Some people think about singing in worship this way: I can’t really sing. If I sang it would bother other people. I’d rather hear other people sing. And, how many times have people said to me, “If I sang, it would run everybody out of the building.” And if you are one of the people that say those things, you are dead wrong.
The Bible illustrates two very important types of worship – personal and corporate. Our personal worship happens every day as we get alone with God in the Word, through prayer, and as we move through our day in obedience as a living sacrifice of worship. Over the course of our week, walking with the Lord in our daily lives, the corporate worship expression is building in each member of the body. That expression can only be made in one place, at one time, with everybody else. We don’t come to church to get something. We come to empty out all of the corporate worship that has built up in our spirit all week.
The scripture helps us understand the importance of corporate worship as the Body of Christ comes together to express our worship together in praise. The writer of Hebrews describes it for us in chapter 10, verses 22-25. Here’s the simple outline – Since we have been saved by our Great High Priest, Jesus, let us draw near, let us hold fast to our confession, and let us watch out and encourage each other. The writer goes on to say that we should not neglect gathering together. The key word is “us.” And that means all of us.
Some might counter, “But, my worship is personal. I just don’t want to be distracted or be a distraction in worship. That’s why I don’t sing.” Yes, private worship is personal. But, when the body gathers, our worship should be anything but personal. When we gather, we join together to express one voice of worship to God, with everyone singing. If your voice is missing, the song is incomplete.
When you stand and stare, you are not engaging in what the writer is talking about. You are focused on yourself and in the name of not being a distraction, you become a huge distraction and a horrible example of corporate worship to your family.
Rather than drawing near, you remain a distant observer. Instead of holding fast to the confession, you are making no confession at all. Far from watching out for and encouraging the rest of us, you are calling into question whether or not you even believe what we are expressing together. Our song is not what it should be because you aren’t doing your part.
It doesn’t matter what you sound like. It doesn’t matter how much you like the song. It doesn’t even matter how well you know it. But it matters if you sing. The rest of us are less than we should be without your voice. If nothing else, move your lips for the sake of others.
Psalm 40:3 says the song of worship should be seen by others.
This is us. And we need you.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.