To: Nachoman

My wife says I sing like Elvis.....................dead...


3 posted on 03/21/2017 3:36:59 PM PDT by JBW1949 (I'm really PC....PATRIOTICALLY CORRECT!!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, and call it a day, I say.


4 posted on 03/21/2017 3:37:51 PM PDT by Jim Noble (Die Gedanken sind Frei)
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To: SeekAndFind

I am thinking about writing an article “Why I didn’t get encouraged by reading any articles on Challies.com”


5 posted on 03/21/2017 3:42:26 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t like local church written worship songs.

Not many people are very skilled at writing good worship music.


6 posted on 03/21/2017 3:43:29 PM PDT by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith...)
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To: Nachoman

“I don’t sing in church as a courtesy to others.”

Yeah, but do they pay you not to sing like mine does? You have to shop around for the best deal.

Medium-sized congregations are the best. They have more money to spend on things like this than the little ones, but the really big congregations can just drown you out.


7 posted on 03/21/2017 3:43:31 PM PDT by unlearner (So much winning !!! It's Trumptastic!)
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To: Nachoman

LOL!


8 posted on 03/21/2017 3:43:49 PM PDT by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith...)
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To: Nachoman

I used to think the same, then I heard for the umpteenth time that going to church is supposed to be more about me singing to God and any voice He gave me is a joyful noise to Him.

It’s not supposed to be about pleasing those around me, but pleasing God.

One day I noticed myself singing louder and not caring what others think. There are plenty of people off key and worse, but it’s about God, not others, or me.


9 posted on 03/21/2017 3:45:01 PM PDT by b4me (If Jesus came to set us free, why are so many professed Believers still in chains?)
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To: SeekAndFind

We have a church near me that sounds just like this. I did like the preaching, but could not stand the music service. Found a small Baptist church that sings hymns.


10 posted on 03/21/2017 3:45:30 PM PDT by mykroar (Congratulations President Trump)
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To: SeekAndFind

We have a church near me that sounds just like this. I did like the preaching, but could not stand the music service. Found a small Baptist church that sings hymns.


11 posted on 03/21/2017 3:45:30 PM PDT by mykroar (Congratulations President Trump)
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To: BereanBrain

Why stop there? “Why I didn’t handle your poisonous snakes and talk in unintelligible languages” would be another good one.


12 posted on 03/21/2017 3:51:45 PM PDT by BipolarBob (I just got done celebrating Black History Month. Obama and Kaepernick are both history. Hurray!)
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To: metmom

We have an 88 yo woman that has written at least a dozen songs that are wonderful. I think they are recording quality. I have been thinking about asking her if she would like them to be made into a CD.


13 posted on 03/21/2017 3:55:38 PM PDT by chuckles
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To: chuckles

That’s terrific.

But not common.


14 posted on 03/21/2017 3:56:51 PM PDT by metmom ( ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith...)
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To: SeekAndFind

The Bible says “Make a joyful noise”

Not “Sing an aria”

Sing to Him.


15 posted on 03/21/2017 3:58:03 PM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: b4me
I used to think the same, then I heard for the umpteenth time that going to church is supposed to be more about me singing to God and any voice He gave me is a joyful noise to Him.

It’s not supposed to be about pleasing those around me, but pleasing God.

One day I noticed myself singing louder and not caring what others think. There are plenty of people off key and worse, but it’s about God, not others, or me.



16 posted on 03/21/2017 4:07:36 PM PDT by COBOL2Java ("Game over, man, game over!" (my advice to DemocRATs))
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To: SeekAndFind

And then those praise chant songs. Everyone sounding like a bunch of hare Krishna zombies.

The old hymnals need to go back in.


17 posted on 03/21/2017 4:07:57 PM PDT by DesertRhino (Dog is man's best friend, and moslems hate dogs. Add that up.)
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To: JBW1949

Lol.


18 posted on 03/21/2017 4:11:11 PM PDT by LS ("Castles Made of Sand, Fall in the Sea . . . Eventually" (Hendrix))
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To: COBOL2Java

He married a woman named Harmony.

I love that !

:-)

.


19 posted on 03/21/2017 4:12:46 PM PDT by Mears
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To: DesertRhino

Praise chants. Doesn’t the Bible exhort us against mindless repetitions in our worship?


20 posted on 03/21/2017 4:14:18 PM PDT by Quality_Not_Quantity
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