Churches of Christ around the country are known for excellent singing. If you have done much
traveling and visiting in other congregations, you know this to be true. Also, if you have had
occasion to visit in denominational churches, you know that the singing generally leaves a lot to
be desired, and it pales by comparison to the Lord’s church. Often, this is because of a loud organ,
or other instrumental music, which drowns out the few who are singing there.
Typically also, there is in churches of Christ a strong emphasis upon song leader training,
congregational singing workshops, and other efforts to make our singing the very best it can be.
For several years now here at Central, we have devoted the fifth Sunday evening to singing. We
have encouraged learning new songs, working on improving our singing of the songs we already
know, and appreciating better the meaning of the songs we sing. We believe that our God
deserves the very best we can offer in worship, and congregational singing is one of the important
avenues by which we regularly worship him.
This evening we have a valuable opportunity to work on our singing, as brother Andy Robison
from the West Virginia School of Preaching leads us in a special singing workshop and training
period. The purpose is to help make our singing even moire pleasing to God. Andy comes to us
with an excellent musical background, and has been very effective in singing workshops and
similar training. I hope each of us will make it a point to be present, open-minded, and eager to
learn. The regular session at 6:00 will be followed by a session for the current and future song
leaders at 7:00.
In preparing for tonight’s sessions, consider the following qualities which make for good
1. Good singing happens when members clear their minds, and think seriously about the words
they are saying. It is not merely mouthing the words, or going through the motions. Don’t be
texting or engaging in other distractions.
2. Good singing happens when the song leader is enthusiastic and leads the congregation
clearly and emphatically. He can be seen and heard—he is the leader, not the follower. His facial
expressions are vibrant, and he sings with emotion, not with dull lifelessness.
3. Good singing involves songs which are selected to go along with the theme of the worship
service. The sermon title and scripture reading are carefully considered in advance by the song
leader, who then chooses songs which contribute to these.
4. Good congregational singing is on pitch. Remember that songs are written to be sung in a
particular key. This is vital if all of the singers are to be able to sing their parts. If the song is
pitched too low, the bass singers will be prevented from singing. If too high, the tenors are
excluded., etc. The song leader must start the song at the correct pitch!
5. Good congregational singing is at the appropriate tempo or speed. Song leaders who
habitually drag (or allow the congregation to drag), dampen and demoralize the worshipers.
6. Good congregational singing involves songs that are generally known by the congregation.
How can a congregation enthusiastically participate in singing songs they do not know? One of
the reasons we have song practices every fifth Sunday is to work on songs that we do not know,
so that they can be incorporated into the general worship services.
7. Good congregational singing does not “wear out” the same songs over and over again. We
have hundreds of songs in our song book available to use. Use them! It is good practice for the
song leaders to keep track of which songs they have led, and make a point to lead a variety, rather
than singing the same ones over and over.
8. Good congregational singing requires members to look up, sing out and do their best! Don’t
mumble or slur the words. Don’t look down at your lap or stare off into space. Keep the song
leader in your peripheral vision and follow the words you are singing on the screen!
Let’s treat our worship in song as the great privilege that it is!
– by Robert C. Veil, Jr.