Singing is part of worship
Firstly when we sing there is a vertical element – we speak to God through song.
Throughout the scriptures we find examples and encouragements to praise God. Many of the psalms are songs expressing praise to the great God we serve. Others like Moses, and Mary wrote songs of praise when God did mighty works in their lives. The Church in Colosse were ‘encouraged to sing Psalms Hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.’ Colossians 3v16. Throughout the history of the church song has been the means of expressing our heartfelt and thankful response to the God who has done everything for us. It is also the means of expressing sorrow and repentance. Again many of the psalms reflect this.
Secondly when we sing there is a horizontal element – we speak to each other through song.
Singing is a means by which we can remind each other of what God has done for us. The command to the church in Colosse starts with the premise ‘Let the word of God dwell in you richly as you sing Psalms hymns and spiritual songs.’ We sing the truth about God to each other. We build each other up as we remind one another of all that Jesus has done for us.
So song has a duel function; one it reminds us of what God has done in Christ and two, it is a way of expressing our response.
Song or praise then helps express our worship but while praise is part of our whole life of worship it is only one part of it.
Leading the ‘worship’ time
We must understand that Jesus is our worship leader. He alone leads us into the presence of God, once and for all.
So what is the role of the song leader?
First the leader should primarily point away from themselves to Jesus. We don’t want to be thinking what a great ‘Drum solo that was’ or ‘what a great guitarist they are’ we want to be thinking about Christ. The songs should speak to us about what Jesus has done, and the leaders role is to direct our focus and thinking to Christ.
Second we should be sensitive to those who are not yet of the faith. Our singing is not a time to sing our ‘top ten’ favourite and in a manner that we like but to introduce new people to the living Christ. Our language must be clear and what we do explained. People who are not yet Christians should be comfortable with what is going on and not feel coerced into something they don’t want to do. While we do not water down the gospel we do make every effort to be sensitive.
Third the leader should lead the congregation. In other words everyone knows what we are doing.
Leaders should direct. If we are going to sing three songs in a row – tell them. If there is a time of quiet reflection – tell them. If there is a time of response in prayer – ask for a response.