WEEK 7: The Radical Witness of a Singing Church

Glorious worship is exuberant, never half-hearted. It is attractive, not off-putting. It is awesome, never sentimental. It is brilliant not careless. It points to God, not to the speakers…. There is nothing more evangelistic, nothing that will win the world more than glorious worship.

Tim and Kathy Keller, The Songs of Jesus

The seventh and final chapter of SING! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church is entitled, “The Radical Witness When Congregations Sing.” After opening with the poignant quote above, Keith and Kristyn Getty effectively argue for the high priority of congregational singing as an indispensable part of a local church’s witness for Christ.

Singing Together Is Always a Witness

“Singing together bears compelling witness to the truth. It says to those watching on and listening in that, just as we sing the same melody together, we share the same faith, the Faith; not a self-made creed for a solo journey toward nowhere, but commitment to our one Lord of all, who transforms the life we live together and will bring us home to eternity.”

A Powerful Witness

“God’s people have always witnessed to the truth through their singing. In the Old Testament, the faith of the Israelites could be clearly heard in their songs. And many of the lyrics of their hymnal, the Psalms, showed their awareness of other nations listening into their singing, and called them to praise God too.”

“Since the dawn of the church, times of great church renewal and revival have been accompanied by (and, we might say, spurred on by) churches singing.” [Scriptures to read: Psalm 117; Acts 2:46-47]

Singing the Gospel

“[Being] vague and gospel-lite in congregational songs is not the way to be ‘seeker friendly.’ Communicating the gospel in a way that informs the mind and engages the emotions is. The gospel is the church’s central lyrical distinctive. We should not be shy about it. As you stand and sing in your church this Sunday, you do not know who is listening, and you can never imaging what the Lord might be doing.”

A Damaging Witness

There’s a danger in what we sing in church. “We must actually believe and live the truths we sing, otherwise what we sing can make us hypocritical, and not only doesn’t attract non-believers—it turns them off. It is easy to sing about the Lordship of Christ; far harder to live under it…. Hypocritical living damages our witness and so does half-hearted singing.”

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