Do people in your church sing?
I know you play music and invite them to sing, but do they sing?
This is an important question for a church. Worship is not limited to music, but praising God through song is an element of corporate church that communicates our gratitude toward God and our desire to know him more. Music touches our soul. When effective, music touches the lost soul, too. Music is very emotional. There’s no doubt that worship through singing is an important element in our church services.
But I’m afraid our approach to worship in the modern church MAY have moved worship from participation to observation. It certainly wasn’t our intention. But inadvertently, in our effort to make church more inviting to outsiders, we may have reduced the impact of corporate worship.
So how can you engage more people in worship without losing the ability to connect with current culture and introduce new people to corporate praise?
Here are 7 tips to better engage our churches in worship:
It’s amazing. When we sing an updated hymn at Watermarke Church, the crowd engagement increases dramatically. It makes sense. Most people have heard the more common hymns, and singing them in an updated music context is a wonderful mixture of familiar and current.
Turn it up if you want to sing. I don’t think this is optional. Seriously. I’ve heard the opposite advice before. It has been suggested that hearing other people sing encourages singing. Maybe that’s true, but I’ve been in too many places who practice that method and I’m as quiet as a church mouse. Maybe that’s where the saying originated?
At Watermarke Church, We run our music pretty loud, not because it’s a rock concert, but because I believe a certain volume is required if you want people like me with terrible voices to feel comfortable singing. Think about it. Are you more likely to sing when people can hear you or in your shower (BTW – we can hear your shower renditions!)? Exactly. So turn up the volume enough to drown out our fears.
Every week, we encourage people to sing by explaining why we sing and what we will sing. We put lyrics on all our screens to make participation easier. We use cameras to show close up images of our musicians, because seeing our leaders engage personally encourages our crowd to engage corporately.
4. Worship Leadership.
The person leading worship is a leader. It’s easy to focus on vocals and music ability, which is certainly important, but we title them a “leader” for a reason. If we want people in our church to sing, we must ensure our worship leaders lead with excellence.
5. Personal participation.
A culture of singing tells people it’s okay to sing, so as the Lead Pastor, I sit on the front row every week and sing away to help set the tone. Luckily, it’s loud enough that nobody hears my terrible voice and leaves (see # 2!).
6. Quality matters.
In our media driven society, the quality of worship matters more than ever. But the quality of sound is less important than the quality of authenticity. Worship should be real. We should be real. And we must display authenticity.
7. Design a journey.
The worship set is a journey – taking people from one concept to the next. You can leverage your music to set-up an idea or to punctuate a point. By intentionally designing your music or worship set, you can engage people in a deeper, more meaningful way. It might go without saying, but this typically leads to deeper engagement.
That’s probably just a start. We all desire for our churches to engage in worship. What else have you done to encourage worship engagement? I’d love to know so we can improve, too!
I would add #8 to the list for screens. Minimize distractions to elimination. Typos/misspellings, fonts, placement of text, how the words are displayed and wrong slides or late slides can snub worship just when it’s budding fourth. Every letter displayed is important. If “fourth” didn’t stick out and make you snicker instead of focus on the intent of this text it’s because your spelling isn’t as good as maybe a few others in the congregation who in the middle of a song would be redirected unnecessarily.
jeff dunkle -Dayspring multi-media Canal-Winchester, Ohio
Signing loud and proud in the front row!!! That’s Me! LOVE OUR MUSIC!! Hanging with the teenagers taught me that I have nothing to hide. Teenagers and younger kids are less inhibited – hands up, eyes closed. You should see them! They are all in! When I finally realized not to care what ANYONE else may think about me I let loose! Now I’m all in too!!! The signing is my FAVORITE part of church. Don’t be shy people!!! Engage. It is the most amazing feeling to FINALLY “get it”. I have every CD WaterMarke sells. Jam daily- Every kid in my car does too. Never thought a group of highschool kids and middle schoolers would want to ride w me because I “play cool
Church music”. Go figure!
It’s also a great way to pray! Never really thought about it but now I consider my “jam session” a time for prayer. How cool is that!?! A fun way to pray.
I Love My Church! ~ Susan Rubin