I Thought We Were *SUPPOSED* To Sing?

Todd Fields, Jekyll Island Fun in the Son, Photo By Chris Moncus Photography, ChrisMoncus.Com
(photo courtesy of Chris Moncus)

Hey Everyone,

First of all, a huge “thanks” to all the worship leaders and churchgoers who participated in the first “Sunday Setlists” theme over the last 24 hours. We had 13+ (and growing) people check in and post their setlists on their blogs, linking back and forth. We’ll start doing that weekly, so be watching every Sunday/Monday morning.

Since I was gone all last week, I wasn’t scheduled to lead worship this Sunday – I just observed and worshiped from the congregation.

I think every Worship Leader should schedule themselves “off the stage” now and then – gain some perspective of what it looks and feels like “in the room”.

I floated around the back part of the auditorium. I love my church, but what I witnessed grieved me deeply. The overall majority of people weren’t engaged at all. They weren’t singing. I looked around in amazement … trying not to pass judgment … but in my heart, I was grieved. Why do so many people come to church and stand there, stoic, with no desire to engage in singing and celebration? Granted, I’d just returned from an incredible week of 2,000+ people who loved to worship through music and song.

In the 11:00 service I joined my wife and sister-in-law for the service. I had an aisle seat, a few rows from the back. As soon as the band begin to play and Shannon began to lead, I did what comes naturally. I began to sing. What happened next surprised me even more. As soon as I started to sing, I had heads turning back for up to three rows in front of me … turning around as to say “who is that, what are you doing”?.

Is the “back of the church” is where you go if you don’t want to engage? Maybe the fact that we’re pressured to run our sound at lower-than-optimum levels makes one feel they can’t raise their voice from fear of being too loud. (How do you win? If you sing, you’re louder than the room, if you turn the music up, more people sing, and more people complain!?)

Don’t get me wrong – we have an amazing church, with a diverse background … which is part of what makes it so amazing. But as the person whose calling and ministry it is to LEAD this congregation into “worship in spirit and truth” … I have to express this experience and ponder these thoughts.

As for me, I sang … yet, I was the one who seemed to be distracting people.

… I just wanted to shrug my shoulders and say “Oh, I’m sorry … I thought we were *SUPPOSED* to sing.

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Fred McKinnon is a Pianist/Composer from St. Simons Island, GA. Checkout the full BIO for more information and a complete bio. Worship Interludes Podcast - This podcast features instrumentals for prayer, meditation, soaking worship, relaxation, study music, and rest. Visit the Podcast page to listen or subscribe. Follow on Social MediaFacebookYouTubeInstagramTwitter

57 comments on “I Thought We Were *SUPPOSED* To Sing?

  1. Heather B says:

    Hey Fred, I can relate to your experience. I feel that way pretty often, but I try to make a conscience choice to worship regardless of those around…but it can be difficult at times. I don’t know what the answer is, but my thought is to cater to those who are worshipers and pray that the others catch the “fever”. If we try too hard not to offend those who would rather not worship, we are doing a disservice to those who do, but more importantly, the One we have come to worship in the first place!

    Heather Bs last blog post..For your information

  2. chad says:

    I attended churches for a long time where people did not sing. I think it has to do with leadership, not from on stage, but from off. It seems as though people almost have to be taught what to do in worship sometimes. But then you get into the problems of emotion for the sake of emotion (and I have been in churches were this was a problem).

    I think we need to recover the art of teaching why we sing. Just because it is commanded in the Bible isn’t enough for many people, but for the most part, public expression is dying down. There is a great post on this subject at Michael Spender’s blog http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/tom-schwegler-why-contemporary-music-makes-congregational-singing-difficult

    chads last blog post..It’s not always this fast.

  3. Fred says:

    Thanks Heather,
    It’s good to get input from a fellow SSCC’r. Well, despite all those heads turning and looking at me, I didn’t hold back – I worshiped. I didn’t intentionally sing super loud, or soft … just a normal, singing volume. Maybe the singing was just BAD! 🙂

  4. Read Scott says:

    We’ve had the same issue with volume in the church. Our solution was to do some footwork, find out what the “industry standard” is for volume in churches that have similar worship styles, target audience, etc, and then set our volume to that…no apologies. We’re just sticking with the “industry standard,” which was definitely louder than the complainers, but perfect for what we actually needed.

