I found myself thinking this the other day in worship – I really don’t like this song and wish we wouldn’t sing it.
It probably happens to people in our churches more than we think. We live in a culture where we are encouraged to “rate and review” everything. And we have been conditioned to believe our opinion matters! This is certainly true in our congregational song choices.
What should we do when we don’t like the songs? Sit in the foyer until the music is over? There has to be something better.
- Sing anyway. You don’t have to fold your arms and put a scowl on your face to visibly express your disapproval. You can actually sing anyway. Not because you love the song – because you love Jesus. It is a choice you can make.
- Focus on the truth of the lyric. Now, if the lyric is expressing something that is not true to God’s Word, you have reason to not like the song and may need to take more drastic steps. But, generally speaking, there is something true about every song, even the ones you don’t like. Focus your attention on that truth, not on the melody that is driving you crazy.
- Pray. While the song is being sung, spend your energy praying that God will speak and move in His people instead of dwelling on sensibilities that feel offended by a song you don’t like. And, pray each week for the people that are selecting the songs you are singing in church; pray they will have wisdom and discernment as they make choices in music. Planning music for worship for a diverse congregation is a difficult thing to do – your leaders need your prayer support.
- Resist feeling marginalized. The enemy comes to the offended heart and begins to whisper, “This church doesn’t love you. They don’t care about you. If they did, they wouldn’t sing stuff like this. You don’t matter to them.” And none of that is true. You can choose your attitude about the songs your church sings.
A great example of this was from someone in my church years ago who expressed this to me one day – “I don’t like the songs we are singing. But, I love how God is using the music in our church to minister to these young families. You’re doing a great job! I thank God for you!”
That’s what maturity looks like.
- Be Grateful. If you will choose to, look around your church and see all that God is doing… and be thankful. Or, you can decide to focus all of your attention on what isn’t the way you prefer.
Are your Sunday lunches more like a critic’s review of the music? Or the sermon? Why not turn them into testimonies of God’s goodness and a celebration of all He is doing in your church and family? I especially encourage parents to be very careful critiquing church with their children and teenagers. You could be unintentionally sowing seeds that will bring heartache later.
Try these suggestions. You might discover a worship experience that doesn’t rest on the song list each week. Jesus is longing for you to celebrate His goodness – not just spend your time hating the songs.
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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. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.