Each week, Texas Baptists all over the state come together in communities to proclaim, lift high and exalt the name of Jesus in many different ways. New church starts, mission projects and new discipleship programs are causing Baptists to think anew about the way we do many things. There is also much opportunity for our spiritual development. So let’s look at some of the areas in music and worship that we can each develop in order to encourage our churches toward greater corporate worship of Him, whom we serve.
We need to be reminded that we are all commanded to sing! Over 250 times in Scripture we are admonished to sing. Throughout Scripture, singing was a large part of life for God’s people. This included festivals, celebrations, and even death. One of the last things the disciples did together with Jesus was sing a hymn. The Psalms are literally a collection of hymns and petitions coming from a heart hungry for God. The Psalmist made them very easy to relate to – sharing themes we all go through in life. He brings it all full circle to point us to the fact that God is worthy of our worship, will defend us against our enemies, and our relationship with Him is paramount to our joy and security. Paul tells the early church to come together and sing. In Ephesians 5, he reminds the church to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs making music from our hearts to the Lord. So, the concept of singing in church is not only important, but paramount – we’ve been commanded to do so from the beginning.
We must not just sing, but each be actively engaged. It’s no wonder that many of the great pastors of our past, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon and John Calvin wrote and produced hymns themselves. Music was a vital part of their lives and the worship services they led.
Church leaders, make it a priority to model for and demonstrate to your congregation the importance of worship. Pastor, if you are not leading out in this effort, it’s easy to understand why your church members may not be engaged themselves. Worship leaders and congregations, pray for your pastors in this area and do what we are commanded so many times in Scripture to do – sing, making music in your heart to God! There cannot be enough emphasis on the importance of each of us preparing our hearts for worship. We live in a very noisy, distracting world. Take some time prior to worship each day, but particularly the Sabbath, to meditate on Psalm 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God.
Worship Pastors, choose great songs! It’s easy to know what songs work well in worship. They are the ones the people know and sing! Pick those! Don’t move on to another new song until the congregation is comfortably singing the last song you taught. It takes several weeks before the average congregation is easily singing a new song. I had a piano teacher as a young boy who taught me the technique of practicing a measure over and over. I couldn’t move on to the next measure until it was mastered. It’s really not any different with teaching a congregation new songs. And don’t oversaturate your congregation with too many new songs.
And Congregation, encourage your worship leader by singing out when you know the song. Don’t hold back! Participate! When the songs become a part of us, true worship can take place as we lift our hearts to God in praise. That’s when new songs become great music….when it has been internalized by the congregation so that everyone can participate, singing (and playing) with a heart moved toward God. You will find that songs committed to your memory will aid you during the good days as well as the difficult ones, when you are seeking Him.
We are created to worship. Actively learn new songs taught in worship. Incorporate songs in your daily quiet time. Sing out as never before on familiar ones. Sing songs as we are commanded - with all your heart! Then listen carefully to God, and allow Him to speak.