    Read Scotts last blog post..What more could a leader ask for?

  5. Fred says:

    ya,
    We’re sort of doing that. My TD said today that we’re hitting high 80’s on the “something” weighting (whichever weighting is the lower one … before at the same level, it was high 90’s .. all depends on where that “switch” is … at any case, we based our volume on the same spot where Willow Creek was running theirs … but it still seems so quiet. Then again, if the majority of folks aren’t singing, they aren’t contributing to the sound … so even at a decent volume, if one person is the ONLY person singing out within a few rows, I suppose that person is gonna stand out. what a shame.

  6. I say go ahead and turn it up…. get it loud enough people can sing along… and if you need to, do what Furtrick did… Put earplug dispensers at the front of the church. 🙂

  7. Adam Ogden says:

    Hey Fred- We had the same conversation at Canyon Ridge a few times. Even guys who served in Artist Community (the musical/drama/technical/graphics department), didn’t sing. It seemed oxy-mormonic for guys that served in AC NOT to sing…but it brought up a realization to all of us, and may be benifical for you too.

    I have been a musician for over 20 years. You have too, Fred. Music gives you life. Music makes you, and music gives you job security. Music means a lot to you, in a lot of ways. That’s me too. But not everyone. Many people are there for the message alone. Or maybe the sense of community. Maybe they are in a rough spot in their life, and their own guilt keeps them from singing….like they don’t feel worthy in this season. I think even as a musician, we have all found it hard to sing certain words/lines in a song, because of where we were in our life. Remember… music moves us as musicians….but it may not have the same effect on everyone. Just because they don’t sing, doesnt mean they arent engaged with the service. I know musicians that doze off during the sermon…does that mean they are not there??

    There are many worship pathways. All as acceptable as another.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. Fred says:

    Adam,
    Good word, man .. Amen. But, shouldn’t it be the exception? I mean, singing isn’t “suggested” in the Bible (all over the place) as a “well, if you like to, if you want to, if you happen to be wired to do it” … I mean, it’s mandated all through the Word.

    Did God command us, challenge us, and inspire us consistently throughout the Word to praise Him in “song” (ie. singing), yet forget to “wire” 90% of us to do it?

    Me thinks no.
    Fred

  9. I hear you, Fred. I’m glad you raise the subject, because it’s something that I’ve wrestled with in the past. On the one hand, it’s really frustrating and discouraging as a worship leader, because — at least based on the appearance — people aren’t being led into worship and engagement. On the other hand, I think part of the demographic that’s not singing consists of non-Christians or people who are new to church (either yours or in general). I’m pretty sure that’s not true of EVERYONE who isn’t singing, but it’s certainly not a bad thing to have people who don’t identify themselves as committed believers in our congregation.

    Maybe I’m over-justifying. Not sure.

  10. Fred says:

    Hey Stephen,

    Sounds good – makes me feel better at least! (grin).

    Yeah, as I said, our church is awesome, and is very diverse. Plenty of people who are unchurched.
    Plenty of people from traditional backgrounds, still unsure
    Plenty of people not used to modern worship
    Plenty of people who are baby Christians
    Plenty of people who are DEEP, but don’t necessarily sing

    Fact is (this should be in the blog post, so hope people read it here), there could be ANY NUMBER of reasons why people dont’ sing that could lead back to US … the leadership, song selection, key, familiarity, etc.

    Plenty to chew on.

  11. RV Cate says:

    Fred- I can relate, I sing out loud at “My Volume” when I worship- I feel right in doing so when I worship and those around me can join in or listen as I – and others- sing with the praise “TEAM”.

  12. Fred says:

    RV,
    Yes – thanks. Especially coming from another SSCC’er, though you’re typically frammin’ those drums on stage. It’s so good to know you’re out there singing along when you don’t happen to be worshiping with drumsticks in your hands.

    I like the way you put it … “I sing .. they can sing with me or listen” … their choice.

    Fred

  13. Sometimes if we (the worship leaders) change the songs too often, the congregation doesn’t know them well enough to sing.

    We sing our songs over and over and over and rehearse etc. But most people only hear them once a week at church (or less).

