Dear Non-Singing Pastor
By David Manner
Dear Non-Singing Pastor,
We depend on you as a primary worship leader for our congregation. We agree that your leadership centers more on worship through the Word and Table than through the music. And we also understand and affirm that worship can’t be contained in one expression such as music.
But it is evident from Scripture that singing is a significant response to God’s revelation (Ps 63:5; Eph 5:19: Col 3:15-17). When writing about the future of Jerusalem, the minor prophet Zephaniah wrote, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph 3:17).
The psalmist reminds us that God protects us from trouble and surrounds us with songs of deliverance (Ps 32:7). And when we can’t find our own adequate words to express love to the Father, Jesus as our worship leader sings with us (Heb 8:1-2; 2:12). So, if the Father is singing over you and Jesus is singing with you, we have to ask how you can keep from singing?
When you choose not to sing it causes us to wonder if you really view the musical worship elements as an appetizer before the main course, the warm-up band before the headliner, or the undercard before the main event. And when you study sermon notes instead of singing it gives the impression you are unprepared, reminiscent of a freshman cramming for a final exam.
Pastor, we desire worship that is a continuous conversation with a variety of worship expressions instead of just stand-alone elements of music and preaching. So, we long for you to teach and model active and fully engaged participatory worship instead of passively giving permission to others not to sing too.
Therefore, we humbly ask that you join us in full-throated singing so that all of our voices, including yours, might unite in communal utterances of praise, thanksgiving, confession, dedication, commitment, lament, and response. And when you do, our songs will communicate vertically and horizontally in a unified voice so compelling that it can’t possibly be silenced (Ps 30:12).
Your Singing Congregation
The above post is adapted from David’s book, Better Sundays Begin on Monday: 52 Exercises for Evaluating Weekly Worship, Copyright ©2020 by Abingdon Press. It also appeared on David’s blog WorshipEvaluation.com. It is reposted with permission.
Book Helps Worship Teams Evaluate Worship Services
Better Sundays Begin on Mondays: 52 Exercises for Evaluating Weekly Worship offers foundational worship considerations to help leadership teams ask questions evaluatively rather than defensively. These weekly reflections encourage worship leaders and their teams to think beyond style to biblical and theological worship content.
Print and E-Version copies are available here.
David is a frequent contributor to this blog.