by Joel Pollard, LBC Director of Worship
In 2017, we saw God bless our congregation in a myriad of ways, but I’m specifically thankful for his continued provision for our worship services. We continue to have more musicians than I know what do with and we’ve seen and heard how greatly we’ve been blessed. I’m thrilled to be able to continue to lead and serve with so many wonderful people. As a way to incrementally move the needle on the quality of our worship, I was able to purchase a new keyboard and new drums this year. I believe you’ll notice, even if you aren’t a musician, the improvement in sound from these purchases.
Looking ahead in 2018, my biggest goal is to see our congregation engage even more in congregational singing. I hope to one day look out and see everyone singing! Now, I know some people might ask why I make such a big deal out of singing and I have a couple of answers to that question.
First, singing is important because God himself is a singer.
As his image bearers, we are to reflect his character back to him. In Zephaniah 3, the Lord is described as loving his people so much that he sings loudly over them. If singing is important to God and a way that God himself expresses his love and delight for us, then perhaps we should take note and sing back to him.
Some might say “Well I don’t sing because I’m not a good singer.” I know it may be uncomfortable, but I invite you to consider the way the Bible talks about worship. The Bible says in a lot of places to sing, but it never says you have to be a skilled musician or that only the talented people should participate. But it does say in a lot of places to make a joyful noise. One of my favorite memories about this from growing up was hearing a certain man in church sing. He was a former Marine and the local high school wrestling coach. You get the image. Not the guy you’d picture loving to sing. But there he was, every Sunday, singing his heart out. And whether that sound is musically beautiful or not, God loves it.
Second, singing does something to the human heart that few other actions can do.
I think part of our God-given design is to connect our hearts and minds through singing. It’s why every culture on earth has some form of music. It’s why countless numbers of people go to concerts, listen to music throughout their workday, or use music as a way to mourn or grieve, as well as celebrate. Through singing God’s truth, we connect what's in our heads with our hearts, and so we are able to more wholly believe it.
A great illustration for this is in the movie Elf. At the end of the movie, after Buddy the elf and his dad help Santa fix his sleigh, there’s a group of people who break out into caroling. But Buddy’s dad doesn’t sing, even though he just saw Santa with his own eyes. He doesn’t connect his head with his heart until he starts singing.
Finally, singing in a congregational setting isn't only about you.
When we gather to sing together, one of the things we’re doing by singing is saying to everyone around us that we truly believe these things, even enough to put our self-consciousness aside and sing. It’s one of the unique things about Christian worship, this singing we do together.
When a person who doesn’t know God is in our midst and sees a bunch of people wholeheartedly singing together about our faith, he’s bound to ask questions. But if we stand around and don’t sing, what questions will that same unbeliever ask?
For that matter, what about the believer who is struggling or grieving? Just as Moses needed help from his friends to hold his arms up, we hold up and support one another by affirming that God's promises are true and trustworthy.
Even when you don’t feel like it, sing. Even when it’s hard, sing. Even when you don’t know if you really believe these things, sing, because singing will help stir the affections of your heart and confirm to you and those around you that these things we hold to are true.
Let’s make 2018 a year of singing. Because God is good and kind. Because he’s king. Because singing changes us from the inside out. And because singing about what we believe might be the means God uses to draw that person sitting next to you to himself.
Want to get involved? If you have musical or A/V gifts to contribute to the worship at LBC we'd love to hear from you! Contact Joel Pollard.