    Just a thought.

    bridget

    Bridget Willards last blog post..Songs for Sunday

  14. Travis says:

    Just to clarify some of Fred’s info. We are currently running our services at 88 or so dB A-weighted slow. Peaks hit low 90’s occasionally. (All WELL below established safety standards that are based on average event exposure. Which for us is in the high 70’s tops.) Some internet research followed up with some seminars at Willow Creek gave me that target. It is not “right” it is simply where we have landed for now. I am struggling with it personally and have a terrible time attempting to engage in worship because I can’t sing worth a flip and certainly don’t want those around me to hear me.

    I think the worship night will be a telling experience. We will see how people engage with a little less constraints. I just hope that the peeps who feel limited in Sunday morning services right now will come to the worship night and have a hopefully different experience. If people don’t turn out in numbers or if they respond similarly it will still be telling of our situation.

  15. Jay Sellers says:

    I was frustrated during the first service and had my eyes closed most of the time. I sang my heart out.

    I saw the lack of connection in the second service and sang even harder, this time trying to look everyone right in the face.

    I probably looked like an idiot to some people, but I’m okay with that.

  16. Fred says:

    Bridget,
    That’s absolutely the truth.
    Travis,
    Thanks for weighing in … here’s to Sunday Night, Sept 7
    Jay,
    Sing out, bro. Actually, If you think you looked like an idiot, you should see the video footage .. you looked like an “African American” idiot. (ok, before I get shot … to clarify, the Guru Marine boy’s suntan, coupled with the particular lighting on the stage, gave his dark-skin-tone)

  17. I’m not sure I know what to say, but I feel your frustrations. As someone who sits on the 3rd-4th row from the front I can confirm that the front is just as quiet as the back. Also, I can see the overwhelming lack of participation from behind the A/V room glass on some Sundays.

    I am a person like you – though not a worship leader – music is very important in my life and I’m constantly surrounded by it. I sing always. No matter what. Sometimes the people around me are singing (their lips are moving), but I can’t hear them at all. Then again in some instances there is someone around me singing loudly (and out of key) so it can be distracting as well. I definitely think that has a lot to do with the volume (or lack thereof).

    I’m not sure you can “win” here. We just have to be passionate in our personal worship, and hope that it becomes contagious to those around us. I’m looking forward to the worship night!

  18. A. says:

    I totally relate. I understand that some people worship differently, but it’s very discouraging as a worship leader when you look out at the congregation you’re leading in worship & they look like stones. The rocks are gonna cry out in worship of our King, listen up! 🙂

    A.s last blog post..Compassion Friday

  19. Kit Palmer says:

    Hey Fred – great topic. I can only speak from my own experience here. I have to say, I have been on both sides (frustrated, lonley singer and silent observer), and there have been many different reasons for both. As a worship leader, I have felt the same frustration you have just voiced. Over the past couple of years, I have found myself more often than not in the congregation, and at times struggling to “enter in” myself. Some of that has certainly been due to me allowing life to distract me, but at other times I have just needed to be still and soak in God’s presence during a corporate worship service. Having said all that, you are right, this should be the exception.

    The real issue that I have struggled with in corporate worship over the past few years is this: Is it possible for the worship service itself to become a distraction from worship? What I mean is, i have been (and led) in many worship sevices that ended up being more of a concert than corporate worship. Sometimes, I think this can happen when there are too many new songs/arrangements in a “set list”. Sometimes belive it or not, the excellence of the musicians can be a distraction as well. I’m not saying these things are wrong, but sometimes they can make it difficult to find the “sweet spot” if you get my meaning. Some of the most intimate, Spirit-filled worship sessions I have been involved in were just simple choruses led on a piano or guitar with minimal backup and a few vocals. That’s not to say that’s the only way to do it, (I’ve been in many “major” productions where the presence of God was thick) but maybe there’s an element there that is easy to loose if the production gets too big.

    I’ve got no answers, just thinking out loud……..

  20. Mike says:

    I guess I’m fortunate in that most of our congregation DO sing… sometimes so loudly we can hear them over the stage volume.

    I do like to keep my finger on the pulse at the back of the room, though. My wife sits back there so she can keep an eye on the kids, and she is a good barometer. Ditto one brother who is an experienced sound man.

    I really have a hard time not playing during worship. I feel like I’m not doing enough. (Maybe that’s because I sing like a bad wheel bearing.) I once forced myself to take two months off and just worship. It was hard at first – distracting in fact. But by and by I could do it more easily. Now it’s not such a big deal anymore.

