As it was once said…
“All good things must come to an end”.
This is especially true with Andrew Brown, and his wife Stephanie, being called into a new season of life. For those of you who don’t know, Andrew Brown has been our Directory of Contemporary Worship for some time now, and he’s done an incredible job. Week after week, he’s led our Dickson Street contemporary service into the Lord’s presence through the power of the Holy Spirit. Andrew is a gifted worship leader, and is also one of my best friends. While it’s selfishly sad to see him leave, I know God has got some incredible things in store for him and Stephanie. I can’t wait to see what God does in, and through, them! That being said, his departure has opened up a role that needs to be filled, and it’s an honor for me to be able to fill it. I’m truly humbled that the Lord would choose me to continue to lead our church in contemporary worship, and I’m excited for the future of Central.
I am extremely passionate about worship as a whole and what it means to worship Christ with our entire lives, but today I want to focus on one aspect of worship– corporate singing. Have you ever thought, “Why do we sing in the church?” I think there are multiple answers to this question, and here are just a few that I’ve heard.
“We sing to prepare our hearts for the preaching of God’s word.”
“We sing to fill time before the sermon.”
“We sing to prepare ourselves for the work of God.
While all of these answers have some truth to them, I’m not convinced they are the main reasons we sing. I believe we sing because of the need of the Holy Spirit.
Allow me to elaborate briefly. The Holy Spirit is a real being, and it’s evident that throughout history He has been in the process of drawing nearer to us. God, in the beginning, was the father above us. Because His glory was not something we could behold, God then came through Jesus and He dwelt among us. Because of Christ we could see and experience His glory on earth. But God, in His infinite desire to be with us, gave us a helper, and now through the Holy Spirit God dwells IN us. Stop and process that for just a second. The Spirit of the Living God lives inside us! Our ability to walk in obedience to the Lord, to experience His presence and power, is about the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us!
So, I know what you’re thinking. What does this have to do with me singing? Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5:18-21:
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A quick note that’s important for our understanding: Paul was addressing the Ephesians who were surrounded by a culture of pagan religions who were very far from God. Many tried to use alcohol to experience the gods’ powers. Paul is trying to help the believers of Christ understand how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Notice the very first example Paul mentions. Singing. “Be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…”
We absolutely need the Holy Spirit to work in our lives on a continual basis. The word Paul uses in the Greek text for “filled” is plērousthe, which is actually a present imperative middle. That’s simply fancy bible language lingo for a continual and ongoing filling. So Paul is teaching the Ephesians that they can continually be filled by His Spirit and experience His power by singing! How cool is that?!
So, why do we sing in the church?
We sing because singing has a spiritual impact on us horizontally. We don’t just sing for our benefit. We sing so that others around us can be filled with the Spirit and be reminded that He is going to walk with them through whatever they are facing.
We sing because singing has a spiritual impact on us vertically. God created us to worship Him, and when we do it reminds us of who we truly are. It centers us on His unfailing promises for our lives.
We sing because singing has an impact on our thanksgiving. There’s nothing like corporate worship that reminds my soul of what He’s done. There’s nothing like singing that leads my heart to true gratefulness. Thanksgiving always leads to a changed perspective. Become overwhelmed with thankfulness!
Worship through singing is ultimately about God. And God’s desire is for His people to glorify Him together! God couldn’t care less about the sound or quality of your voice; He cares about the quality of your heart. So, let’s be a people who are passionate about singing together.
New Director of Contemporary Worship