Why You Shouldn’t Sing Most Worship Songs

Why You Shouldn’t Sing Most Worship Songs

“We have more songs at our disposal than at any other point in worship history. That means we need to say ‘no’ to most of them.” –  Scott Connell[1]

Ours is an era of ubiquity in Christian worship music. CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) boasts of having “more than 300,000 songs of worship.” Given the fact that many evangelical churches sing somewhere between 3 and 8 songs each Lord’s Day, between 156 and 416 a year if they don’t repeat any – how are the they to choose which songs to sing? How are they to choose which artists to sing from? Should they sing what the church has always sung? Should they sing what is popular on Christian radio? I have already written briefly on criteria for selecting songs for corporate worship. In this short article I would like to justify being selective in what songs we sing from certain artists. In other words, I want to justify not singing the majority of what any given Christian artist produces, indeed the majority of all worship songs. I shall attempt to show why I think this by using two lines of argumentation, one Biblical the other historical. Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Sing Most Worship Songs”

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Harmony in Cacophony: How to Select Biblical Songs for Corporate Worship

Harmony in Cacophony: How to Select Biblical Songs for Corporate Worship

Ours is an age of unparalleled excess in the realm of worship music. Just 60 years ago, many churches only had one hymnal from which to select their hymns for the Sunday morning service. Now, in the digital age, churches have access CCLI, which boasts of having over 300,000 worship songs from which they can select. If those tasked with selecting from ~500 hymns thought that was tiresome enough, I feel sorry for those tasked with choosing from over 300,000 songs! Yet choices must be made, for no church can sing every song. What then are the criteria for selecting songs to include in Sunday worship? Good criteria can dramatically reduce the number of songs to select from and help place the one selecting them on a firm foundation as he prepares to lead God’s people in singing His praises. Continue reading “Harmony in Cacophony: How to Select Biblical Songs for Corporate Worship”

Short Sermons?

T. G. Drummond

A few months ago I heard of a certain young gentleman, we shall call him “Sam”, who has advocated for 8 minute sermons in church, because that is the average attention span of Americans today.[1] I have not heard Sam’s arguments personally, but I imagine they go along the lines of this: the average American attention span is 8 minutes (or less), therefore any part of a sermon that goes beyond 8 minutes will fall on inattentive ears and be useless, so why even preach it? It will do no good and might do much harm in frustrating the congregation by making them sit on uncomfortable pews for longer than they can pay attention to, and will ultimately turn people away from the church. Continue reading “Short Sermons?”

Meaningful Song and Singing with Meaning

In a previous essay, we looked at some Colossians 3:16 and some of its implications. One of those implications is that Christians in corporate worship should mean what they sing, and therefore, need to sing songs with meaning. This implication arises out from two aspects of the text, first, that we are to teach and admonish one another, and second, that we are to sing in our hearts. Continue reading “Meaningful Song and Singing with Meaning”

Does God Care What Kind of Music I Like?

This question was posed to Ken Myers at the Edwards Institute 2011 Conference on Apologetics and the Arts. It is the subject of his fourth and last lecture, all of which can be listened to and downloaded here. Myers poses 16 further questions that need to be asked in order to answer the original question. I encourage any who listen to music to go through and ask themselves these questions (it will be helpful to listen to his lectures given at the conference first): Continue reading “Does God Care What Kind of Music I Like?”

Does the Bible Talk About Church Music? Yes.

Colossians 3:16

Ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐνοικείτω ἐν ὑμῖν πλουσίως, ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ διδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες ἑαυτούς, ψαλμοῖς ὕμνοις ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς ἐν [τῇ] χάριτι ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ θεῷ

The word of Christ, let it dwell [continually] in you (p) richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, [with] psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in {the} grace singing in your (p) hearts to God.[1]

This verse has an incredible amount to say about how we worship God, specifically, how and why we sing in church. Corporate worship is an odd thing if you think about it, a group of people gathering together once a week to sing songs together and hear someone speak for 30-45 minutes from a text written 2000+ years ago. Yet it is what we are commanded to do, and singing is an important element of corporate worship. Churches show what they view as the most important elements of corporate worship by how much time they spend on them. In many churches, the amount of time given to singing is second only to the sermon, showing its place of high importance in corporate worship. However, while many Evangelicals would agree that preaching is a very important (if not the most important) element of a church service, many would not say so of singing. Statements such as, “it’s just a matter of opinion/taste” abound in the discussion of church music. Yet even the language of taste/preference implies a difference in the purpose that music is intended to achieve. Musicologists Paul Munson and Joshua Drake put it this way,

Consider the meaning of “taste” and “preference.” Are these not merely a sense that certain forms realize our purposes better than do other forms? Tim prefers a stationary bike so he can read as he exercises; Sally prefers a traditional bike so she can breathe fresh air and see the countryside. Tim prefers an orange for his snack so he can perceive its array of aromas, tastes, and textures; Sally prefers orange juice so she can quench her thirst. As with bikes and snacks, so, too, with everything: people with preferences may or may not be conscious of their purposes, but if they were to have no purpose at all—no end to attain—they wouldn’t have a preference. When Christians prefer different kinds of church music, it is because they disagree about what it is for. Different theologies of church music naturally result in different styles, as we search out the forms that most effectively realize our purposes.[2]

Continue reading “Does the Bible Talk About Church Music? Yes.”