    Mikes last blog post..A Man’s Heart – Fathers and Sons

  21. Travis says:

    Jay’s skin tone was due to yellow and red stage light on him and a bad codec conversion in Final Cut Pro. hehe

    Traviss last blog post..Confessions of a Tech Director

  22. Kyle says:

    I think at times like these us worship leaders have to listen to our own sermons. We keep telling people “music isn’t worship, it’s just part of our worship.” But when we have issues like this our instinct is to attack it musically and production wise. Thinking maybe it’s too loud, too soft, lyrics aren’t changing fast enough, video backs are distracting, etc… I know I’m guilty of this, and maybe all of those are factors, but so often they aren’t the foundational issue.

    Have we pastored our congregation well and taught them what a real worshipper’s heart is? Do they know the importance of worshipping as a unified body? Are they chasing or avoiding an experience instead of living a life of continuous praise and worship to Jesus. These are harder issues that we as worship leaders and pastors have to make sure we address and not just the production/music side.

    Of course I’m not saying that’s what’s happening here Fred, just speaking what my own experience has been when in the same place. We’re about to do a series on worship to discuss these very topics, seems like we do this once a year at least. Which I think is healthy.

  23. Hi Fred and everyone,
    We have the same issues here in Massachusetts. And, they call New England the “frozen chosen” because of early American revivals happening here, and then dealing with the New England “personality”. (makes me laugh)
    I have a prayer in my heart that the Lord would help make me a good influencer of worship especially on our teenagers and young people. I find myself asking sometimes, “Is it me? Do I stink at this leadership thing? ” But, off the platform, those same teenagers are my buddies. They don’t seem to hold anything against me for the way I lead worship. So, in the posting above, I agree! We need to find a way to teach people how to worship again.
    Sometimes I get a worship song going “big” with our team, and then we cut out the music for a dramatic a capella chorus, and somehow that energizes the room…or we cut out everything except the tom toms on the drums. I usually notice that people are more willing to engage in singing for the next couple songs after that. It’s not meant to be a trick or to manipulate. It’s just that some majestic choruses make you exude praise!
    The people have learned my style, that on some of our arrangements we are going to do that, and you can see them sort of wake up for it if they were in a stupor before that. I wonder if it’s because they think if we DONT hear them singing with us, they’ll be put on the spot? Hopefully, they do it becasue they get a corporate worship charge out of praising the Lord with one voice. That’s what I like to think it is, anyway.
    You probably do this anyway, too, but some example songs are like a tag-line chorus of Shout to the Lord!, or You Amaze Me, or tagline ending of How Great Thou Art after singing How Great Is Our God.

  24. Hey there all, I just want to mention that Im not a guy. Im a girl. 🙂 I ususally have to explain it sooner or later, so here’ s a “sooner”.
    My real name is Jamison.

    Jamie Burnsides last blog post..Sunday Setlists

  25. Fred says:

    Jamie,
    Great input, man … I *LOVE* those spots. I try to do them often, if not overdo them.

    This is one incredible discussion, perhaps one of the best on this blog. I hope it continues through the night, but I’ll pickup my responses in the AM – it’s time for some SLEEP.

    G’night friends.
    Fred

  26. Wow….that is exactly the way I felt yesterday but I was on the platform. I ws amazed at the lack of understanding that people have about worship. I watch from the platform week after week and wonder how people cannot be touched. Not because we are good singers or whatever but because of Who we are singing about. For myself, I just try to be an example whether I am on the platform or in the congregation. Most of my best worship times are on the way to work or back home. I turn up the radio and sing as loud as I can and I do not care who hears me!

    Angela Ramseys last blog post..White Girl Can’t Dance

  27. Fred, I feel your pain. And I am serious about that.

    This weekend was similar to us. One of our services was just dead! I know for sure it wasn’t in regards to what was happening on the stage. the other services were well received with lots of participation and involvement. This service just was dead.

    I’ve continue to evaluate how we lead and how we encourage participation, but I generally do not get overly concerned unless an entire weekend feels down. If one service is out of place, it is not the norm.

