When Corporate Worship Is Just Singing

When Corporate Worship Is Just Singing

I love music. Without a doubt, the combination of lyric and melody is one of my favorite art forms in all the world. But I’ve had a lingering question that has been in my mind as it relates to corporate worship. Can it be that corporate worship is just singing?

Are we singing too many worship songs? And does the singing of songs eventually have an adverse effect on our hearts?

Songs are everywhere in the life of a Christian.

We sing on Sunday.

We sing at midweek services.

We sing along with K-Love on our commute and everywhere in between.

I know we need to worship … but have we neglected the true purpose of our singing? Have we become numb to the effect singing is supposed to have on our hearts?

Is It True That Corporate Worship Is Just Singing?

We may be singing songs in corporate worship … but do we know how to pray in the secret place?

We may know the latest worship hits … but are we speaking to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs?

We can sing … but do we know God’s Word more than the latest Kari Jobe album?

As I look at my own life, I fear sometimes that I do too much singing and not enough of other disciplines that are healthy for my heart in God.

Of course, singing isn’t the problem. We are commanded to sing. The Scriptures are full of exhortations to sing:

  • Judges 5:3“Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; to the Lord I will sing; I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
  • I Chronicles 16:9“Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!”
  • Psalm 21:13“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.”

There is no shortage of singing in the Scriptures.

So what is the problem?

When Corporate Worship Is Just Singing Instead of Surrender

Singing cannot replace other spiritual disciplines.

Songs are no substitute for true surrender.

And these disciplines need to be taught.

It’s no surprise that we live in a post-Christian society. The people in our churches don’t know what to do. We can’t assume they know about such spiritual disciplines of contemplative prayer, Bible reading, Scripture memorization and worship.

If we don’t teach them, the extent of their development will be the corporate worship songs we sing—which just isn’t enough for a true disciple of Jesus.

Let me illustrate by pointing a finger at myself. I’m wondering:

  • Am I in regular contact with the Word of God, so that its truth informs my worldview and manner of life?
  • Do I have regular times where I cry out to God in prayer, so that I live in the reality that I need God?
  • Am I meeting regularly with people to spur them on to love and good works?
  • When was the last time I shared the Gospel with an unbeliever?

Or am I simply … singing?

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David Santistevan
David is a Worship Pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, PA.