Posted by Chris Vacher on 27 April 2018

One of the great joys and responsibilities we have as worship leaders is to help equip our congregations so they can sing their worship to God. 

And yet over the past few years there has been incredible amounts of angst-filled hand-wringing over how little singing is actually happening in our churches.

Are we just performing for people?

Has church become a concert?

Have we forgotten the importance of congregational singing? 

Usually the response of most worship leaders is to act a little defensive and to simply push the responsibility back on the church to do their part. “We play the songs, the church is supposed to sing. That’s how this works!” 

Yes, that is how this works.. but we also have to take responsibility as worship leaders not only in the worship aspect of our role but as much (or maybe more!) in the leader part of our role.

We are responsible as worshippers and to inspire worship in our congregation but we are also responsible to lead and to be leaders for our congregation.

So how can we help our congregation engage with more singing with our heart for worship and also our eye on leadership?

One stumbling to the lack of singing which may be happening in your church is that the songs may not be familiar for people who attend your services. 

Remember that by the time you get up to lead that song on Sunday morning you’ve probably spent weeks listening to the song, rehearsing the song in your mind, working on parts, talking with your worship team about the song, practicing the song with your team and getting that song ready for your worship services.

It’s not inconceivable to think that you may have listened to that song hundreds of times before people in your church are hearing it only for the first time.

Even if you do the song a couple weeks in a row, people in your church have lived a lot of life between Sundays and they may not remember how that song went last week. 

And of course there’s a large chunk of your congregation who doesn’t attend worship every Sunday and so even doing the song three weeks in a row will mean that some people have heard the song only once or twice over the span of a month.

So how can you help your congregation get more engaged with the songs? Here are a few ideas: 

1. Most modern worship albums are now released with video versions of the songs either live or in studio. Post these videos on Facebook and other social media channels and let people know you’ll be singing the song on Sunday.

2. If you’re in a church context where you may not be able to replicate the full sound of the song compared to the album, post a simple acoustic version of the song on social media in the days leading up to Sunday. Nothing fancy, just one person with a guitar or a keyboard singing through the basic elements of the song. 

3. This last idea takes more work but you should also be evaluating the size of your worship repertoire. Too many songs sung too infrequently means there is not enough repetition in those songs for your congregation (and maybe even your worship team!) to be really familiar with how those songs go.

When our churches don’t sing, it may be a worship issue but we shouldn’t discount that it may be a leadership issue. Both worship and leadership need to be addressed to help our congregations sing as part of their worship to Jesus.

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