    With all that said, I am praying everyday about how I can encourage authentic participation and how I can continue to focus on my responsibility in it and not worry as much about others. Definitely a balance. Definitely difficult.

    brent(inWorship)s last blog post..Concert Review…Mercy Me/Casting Crowns

  28. Hey travis and Fred, are you guys running A weighted Slow or fast? Also are you using a system like Smaart or using a common DB meter, like the ones from radio Shack.

    I know when we did some testing, that the Radio shack DB meters were the best for reliability, but not completely accurate.

    Willow is running 92-95 with a Smaart system, which translated out to us at about 97-100 on our radio shack meter. We ran a test with the 2 side by side in our room and that’s what we got.

    We run 95db A weighted/slow and it is just right. of course, room size matters as well for feeling and we are definitely smaller at about 750 seats.

    brent(inWorship)s last blog post..Concert Review…Mercy Me/Casting Crowns

  29. Brad Loser says:

    Fred,

    This is a great discussion!

    The topic at hand raises a few more underlying questions.
    How do we know when “worship” happens? How do we gauge “success” in our times of corporate worship? What are appropriate expressions in worship?

    Nice can of worms you opened up here. HAHA!!!

    Here’s a few quick comments –

    Col 3:16 – teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs

    Whether anyone chooses to sing or not I MUST sing. The Bible clearly mandates it. My singing teaches and admonishes those around me. It doesn’t have to be pretty or spot on – it just has to come out. So I can’t allow the fear of man to dictate my response to God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture.

    Secondly – It is the leaders job to paint a clear and compelling picture of God, His character, His works and His glory – ultimately revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. I know that my first reaction when it seems people aren’t engaging is to demand, orchestrate, or guilt them into doing what I think they should be doing. Unfortunately, it’s more often my poor leadership that has inhibited them. That’s not always the case – but it’s the question I need to ask. How can I more clearly convey who God is and what He has done and why what we are singing matters and how it impacts my life? Here’s the truth – when people encounter God they don’t act like nothing big is going on. They can’t stand! Which leads me to my third thought.

    Our most passionate emotions and outward expression of appreciation should be reserved for God and God alone. Which is why I think the passage from Col. 3 is so relevant. When others see our passion for God expressed in outward devotion it TEACHES and ADMONISHES them to do the same. There is nothing on earth worth giving more passion and energy to than God.

    Lastly, it needs to be taught. Not just from the corporate worship leaders, but from the pastoral staff. The theology of worship needs to be taught and modeled from the leadership. The more consistently this is taught and modeled the more growth in outward expression you will see in the body.

    Leading people to encounter the greatness of God is SO challenging – I’m such a newb on the journey myself – it is so humbling that God would allow us the opportunity to try and convey His glory to other people. That thought in and of itself is fairly absurd! But that is what I must endeavor to do – the more accurately I can convey His glory to other people, the more they will worship and adore Him.

    Sorry for the long ramble 😉

    Brad Losers last blog post..Original Songs – Unto Him

  30. Chris Moncus says:

    Show me a person that doesn’t sing and I will show you a person who doesn’t love a Jesus a whole lot.

    Doesn’t the new heart… the new life we are given as Christians… create in us a desire to know God more? I know this for a fact that the more I read my Bible and pray the more I HAVE to sing. People over and over in the Bible – after experiencing God – sang, danced, shouted, played instruments, and got naked.

    I think it’s a lack of experiencing God that causes this lack of stirring in our hearts. Given, some people are wired different but let’s change the display of worship from singing to praying and see if we feel the same way.

    I would expect to be called a liar or crazy if I stated that I could love God and not talk to Him. Or can you love God and not read your Bible?

    So why is singing treated like the stepchild of worship? Worship is a word that encompasses all of these expressions and more.

    I hate the fact that so many of us learned worship the wrong way. Some of us were taught worship was ONLY singing. Some of us were taught worship was works.

    So how do we solve it? It’s obviously a flaw in the system somewhere. Sign me up for whatever it takes to fix things.

  31. Jeff T. says:

    I feel for you, man – I’m always working on this at our church! I’ve found that having a louder (not obnoxious) mix really helps. If people can really hear themselves sing, they assume everyone else can – and that makes them self-conscious. Having lower lighting helps too – again, feeling less self-conscious. I also realize that it’s my job to explain to the congregation, on a regular basis, why we sing/worship/clap etc. It’s incredibly hard to do that in one 30-second sound bite per week, so if you have any pointers please let me know! I also like to sing some slower songs w/just me and one guitar – you can really hear people sing and it’s a cool moment.

