I love it when congregations sing so loud that the soundman has trouble hearing the worship band over the people singing around him. Worship leaders—if the congregation is not singing, we are not doing what God has called us to do. Here are a few things that I’ve learned to avoid in order to encourage the congregational singing.
12 Things to Avoid for Better Congregational Singing
1. Avoid doing frequent and long instrumental solos
The goal is to get the congregation to be involved. If you have too many solos and they are too long, it can cause the congregation to disengage and become spectators. In certain situations, a well placed solo or short four- to eight-bar instrumental works well. But be careful not to overuse them. I generally use them only as short transitions to the next section. I also find short song intros are generally the best (four to eight bars is ideal).
2. Avoid doing too many new songs
I love new songs and the band loves learning new songs, but the congregation doesn’t get tired of songs as fast as we do. They haven’t put in hours of listening to and rehearsing the songs or playing the same songs in multiple services. They hear a song once on Sunday morning and maybe on Christian radio. A congregation can only learn so many songs. Be careful about how often you introduce new songs.
3. Avoid having too many songs in your worship rotation
There are hundreds of thousands of worship songs and hymns. I recently read that CCLI has around 300,000 worship songs in their catalog. But, how many songs does your congregation really sing in a year? Probably only 40-50. Learn to edit your overall top songs list and repeat songs on a regular basis.