by Gary L. Freeman
The Bible gives the exercise of singing to the Lord great importance. God gave man music by which he can express his innermost feelings with an outward expression. Psalm 71:23, "My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed." The Old Testament is filled with examples of God's people singing. Moses and Israel sang when Pharoah's army drowned in the Red Sea, Miriam and the women sang praises to God, Deborah sang the song of triumph, David was the songwriter and player of much music to the glory of God, our Lord and His disciples sang, Paul and Silas sang while in prison for the Lord.
The New Testament encourages believers in the Church age to sing. In fact, singing and being spirit-filled are found yoked together in Eph. 5:18-19, "and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord..." A singing church is evidence of a spiritually strong and happy church congregation.
Your church does not need to be a large church to be a singing church. (By the phrase "singing church" we mean a church which is allowing its spiritual condition of doctrinal strength and rejoicing heart to be expressed through an emphasized music ministry.) You don't even need to have a choir, band or multiple singing groups to qualify as a "singing church." Use the people you have to sing. You don't need to be professional. We want to encourage our young people to learn music and do well at it. We are glad for good music groups who serve God by singing, but there is too much professionalism in our fundamental church's music ministries. It is getting harder and harder to find musicians who clearly express through their singing that they are singing for the glory of the Lord and not for self-praise or money. We need to shun "contemporary music" which is nothing more than the Devil's disorderly music put to Christian words or phrases. Old traditional hymns and choruses along with newly composed Godly Christian music will provide ample opportunity for Christians to express their innermost spiritual feelings outwardly in song to God.
Pastors need to encourage good spiritual singing. Some Pastors say, "God didn't call me to sing, just to preach." This is wrong. God wants all of us to sing and to enjoy doing it. The Pastor should sincerely and honestly participate in singing and encourage the church to make the song service the best it can be. When the people sing well or if a special number was a blessing, the Pastor should acknowledge it publicly...
Good congregational singing will strengthen the doctrinal and spiritual foundation of the people. Good songs will speak of the: blood of Christ, cross sufferings, resurrection, new life in Christ themes, consecration, surrender to God's will, evangelism, heaven, Rapture, exhortations to live holy, praises to God's attributes, and many more. Let the people sing. Encourage lively singing. Allow a few "Amens." Make the song service a vital part of the church service. It prepares the hearts for the preaching. Do not allow the song service to usurp the place of the "Apostles doctrine."
Preaching is the most important part of the service (Acts 2:42). If you let the people joyfully and sincerely sing out the songs of the saints, they will begin to practice what they sing more and more. Col. 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Copied from "Handfuls On Purpose," May-June, 1990. Race Street Baptist Church, Catasauqua, PA.