    Jeff T.s last blog post..Undeserved Attention

  32. Mike says:

    Angela up there said that some of her best worship times are in the car. This is definitely true for me as well. There are times when I’ve literally been driving to work in tears because of a touch by God during those times. Maybe it’s because I’m completely unconcerned about anyone else, how anyone is playing, or singing, including me, and I can just let go and worship.

    Mikes last blog post..Boys in the Hoods

  33. Can totally relate to this scenario. Do a secular ‘feature song’ and folk go nuts, but during a worship/praise song they clam up. Why is that?

    Alastair Vances last blog post..WordPress – Changes Ahead?

  34. Steve says:

    Great topic and discussion. I think this can be summed in 3 points:
    – Some people don’t connect well with music. I think just about anyone reading this blog will be involved with music ministry and is therefore bent that way – but what about those to whom music means little?

    – Folks can be self-conscious about singing. Lots of great ideas here about how to confront that issue.

    – Education of congregants about biblical use of singing and how that brings glory to God.

    I think the latter is the key. Pastors obviously need to be part of any solution here and should have no qualms about preaching on this subject. In fact, I’m firing off an email to my pastor right now as I don’t recall ever hearing him deliver a sermon on this subject.

    Finally, if this blog allows html, I like this picture:
    http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm237/odeskoo83/worship.jpg

  35. Mandy says:

    Great conversation Fred.

    At GCC there are a few that don’t sing. But, we have a HUGE percentage of first timers each week, so it’s understandable. I think the rest of us sing louder just to be an example of sorts.

    But I’ve been one (at my old church) who mouthed the words. The reasons? There are a few. If the worship team doesn’t provide enough harmonies to follow & all the singers are sopranos… I don’t want to pick my own harmony…every one ends up staring thinking I’m making up my own song. Second, you can tell when a worship leader is there for THEMSELVES. She’s rocking the piano & raising her arms, but it’s all forced & for show. Its’ a “worship leader concert” instead. And lastly, they used to power point the words & the person using the slide things was either too slow, too fast, spelled words wrong or forgot certain words alltogether. My hubs wouldn’t sing because he didn’t have them memorized well enough to cover it if he messed up. I tried to tell him that no one is listening, but was proven wrong when someone pointed out that he might consider learning the words better. =(

    Just putting in my 2 cents on why I used to be a non singer at church.

    Mandys last blog post..A teacher or a salesman?

  36. A couple of thoughts:

    1. Where is your senior pastor and lead staff during worship? Are they engaged, ’cause if they’re not, then you can kiss everyone else goodbye.

    2. Do they have much to sing about? This could be a good measure of where people are spiritually. Are they celebrating freedom and victory, or are they just attending?

    3. When was the last time you guys taught on the importance of musical worship at a weekend service?

    4. When was the last time you took a random survey of the people in the church to get a feel for their view of worship at SSCC?

    Matthew Daniels last blog post..My Spiritual Mentors (Pt 4 of 5)

  37. Fred says:

    @chris moncus .. you said “Show me a person that doesn’t sing and I will show you a person who doesn’t love a Jesus a whole lot.”

    Chris, love the passion, but I think that is way too sweeping of a comment. I would be hesitant to make such a quick judgment … maybe people have been “learned” by culture to not sing out … maybe they love Jesus, but they are self conscious about their voice, maybe they love Jesus, but just haven’t busted through the dam of junk in our daily lives that gives them the freedom to let loose.

    I agree, we should WANT to … God CREATED us to … but just because we may not do it wouldn’t necessarily deem us as one who doesn’t love God.

    Overall, I think you’re on to something about how we’ve categorized things though.

  38. Fred says:

    @brent (Inworship) … see Travis’ comment above – A-weighted, slow. Radio Shack meter, and also Smaart lIve.

    @KitPalmer – I think you are absolutely on to something. But dude, I’m just excited that you clicked over here and got engaged in the discussion. Thanks! I stripped away the entire band a few weeks ago and did “Here I Am To Worship” and “What A Friend we Have in Jesus” with just my weak ole’ voice and grand piano, and I heard kajillions of people singing.

