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But what if I just don't like singing...?

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But what if I just don't like singing...?

I really enjoyed a workshop I ran at Figtree Anglican Church last weekend - we had some great discussions on a bunch of issues (I think the audio might get posted online soon...I'll add a link if and when that happens).  But in the midst of all this discussion about how we - as singers, musicians and sound engineers - can equip and encourage our churches to worship God in singing together, someone raised the question "But what if I just don't like singing....?"

From memory, my response was pretty brief (as I'm constantly running out of time in these workshops), but a recent post by prominent author / blogger Donald Miller has sparked a lot of discussion on this very issue that I think we can learn a lot from - both as 'worshippers' and those who 'lead worshippers' in a church context.

Below are the links to a few posts.  Firstly, Millers original post and a follow up he posted responding to various comments he received.  After that are two different responses - both which in general disagree with Miller's position but helpfully look at ways we, as the church and as individuals, can learn from his critique.

If this is a question you've wondered about - either for yourself or for those you seek to lead on a Sunday - these blogs might be a helpful starting point for more thinking and discussion.

(11 Feb - I've just added a really helpful post from Bob Kauflin pointing to the biblical reasons why we should sing)


I’ve a confession. I don’t connect with God by singing to Him. Not at all.

I know I’m nearly alone in this but it’s true. I was finally able to admit this recently when I attended a church service that had, perhaps, the most talented worship team I’ve ever heard. I loved the music. But I loved it more for the music than the worship. As far as connecting with God goes, I wasn’t feeling much of anything.
— http://storylineblog.com/2014/02/03/i-dont-worship-god-by-singing-i-connect-with-him-elsewhere/

So yes, I think Miller needs to be challenged and corrected. But I also think his comments reveal the tragic lack of spiritual formation in many of our churches today. They remind us that many Christians have no meaningful vision for why the church gathers; for why we sing, preach, and pray.
— http://www.mikedcosper.com/home/donald-miller-and-the-culture-of-contemporary-worship

Contrary to popular sentimentalism, we are not singing for “an audience of one.” While we do sing to worship our Savior, we also sing to rehearse the truth of the Gospel together and be sanctified by it. We sing to remind ourselves of the great and glorious prize at the end of this race and encourage each another to keep running.

To say that I will not gather to sing with the local church because I don’t connect with God that way is immature consumerism at its finest.

We need each other. I need you. You need me. We are living stones who gather to build one another up in love. If I choose not to show because it’s not how I feel like I best connect with God, not only do I miss out, but the people I have been called to build up in love miss out. A significant piece is missing.

Furthermore, when I come to church and refuse to sing, not only do I miss out on personally rehearsing the truth, but the people around me miss out on my voice encouraging them to keep their eyes on what is excellent, true, right, honorable, and good.
— http://www.worshipcohort.org/church-needs-donald-miller-got-wrong/

The singing in your church may be dreadful. Your voice might sound like a cross between a beached whale and an alley cat in heat. Singing might make you feel uncomfortable. Those who lead the singing in your church might do it poorly. And if there’s anything we can do to change the situation, we should.

But our confidence and comfort in singing comes from this: Jesus, our great high priest, makes all our offerings acceptable to God through his perfect life of obedience and his perfect sacrifice of atonement. The Father loves our singing not only because it’s sincere, but because when offered through faith, it sounds just like his beloved Son.

And besides. One day we’ll all have better voices and our songs will far surpass anything we’ve sung here. It’s then we’ll realize that eternity won’t be long enough to contain the songs worthy of the Lamb who was slain.
— http://www.worshipmatters.com/2014/02/10/i-worship-god-by-singing-you-should-too/

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Stuart Townend - Do we really need more worship songs?

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Stuart Townend - Do we really need more worship songs?

Totally agree with Stuart in this article...and would plead with you to keep offering 'loving suggestions' if you think I'm falling short in any of these areas!!

Now, I’m not advocating a 21st century Herodian edict, where any worship songs that don’t match up should be killed at birth… Although I think it might be helpful if those who work alongside us worship writers – pastors, publishers, event organisers, record companies – played a part in pushing us to write material that makes a meaningful and distinct contribution to the genre – and are not afraid to tell us when it doesn’t.
— http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgcworship/2014/02/04/do-we-really-need-more-worship-songs/
 
 

Help me dedicate time to writing new worship songs - find out more at http://www.patreon.com/trevorhodgemusic

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Books, blogs and more...

Every time I run a workshop, I end up quoting or directing people to some talks, blogs, articles and books that I've found really helpful recently as I've explored some of the issues around music and worship.  So I thought I'd list some of them down here...

There's been a few talks from the Sovereign Grace Worship God conference that I attended last year that I've been really dwelling on and learning from - particularly thinking about how we serve, and the role music and singing plays in preparing and equipping people to respond in worship in all of life...and particularly in the hard times.  I've linked the blog summary of the event on Bob Kauflin's Worshipmatters blog (as always, there's heaps of other great articles there, so its worth looking around) and the two particular talks that have impacted me.

While we're talking about Bob, this talk he gave at the TWIST conference in Sydney a few years ago is GOLD.  Pastoring through song.

Another blog I've found really helpful is from Zac Hicks - Zac is the Worship Pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and a very regular - and always insightful - blogger!  In particular, I found this post about the danger of letting our bands do the 'worshipping' for us really challenging - A Reason to Be Suspicious of Worship Bands

While in the States, I picked up this book. Its worth a read just for the first few chapters, which traces out the story of God gathering a community of loving worshippers - from before time began and to all eternity.  It is beautifully written, concise, and is a great place to start if you're exploring the big picture of worship, as Cosper draws from a bunch of other helpful books and articles that you could move on to.

This is a book I'm currently in the middle of...and need to go back to the start and work though slowly again - there's so much rich content packed in on each page!  Peterson's book Engaging with God is a thorough exploration of the 'big picture' of worship.  Encountering God together - as you've probably worked out - narrows the focus down to our worship gatherings.  In particular, the chapter on edification had a few lightbulb moments for me.  I'll post again about it once I'm through...

The other book I'm in the middle of (yep...I'm one of those 'pile of books all half read' readers) is Delighting in the Trinity.  Like me, you may have been tempted to place the triune nature and character of our God into the theological 'too hard' basket...impossible to understand, even harder to explain, and maybe not a critical factor in my faith.  If that's you, you need to read this book!  Reeves not only shows the importance of understanding and relating to our God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but writes with a infectious joy in these truths!  Again, I'll post again once I'm through it!

Anyway, I hope that you might find some of these helpful.  And please, keep the conversation going...I'd love to know what you've got lots out of recently?

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