Choosing what we sing in Church: What makes for good and effective singing? (Part 4 of 9)

By David Shead

What makes for good and effective singing?

Allow me to suggest five aspects which make for good and effective singing in church.

  1. Good and effective singing in church relies first of all on a clear awareness of what corporate worship is about and what contribution singing can make.
  2. Good and effective singing is singing that helps to bring God’s people together in honouring him, in receiving his word, in prayerfully relying on him and in strengthening each other to serve him.
  3. Good and effective singing in church is singing by the church for the church and in praise of God.
  4. Good and effective singing is not measured by its musical quality or volume or frequency or style; good and effective singing doesn’t have to mean guitar, bass, drums and three professional vocalists (nor does it have to mean organ and robed choir!). In fact (and this is a topic for another occasion), “good music” and “good corporate singing” sadly too often seem to be almost mutually exclusive. Some of the best corporate singing I have ever been part of has been unaccompanied, or very sparsely (acoustically) accompanied, and some of the worst has been in the context of a high quality, highly produced, professional musical “performance”.
  5.  Good and effective singing means the right song at the right time carried in the hearts and on the voices of the congregation to one another and to God (Ephesians 5:19)

For more in this Series:

What is corporate worship? (Part 1 of 9)

Why Sing? (Part 2 of 9)

What is the ‘shape’ of the corporate worship gathering? (Part 3 of 9)

What makes for good and effective singing? (this one)

Five principles for choosing songs (Part 5 of 9)

Choosing Songs – planning (Part 6 of 9)

Choosing Songs – preparation (Part 7 of 9)

Choosing Songs – order (Part 8 of 9)

Choosing New Songs (Part 9 of 9)

 

Choosing what we sing in Church:Why Sing? (Part 2 of 9)

By David Shead

Why sing?

What is the place of singing in corporate worship?

Of all the things we normally do when we gather together for corporate worship (singing, prayer, Bible readings, teaching, etc.), singing is not more worship or more “worshipful” than the other elements. All are equally acts of corporate worship. This is why it’s theologically misleading to refer to the song leader as the “worship leader”.

However, there is a particular and important contribution that singing makes to our corporate worship (just as there is a particular and important contribution that our corporate prayers make, or our instruction from God’s word makes, etc.). What is singing’s particular contribution? Why sing?

There are a number of important reasons:

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Choosing what we sing in Church:What is Corporate Worship? (Part 1 of 9)

By David Shead

What is corporate worship?

“Worship” is the word that sums up the whole of life.

“Worship” describes the entire orientation of your life; your attitude of humble submission and service towards the thing or person that you most value in all of existence, whether that’s yourself (or another part of the creation like money, or leisure, etc.), or the true and living God.

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How well do you know the songs we sing at Trinity City?

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How well do you know the songs we sing at Trinity City?
Mark Peterson helpfully considers the nourishing effect of a good song repertoire sung over a long period.
Our repertoire contains about 100 contemporary congregational songs, plus a wide selection of traditional hymns. Occasionally it has been suggested to me that this is too many because it is difficult to learn so many songs well enough to sing them with gusto on Sundays. It has also been suggested a smaller list that changes more regularly, or drawing on more songs from well known sources to enable visitors from other churches to be instantly familiar with our material. I have thought about this long and hard over the years.

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Lessons Learned

101 5pm church update header

Friends it has been a while since the last 5pm Update (a good indication that things have been a bit full on!) – in fact there has not been an update since I returned from Study Leave for Easter. Thanks for allowing me time to get away.

Study Leave meant that I could attend a series of Conferences, visit a series of Churches and check-out some theological colleges. Refreshing? – Yes! Challenging? – At times! Educational? – Mostly! Beneficial? – I hope so, but you will need to be the judge of that.

There were so many times that I just felt immensely thankful to God for Trinity City and for 5pm Church and for the leaders we have and for the ministry that we do – and thankful because I could see other examples in the States of similar ministries or conversely I could see examples of things that were not done half as well as how Trinity does it (under God of course).

Here are 5 reflections with 5 corresponding challenges which may be of benefit for us.

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