This past weekend my wife, myself, and a few others did an intensive membership class for the church we’ve been attending the past month and a half. The teaching pastor covered everything from a biblical understanding of the Gospel to how they practiced church discipline. Then came Sunday. The morning started out foggy, damp, but it quickly turned into a torrential downpour. Thunder clapped loudly during service. The lightning danced around outside the glass windows so much the projector flickered. But we continued to worship, singing, and listening to the Word preached. It helped me remember our first Sunday at this church.
Sunday, marked our 6th time to worship with the believers at Liberty Baptist Church. As we approach covenanting with this church, there is one thing that I remember was difficult when we visited back in March. It was the singing part of the service. The lyrics were sound, but the tone was strange. I didn’t know many of the songs. However, through that brief experience I learned that even though I may not be familiar with a particular song, it doesn’t mean I cannot worship together with other Christians. To not sing because I don’t know the song is kind of foolish.
Back in March my wife and I visited LBC. We had scoped out this church since I first sought interest in the seminary when my wife and I got married in 2015. I remember that first Sunday we visited, I didn’t recognize most of the songs. However, I didn’t hesitate to continue singing because I didn’t have a good reason not to sing.
The worship pastor/elder introduced a new song which was about the Trinity. Usually, I would wait until he sang the first verse that way I could catch on to the tune, but I didn’t. The content of the song was greater than the tune, so we felt like we need to follow in order to worship properly. God is not concerned if we cannot stay on beat or sing words out of order. During worship, I realized that God isn’t going to denounce my worship if I don’t know the song.
My duty as a church member and a guest of a church is to trust the worship pastor to have organized worship that is lyrically and compositionally acceptable for corporate Christian worship. Too often Christians find themselves in a ruckus if the lyrics on the screen or the beat of the song is strange or out of date. In God’s kingdom, the songs we sing may seem ancient, yet we should still praise Him in the way He desires. I’m not against giving a modern tune to an old hymn since I am pro-modern worship as long as it is biblical.
What if your church stopped singing the songs you know? What if your worship pastor packed up and left? And the new guy who takes over starts to introduce songs that may be biblical in content, but may not have a catchy tune or familiar sound. Would you pack up and leave to scout out a church that plays all the greatest, latest, positive and encouraging songs? Or would you seek to understand that our theology is to complement our doxology? Our greatest need as Jesus worshippers is to sing songs that honor God’s Word, so whatever we sing, we do it all to Him in praise. May we never be stingy about the songs we sing to our Lord. As church members lets you and me be patient with the worship pastor as he chooses songs that best leads us to exalt Christ and edify the worshipper.
This next Sunday trust that the worship pastor is seeking to honor God in the songs he chooses to lead the congregation because in this he does has your best interest in mind. When your church starts singing songs that don’t sound familiar, please take time to examine the lyrics, and be patient while you learn the songs. The Spirit doesn’t stop moving because the songs are unfamiliar or unpopular.
We should never stop singing or praising the Lord since our lives are ever before the face of the Lord. Let’s you and I be stirred afresh in corporate worship so we can go out as into the world with renewed affection for the glory of God to make disciples for the fame of Jesus. Then, we will not only continue to sing on the Lord’s Day but find Him to be our all satisfying delight and pleasure even in the mundane of our daily lives.
Taylor Cain is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University, Journalism(B.A), and graduated with a Masters of Divinity in Preaching and Pastoral Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the Director of Students and church member at Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, MO. He is married to Callie Cain.