10 Reasons Some of Your Church Members Didn’t Sing Yesterday

In every church I’ve been, somebody doesn’t participate in the singing during the worship service. Here are some reasons some folks may not have sung in your church yesterday: 

  1. They’re frustrated with someone or something in the church. Some folks let their frustrations so control them that they refuse to focus on anything else, even during worship. Their idolatry blocks their worship. 
  2. They don’t sing in general. Some folks just don’t sing much—or, they know they don’t sing well. It’s just better, they assume, to be quiet and let others sing. Their silence really is not an objection to anything. 
  3. They have sin issues in their own life. Even the “best” hypocrites will eventually struggle with singing when ongoing sin’s a problem in their life. The words of a song might, in fact, convict them. 
  4. They didn’t know the songs. Obviously, no person can know every possible song for worship—but it’s tough for many of us to sing fervently when we don’t know the song at all. That’s especially hard if the worship leader doesn’t first take time to teach the song. 
  5. No one ever taught them a strong theology of worship, including the importance of worshiping through song. When we don’t have a good theology of worship, we too often assume worship is about us . . . and our music and style preferences. Self-centered worship is not biblical worship. 
  6. They’re facing struggles in their home or work. We who lead worship services often have no idea what our church members are facing behind closed doors. They bring baggage with them, and that baggage hinders their worship. 
  7. They were trying to make some kind of protest statement. Maybe they don’t like the pastor . . . or the worship leader . . . or the music style . . . or the general direction of the church . . . or just about anything else. They assumed their protest will lead to the change they want (which is seldom the case). 
  8. The song choices were difficult for any congregation to sing. I’ve been in worship services where the song selection seemed to be more to showcase the leader than to invite the congregation to sing. In my judgment, that issue’s on the shoulder of the one who chooses the songs more than it is on the participants. 
  9. The entire worship service seemed to be designed for spectators, not for worshiping participants. The focus on the “show on the stage” made it feel like the role of the congregation was to watch and listen—not get in the way of the music by singing too much. I don’t know a church that deliberately operates this way, but I do know some that leave you with that impression. 
  10. They may not be believers. I realize even non-believers can sing, but they’ll not be inclined to do so with fervor and passion. It’s hard to sing strongly about Someone you do not know. 

What would you add to this list? 

1 Comment

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    I went to two services yesterday–the early service (contemporary) and the 11:00 AM service (traditional). The songs at the contemporary service were unfamiliar, not particularly easy to sing, and not particularly worshipful. I suspect that they are also not repeated from Sunday to Sunday. They are the songs that the music leader for that service says she picks with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. She may believe she is following the leading of the Holy Spirit and I am not God so I don’t know what guidance the Holy Spirit may be giving her. But from the perspective of planning the worship music of a service with a view to releasing the whole congregation into praise, they were not good choices, based upon my own experience and knowledge as a worshipper planner over the years. One song was a missed opportunity. If she had selected a different version of the song, the one with the Alleluia refrain and descant, it would have led to a time of spontaneous praise and worship. Instead the worship team wound up playing the tune over and over again while the pastor prayed with members of the congregation and anointed them with oil. The other songs were not the kinds of things people have on their minds when they praising and worshiping God or if they are on their minds, they can be expressed in less complicated language. While I can quickly pick up a tune from hearing it, I suspect other people in the congregation cannot so they end up not singing. At the the second service the hymns and songs are more familiar since most of them come from the denominational hymnal and have been repeatedly used over the years. Occasionally a selection is taken from an older songbook with which some congreants may be acquainted but others are not. One of the problems is that the songs at both services are chosen to prepare the congregation for the sermon and to reinforce the sermon when they do not need to be. Opening songs should focus on praising and worshiping God. Only the offertory (if late in the service) and invitation hymn need echo the sermon. People do not see the connection between preparation hymns and the sermon. The final song should send the people out , rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit to love and service the Lord. .Trying to hammer the main points of the sermon into people’s heads with hymns and songs is not going to get them across to the people. Helping them to open their hearts and minds to the Spirit of God through praise and worship will, on the other hand, be far more effective. The Holy Spirit will take the words of the sermon and use them to transform lives. When we make too much use of hymns and songs to get across the points of the sermon, we may be tiring the people out and discouraging them from singing. Our services are becoming too didactic.

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