When we gather as a church for worship on the Lord's Day, we generally devote ourselves to a few things in particular: reading Scripture, prayer, giving, the preaching of the Word, and singing. When most people think about "church", one of the first things that comes to mind is a preacher and preaching. While the preaching of God's Word is vital to the gathering of the church, it isn't the only thing we do.
Another important purpose of the gathering is congregational singing, or what many people refer to as worship. Calling it congregational singing helps us better emphasize the purpose of worship in the Sunday gathering. The purpose isn't to watch the people on the stage perform. The purpose is for every believer to join together as one body in raising their voices to glorify God through singing. That means you are a participator, not a spectator, during worship! Here are 5 practical ways to get the most of out worship this Sunday:
Listen to the songs beforehand
Hate not knowing the songs when you come to church? We've created a playlist on Spotify of the songs that we sing during Sunday morning worship. New ones are added to this playlist when we learn a new song. Find a link to this playlist by clicking here.
As we've seen through our study of 1 Timothy, the church is described as the church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15). When we gather, we assemble before the true and living God to offer a sacrifice of worship, and to receive the benefits He offers us in His Word. This is not a meeting to be entered into lightly.
One way you can get the most out of singing is by arriving just a few minutes early in order to consider the things I've just mentioned. Take a moment to consider who God is, what it is to gather before Him in worship, and prepare your heart and mind for that encounter. You can lead your family in that as well.
I get it. Sometimes we run late. Sometimes traffic catches us. Sometimes the kids seem to do everything possible to make Sunday morning as difficult as possible, and arriving early to do these things isn't always possible. But I believe that, if you make this a habit, it will help you to engage more fully in worship through song.
Engage fully in singing.
Like anything worth doing, robust congregational singing is something that takes work over time. This is true for the congregation as a whole, and for each individual. You may consider yourself tone deaf and rhythmically inept. That's okay. The Lord is still worthy of our worship in song, and commands us to worship Him in this way.
So sing out, even if you don't think you're any good. In doing so, you're obeying God and encouraging those around you who see your participation and thank God for it. What a testimony it is during the singing to see a sister in Christ across the room, to know the hardships and difficulties in her life, and yet to see and hear her sing out: "It is well, it is well with my soul!" In this way, we "address one another" in our singing with biblical encouragement (Eph. 4:19, Col. 3:16).
Focus on the words.
As you're singing, pay close attention to the words you're singing. Think about them, and take them into your heart. Strive to understand the biblical truths they represent and to believe these in your heart. Let your singing of the words not just be words on your lips, but an expression of truths you believe.
In this way, you'll find a variety of ways in which the words of the songs we sing will impact you. Some will encourage you, some will teach you, some will convict you, some will humble you, and some will embolden you. Ultimately, they should all draw you to know God better and glorify Him more.
In all these things, let your overarching aim be to glorify God. Congregational singing involves us, but it is not about us. It's all about God. So when you come to sing, come prepared and ready to engage, encouraged by those around you, focused on the truths of the words. Remember the goal and purpose behind it all: our triune God is infinitely glorious and worthy of our worship. The Father has poured out His love on us undeserving sinners. He has done more for us than we can ask or think in Jesus Christ. God even now dwells with us in His Spirit. May He be glorified in our singing!