Here is what I know… worship is, in the words of John MacArthur, the Ultimate Priority of the church.

Piper said:

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.[1]

Worship, of course, takes many forms. One of the best forms is singing. From the first ten Psalms we find:

  • Psalm 5:11 (NIV) But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
  • Psalm 7:17 (NIV) I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
  • Psalm 9:2 (NIV) I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
  • Psalm 9:11 (NIV) Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.

There is nothing like loud, full-throated singing to bring worship to God. Keith and Kristyn Getty moved to America to teach the church in America to sing. Why?

Repeatedly and throughout Scripture, we are commanded to be a singing people. There are more than four hundred references to singing in the Bible and at least fifty direct commands. We are not to disregard the command because we don’t like the music or the personnel or are not in the mood. The command in Psalm 149:1 contains no caveats or conditions. It should go without saying that the leadership of a church should be facilitating congregational singing so that we can all honor the Lord in this together. We are told to sing.[2]

One problem. People in our culture don’t sing anymore. When I was in High School and we sang the national anthem at football games, we sing the national anthem. Everyone sang. No more. People don’t sing in our world anymore. Daniel Levitin observes:

Only relatively recently in our own culture, five hundred years or so ago, did a distinction arise that cut society in two, forming separate classes of music performers and music listeners. Throughout most of the world and for most of human history, music making was as natural an activity as breathing and walking, and everyone participated. Concert halls, dedicated to the performance of music, arose only in the last several centuries.[3]

Look at the opening clip of the old sit-com All in the Family. Edith and Archie Bunker are sitting at the piano singing together: “Oh, the way Glenn Miller played…”  We are to understand that this was a slice of normal life back in the day. When is the last time you and your wife or husband sang around the piano and sang?

So, when people come to church, they don’t sing. They watch others sing. The listen to other sing. But, no one is singing. We live in a non-singing culture.

We are told to worship—especially through singing. But, we live among a people who do not sing. What to do?

The good news is, there is an exception to the no-singing rule. There is one context in which people in our world do sing—and sing loudly.

People sing when they can’t hear themselves sing. They sing in the car. The turn the music up loud and sing. The recorded music is so loud they can’t hear themselves, and this gives them the freedom to let ‘er rip.

Loud, recorded music is  the key. People sing when there is loud recorded music that keeps them from hearing themselves.

They sing at home when no one is there. They crank up the Bluetooth speaker and sing with gusto.

I am wondering what it would be like to do the same thing at church. I am wondering what it would be like to sing together with Chris Tomlin accompanying us. What if you started this week’s group time with this video:

In large churches, of course, this isn’t necessary. They have a good group of trained musicians that can support the singing. But, in small churches and in small groups this isn’t the case. I wonder what it would be like to sing along with recorded music in these contexts.

We have been doing this at our church for some time now. There are a lot of us (not all) think it is a LOT better.

I’d love to hear your feedback. I am wondering what you think of singing along with recorded music. Write your comments below.


 

[1] John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 15.

[2] Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017), 14–15.

[3] Levitin, Daniel J. (2006-08-02T23:58:59.000). This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.