I sit among many congregations. Something I am more and more seeing – or less and less hearing – is the congregation singing. I hear the band, I hear the worship leader, but I do not hear the congregation. If they are singing – it’s a dull whisper.
If there’s anyone in today’s western church who could address what needs to happen when The Church comes together on a Sunday morning its two modern hymn writers called Keith and Kristyn Getty. (Likely you know them through their well-loved modern hymn, In Christ Alone.)
Full confession – I know Keith and Kristyn. They’ve been in my home. I’ve known Kristyn’s parents for three decades. I like them. I like much of the modern hymns they have written (often together with Stuart Townend). But they have just written their first book: Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family and Church.
There is nothing sweeter than when a more qualified guy than you writes a book to affirm what you have been saying for years! That book just got published. Thank you Keith and Kristyn Getty.
The Getty’s get it. They have committed two decades of their lives to getting congregations to sing and through that singing worship God. Like Keith and Kristyn, I have been saying to Pastors and to Worship Leaders you may have amazing musicality, you may ’perform’ the most current, trendy worship songs, you may have wonderful graphics to accompany your music – BUT – if the congregation is not singing it is nothing but a loud noise. It is NOT the church worshipping.
The Getty’s bring some very practical help to turn your congregation into a worshipping congregation. It’s a simple read – a good hour and it’s done.
In truth – I was hoping for more from the book. The main chapters sit too light. But, the Bonus Tracks are worth the price of the book. Four Bonus Tracks that every Pastor should read and ensure their Worship Leader, their singers, musicians and Church Board read it as well. Here’s the bottom line: ‘Pastors, if the congregation is not singing, the buck stops with you!’
It’s the job of the Pastor that he or she curates the songs we are asking people to take on their lips to worship the One True God. The Pastor should ensure we are singing theologically correct songs. It is the Pastor’s task to make sure the congregation sings great songs not silly songs. For the sake of the church, for the sake of Christ’s witness Pastors need to stop delegating what is their responsibility!
So, let the delegating stop now. Buy the book. Read it – especially the Bonus Tracks. Ensure your team reads it after you. Talk it through and then demand better from yourself and your worship team to guarantee on a Sunday morning the congregation lifts their voices and sing the praises of our God.
It is our chief end.