Why Men Have Stopped Singing in Church


Credit:  Tolga Kostak

Credit: Tolga Kostak

Before getting to this topic, here’s a brief update on my great-grand-nieces Emma and Anna, surviving triplets born four months prematurely on Christmas Day 2013:

  • Emma is still in the hospital. She was due to come home about ten days ago, but was delayed in doing so. Her chest X-Ray looked better last week, but she has a urinary infection. They’re supplementing her formula with rice cereal, but are having trouble getting it through the feeding tube. The latest prognosis is that she will need to spend about one more month in NICU.
  • Anna underwent successful surgery last week for pyloric stenosis, which is a narrowing or restriction of the pylorus, the opening at the lower part of the stomach through which food and other stomach contents must pass to enter the small intestine. She’s back home, looks healthy, is eating well and does not seem to be worse for wear from the surgery.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers for these two precious little babies!

Now let’s get to the topic for today. This past week I posted on my Facebook page an article I discovered that gets to the heart of the growing and disappointing phenomenon of why men have stopped singing in church. To read the entire article, go to: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/churchformen/2013/05/why-men-have-stopped-singing-in-church/

Responders to the article were mostly in agreement with its basic premise that men (and some women also, for that matter) don’t sing nearly as much as they used to because the songs and/or hymns selected for the worship service are unknown and/or difficult to sing. I strongly agree!

A primary focus of the article is the difficulty experienced when worship leaders do not select familiar songs or hymns that lend themselves readily to group singing. In addition, individuals experience difficulty in trying to sing something clearly intended for performance by a soloist or small vocal group and quickly feel no motivation for trying to do so. While this is particularly true with contemporary songs, praise bands and song leaders, traditional but unfamiliar or hard to sing hymns produce the same result.

For the most part, music and singing in worship are intended to be participatory, not simply observatory. Exceptions include solos, duets, choirs or other choral group presentations, as well as instrumental offerings. When such participation becomes difficult, worshipers quickly move from sincere desire to participate to frustration in not being able to do so.

What’s the bottom line? “Praise the Lord! It is good to sing praises to our God!” (Psalm 147:1)

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