How to have a crazy, singing congregation! [Part 3]
Move to Africa.
Ok, but short of that, how can you get a singing congregation?
I’ve been part of a congregation of around 10. Most were average singers. Some would call themselves tone-deaf. Sometimes the only instrument leading was an unplugged acoustic guitar. Often a song was brand new. But they made LOADS more noise than the congregation of 100 I was part of later that weekend. What was the difference?
1. They don’t know the song
2. The music is too bad
3. The music is too good
4. The balance is off
5. They lack leadership
And an interesting sixth reason was posted in a comment:
6. They can’t stomach the words (click here if you missed it)
But there is an ultimate reason people don’t sing. And if you can remedy it, like the congregation of 10 people, reasons 1–5 won’t even be an issue (reason 6…well, less of an issue).
The Ultimate Reason
Simply this: they don’t have a reason to sing!
Sometimes, no matter the quality, accessibility, balance, ease or familiarity of the music, still only a handful of people sing. And kinda mouselike when they do. This is not merely an issue of culture. Even Aussies’ll sing when they have a reason…
At a football game, singing (or chanting or whatever other noisemaking carry-on) expresses something. It says:
“I want my team to win!”
“I want your team to lose!”
“I’ll make whatever exertion I can in the hope it eggs my team on!”
“That try was AWESOMMMME!”
And the fans are more than happy to sing and chant and blow plastic foghorns because those statements are true of them.
But what does singing in church express? How about:
“I believe this stuff!”
“I’m a part of this bunch of misfits and God has made us family!”
“The least I can do for the God who gave me everything I have and made the greatest sacrifice for me is to exert myself and do something out of my comfort zone!”
“The joy I have in Jesus cannot be contained inside my body!”
(And the exlamation marks are all important!)
What if these statements are not true of you? Would you sing at church if you didn’t want to be a part of the others there? Would you sing if you didn’t think God was much of a big deal in your life? Would you sing if you were feeling like Oscar the Grouch about your faith?
For many, these statements simply aren’t true of themselves. And no amount of physical effort is going to pry anything much more significant than a mumble from their lips.
So what can you do?
The Ultimate Solution
and become a growing, passionate, uncompromising disciple of Jesus.
This is nothing new. And nothing all that revolutionary. But it can cause revolutions!
Let the themes of the Lord’s Prayer permeate your daily life. Particularly “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. (Just think for a moment what the singing is like, what the worship is like in heaven…)
Become a growing, passionate, uncompromising disciple of Jesus
This is nothing new either. Jesus said “Love one another just as I have loved you…by this everyone will know that you are my disciples.” So obviously being a disciple is important. But also:
- a growing disciple – because loving as Jesus did…well, honestly, we’re not gonna get there this side of heaven.
- a passionate disciple – because only when we’re consumed by a desire to follow Jesus can we really hope to love as He did.
- an uncompromising disciple – because it will be required if we’re to follow through with the hard stuff that comes with following Jesus.
People need to be drawn to Jesus. They need to experience Him. And this can happen through you if you’re close to Him through prayer and following Him as a disciple so that “your light [may] shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
So, go to Africa if you want. Or influence your congregation with pray-at-all-times prayer and the crazy noone-does-that love of a growing passionate uncompromising disciple of Jesus. Then just try to shut them up.
Question: What have you seen to help people discover a reason to sing? Why do you sing? You can leave a comment by clicking here.