    @mandy … great points, and true is so many cases. I can tell you that on this experience, I don’t think it was any of those. There was good vocals, good parts, good songs, good mix, and the WL wasn’t putting on a big show.

    @Matthew –
    Good stuff … survey? Oh man, I know that would be a stink bomb waiting to go off. We do have a smaller representation in a “Worship/Music Committee” that we’ve started going to for input and feedback, though.

    The Senior Pastor and Youth Pastors (all vibrant worshipers) were all gone – vacation, mission trips, etc. The Assoc. Pastor was gone, too. Who knows, maybe their lack of presence did something, though in a room as large as ours, they aren’t typically “noticed” so much anyway … we don’t sit them up in old-school wingbacks on the platform with the “Grand Poobahs”.

  39. Fred says:

    Steve,
    Love the photo … and let us know how that email to the pastor is received ….

    Fred

  40. Renee' Floyd says:

    My comment is more towards Chris Moncus.
    I love Jesus and I don’t always sing.
    Sometimes God Speaks and you have to listen.
    Sometimes I am awestruck and can’t sing.
    Just to let you know though….I was singing on Sunday.

    Renee’ Floyds last blog post..It’s Time for Domino’s (not the pizza)

  41. Fred says:

    Renee’
    Wow … thanks.
    “Sometimes God Speaks and you have to listen”.
    “Sometimes I am awestruck and can’t sing”.

    Whoa. That just did something in me … it slowed down the craziness. Simple, yet PROFOUND. Thanks, Renee’.

  42. Ryan says:

    Matthew Daniel said, “1. Where is your senior pastor and lead staff during worship? Are they engaged, ’cause if they’re not, then you can kiss everyone else goodbye.”

    This is such a good point that we all need to remember. Today in our staff meeting our senior pastor just said that from now on, all staff will park in the parking lot where people are shuttled to the church and mentioned that if people see the staff parking at the front of the church – they’ll never use the shuttle. Good stuff.

    Also – Renee – right on with what you said. That really impacted me today as well.

    I think it’s a matter of consistent, repeated teaching. Sometimes we think that we’re talking about something too much, but amazingly, even if we talk about something over and over and over every Sunday, sometimes it still takes some people months or years to get it. Then, the light bulb comes on and they say, “Oh, man, I finally understand what you’ve been saying all this time!”

    Persistence and patience are key.

    Ryans last blog post..Sunday Recap – A Challenge to Adults

  43. Fred… I’m with you on this, bro…
    I often sit in the back, and of course as you know, I sing LOUD… I suspected it was just my volume (I honestly try to restrain myself a bit, to not be a distraction), but given your experience, I wonder. Time for another short series on worship? I volunteer to teach a Sunday. 😉

    Shannon Lewiss last blog post..SOLD OUT

  44. Chris Moncus says:

    Thanks for calling me out, Fred.

    Let me rephrase…

    Singing is one of many natural outcries to God. Among them are singing, praying, shouting, dancing, and silence. I wonder if someone who does not respond to God’s goodness is out of touch with God and doesn’t fully love Him.

    Chris Moncuss last blog post..The Design Process

  45. Heather B says:

    @Chris- I think if one is not able to worship, whether in song, dance, silence, etc…, it probably has more to do with the fact that one does not “know” God or maybe their perception is skewed. Most people who I have the privilege of talking to in a mentorship type of relationship, have this totally unbiblical view of God as a stoic, detached being. They have no concept of the personal and relational, yet Holy and amazing God of the Bible.

    With that being said, some of the instruction that needs to take place, may be on the true nature and character of God. Just a thought.

    Heather Bs last blog post..For your information

  46. Tyler says:

    I can’t relate at all…………….;)

    Tylers last blog post..When the Tears Fall

  47. JonWesley says:

    My wife, who is not a singer, used to joke that mine was the only voice she ever heard in the room, unless my mother was visiting, then it was a duet. 🙂

    I am in total agreement with the wonder of it all. Do you think that sometimes it might be the dynamic of how well so-and-so knows the song, viz. “I grew up with…” versus the Spirit of the song? We sang Victory In Jesus this week with drums and everything and watched the oldest of the old come to life. I could do “The Happy Song” with organ and piano and it would be a solo. Go figure!

