Put aside for a moment the arguments over the style of music in churches. Why do we sing in the first place?
Hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty guide the reader in an exploration of this question in Sing! How Worship Transforms the Church, a short book that incorporates Scripture with personal experience and the words of classic hymns.
As international worship leaders and conference speakers, the Gettys have written songs in a variety of genres which all teach sound doctrine. They bring to the book their experience not only as members of a local church but also as musicians who have led worship in congregations around the world.
The first three chapters build the Scriptural case for congregational singing. In these chapters we are reminded that we are created to sing, commanded to sing and compelled to sing. The next three chapters offer suggestions on incorporating singing into your personal devotions, into your family time and into the life of the church.
A powerful chapter near the end of the book speaks of our singing as witness to an unbelieving world. It is here that the Gettys powerfully drive home their point by sharing how their most familiar song, “In Christ Alone,” has been means of proclaiming the gospel of Christ through its clear message. The chapter reminds us, “As you stand and sing in your church this Sunday, you do not know who is listening, and you can never imagine what the Lord might be doing.”
The book concludes with a short section of practical suggestions for pastors, musicians, worship leaders and song writers.
Singing has, for some in the church, become a tradition that has lost its meaning. We sing the words by rote without contemplating their deeper meaning or even the reason why the Church has always been a singing Church.
In their clear, simple way, the Gettys remind us that singing should incorporate mind, heart and soul – as should all of our worship. Their suggestions for different members of the church body are valuable for focusing the attention of the congregation where it rightfully belongs with the God who created us to sing.
Sing! would be an excellent resource to use within the local church to not only encourage its members to sing, but also to approach our worship in song joyfully no matter how skilled our voices.
Disclaimer: Thank you to B&H Publishing for providing me with a copy of Sing! in exchange for my unbiased review.