Why we need to sing in worship even when we don’t know—or like—the song

March 15, 2018

I’ve been there, and you likely have, also. You’ve never heard the song your church is singing. Or, you’ve heard it but don’t like it. The temptation is to silently mimic the words or not to sing at all. Here’s why we need to sing anyway:

  1. It’s right to sing God’s praises.
    Even if it’s not our favorite song, it’s right to join the people of God in singing God’s praises (Psa. 96). He delights in the singing of His people.
  2. Not singing sends the wrong signal.
    Here’s what it could look like . . . anger . . . burden . . . distraction. . . . Worse yet, it comes across as arrogance. And, if you’re not singing just because you don’t like the song, that really does border on arrogance.
  3. Some songs you don’t like are quite biblical.
    Most of us choose songs we like on the basis of the style and the melody, not on the words. Sometimes the songs we don’t like are straight out of the Bible – so not singing them takes on more significance.
  4. We can learn a song best by singing it.
    I now love some songs I didn’t like when I first heard them, and I’m glad I at least tried to sing them. The same can happen for you.
  5. We model worship for others as we sing.
    All of us model something by the way we worship. Some show the joy of encountering God. Others make worshiping God look boring and disconnected. Singing helps others to worship Him well.
  6. Singing with the rest of the congregation promotes and reflects unity.
    Churches already struggle enough with internal conflict. Sometimes, in fact, members who don’t sing are intentionally sending a signal of disapproval and division. Don’t play that game.
  7. Singing encourages the ones leading the singing.
    Few things are as discouraging for worship leaders as looking at a congregation with non-singers – and, from what I understand from worship leaders, they seldom miss seeing them. We don’t really hide our silence.

For what other reasons would you encourage singing?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Chuck Lawless is dean of doctrinal studies and vice-president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. This article was originally published on chucklawless.com and is used with permission.


by Chuck Lawless  
/  Vice-President of Spiritual Formation  /  Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

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