I heard C.J. Mahaney speak once and I remember him saying, “The priority in corporate worship is singing. If that doesn’t happen, you failed” (paraphrased). That was a huge statement for me to hear. There are some nonnegotiables that need to exist in our songs, but if our people do not engage with the songs we sing, we are not winning. And when I say winning, if our people do not engage with the songs we sing, we are not accomplishing our goal of corporate singing.
A few nonnegeotiables are:
- Songs must be about the character of God
- Songs must encourage God’s people to love him more
- Songs must tell the story of the Gospel
*Note: Each song will not completely fulfill each category but you should not have to stretch to make a song work.
If people aren’t engaging and singing, we have to evaluate why not. With that said, we are also not trying to just create an emotion. We’re trying to sing about who God is. The message of who God is should be what creates an emotion and engages worship.
I encourage you to come up with a vision for your corporate worship through songs. At Christ Community Church, we say: Corporate singing should: plant the gospel, encourage personal discipleship and compel us to be a generous people.
What is good in having a clear vision about what you are accomplishing through corporate singing is that it is easy for people to come in, know expectations and thus feel free to worship. And once you have that vision in mind, it becomes much easier to pick songs for your gathering.