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Body building while we sing

There’s a wide range of views among evangelicals about the purpose of congregational singing.

The Music Exchange Richard Simpkin

Some say that we should sing only to engage with God and to worship him. Others say that congregational singing is all about mutual encouragement and teaching (we don’t sing to worship God — instead, we ‘go out’ at the end of our meetings to worship the Lord). I’m sure that not many people hold strictly to these two extremes, but the way some of our meetings are run often betrays a leaning towards one or the other. Those who hold to the ‘teaching’ view are always very careful about the theology that is sung, but the singing can often be dry, lifeless and clinical, and there can seem to be no acknowledgement of the presence of Jesus. Those who hold to the ‘worship’ view (in my experience) are often more exuberant or sensitive, but less discerning about doctrine. The presence of Jesus is all-important, but everyone is singing in their own little bubble, unaware of their brothers and sisters around them, who need to be encouraged and built up as a body.