    In the Potter’s Hand,
    JW

    JonWesleys last blog post..Living Worship: Mercy

  48. Russ says:

    I’m a “worship pastor” and I have to watch myself when I’m not on stage. (Ask Fred he spent a week next to me while I was observing, learning, and at times singing during the NWLC)

    I have to remind myself that if I want my folks to go somewhere I need to be willing to go there to AT ANY GIVEN TIME, not just when I’m on stage.

    Great post.

  49. bo says:

    so im not much one for blog commenting and i will probably get ripped for this one but….are we playing and singing music that is conducive to worship? are we playing music that excites peoples spirits and energizes their passion for god? are we creating environments that lead people into an intimate encounter with christ through song? maybe its me, i work at a church 40hrs a week and i’ve heard the “if its style its a personal issue” talk a million times but there needs to be excitement and passion in the music, in the lyrics and in the people leading it. any thoughts?

  50. Fred Blom says:

    Fred,
    Great name by the way. I agree with Brad Loser, that we as worship leaders need to consciously and constantly remind the people why we worship. We all need reminders of who God is and what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do in the future. Like the Israelites, we need to remember that we serve the One who has redeemed us; and that giving Him our lives, more than singing, is our reasonable and acceptable act of worship.

    Fred Bloms last blog post..Thoughts on My Theology

  51. Fred says:

    Hey Everyone who’s following this – please continue to discuss this right here … however, I’ve just posted a new blog, “part 2”, with guest words from Dr. Michael Braz, Georgia Southern University … good stuff … check it out at:
    http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2008/07/29/corporate-singing-part2/

  52. Travis says:

    Brent(inWorship)
    We are running Smaart, calibrated and compared to the RadioShack dB meter. That is what we have been doing and happens to be what was recommended by Willow’s sound guy and Robert Scoville at “Arise.” In the two audio seminars I sat in they said they run in the high 80s with 88 as a “target” for the music with peaks hitting low 90s. That is where we had been running for a little while before and where we are camped for the time being.

  53. Just so’s everybody knows, this is a major problem in Baptist churches that still sing hymns, too…

    The peer pressure effect is the biggest thing. We all get embarrassed easily. It has become “uncool” to sing in an audience. It’s okay to stand, but we are still just there to be entertained. The “mosh pit” idea has made it okay to be involved if you’re on the front rows, but the real problem is that emotional involvement in religious activities is highly unacceptable, socially.

    Guys bring girlfriends to church. Girls bring boyfriends. Families bring neighbors. Kids bring grandparents. Workers bring co-workers. But the common factor is that none of us want the people we brought with us to see us as “weird”. We never really feel free to let go, because somebody somewhere around us might think we’re strange or even be “turned off” toward the church and thus to Jesus.

    It’s not a function of the worship leader, folks. It’s not something we can change. We as “leaders” can’t crack open heads and hearts and adjust and tweak until we get what we like to see out of “our people”.

    Guess who can?

    We need to pray. Pray for the people we lead. Pray for our pastors. Pray for the Holy Spirit to camp out in the hearts of believers and not let them be satisfied with anything less than the presence of God. Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict the unbelievers in our midst who might have pretended to give themselves to Christ but have never truly believed, and thus will never truly worship. Pray.

    We can play games with dB meters, electric guitars, lasers, cellphones, flashlights, and cigarette lighters all day long, but if the Holy Spirit of God is not at work in hearts, the people in our churches will never come to the point of being willing to worship.

    Prayer. Foundation #1.

  54. Fred says:

    Bernard –
    Spoken profoundly – prayer, Amen. Totally agree with that.
    Fred

  55. Wow. Great dialogue.

    1. We run a little on the loud side at A weighted 100 with peaks in 102. But it does tend to foster energy.

    2. We constantly teach on “place your mind’s attention and heart:s affection on God.”

    3. We challenge our people not to spell check the bulletin during worship and reinforce the worship equation: itty-bitty worship = itty bitty view of God

    As I preach 50% of the time, I get to do what you do a great deal. Sometimes it does get frustrating. Sometimes it lack of singing is due to design production issues like volume, too many new songs, or no “sound byte” challenges to focus. Other times, there are other reasons. We tend to preach the bigness of God during such times. (see http://www.worshiptrench.com/?p=131 for more on how to enlarge peoples views of God).

    jordan fowlers last blog post..Why I Adore Annoucements in Worship and How to Stop Them

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