Why Don’t Men Sing? (Part 4)
So, your men will not sing. Is there a possibility that the entire music experience has been prepared in a way that discourages men from being participants? Consider the following:
15. The music leader must use invitation music that is known by the people, easy to follow, specific about the call of God, and at all points especially sensitive to the leadership of the pastor or whoever is preaching. Of course, this supposes the use of a public invitation, which is no longer practiced by many and has been temporarily halted by COVID-19 in many other places. But invitations are not dead throughout the world and will enjoy a return even in America. Telling people to respond to Christ is as old as Pentecost and, though frequently abandoned all through history, has always returned as the practice of compassionate soul-winners everywhere.
No song is necessary for a public invitation. I offer one in almost every funeral that I preach and seldom use music. But here is the point: if music is used in an invitation, the obvious value of Just As I Am is apparent. Many other songs, such as For You I Am Praying, are also appropriate. These songs do not co-opt the thoughts of people by getting them carried away in a “story song” or struggling with some unfamiliar song. Rather, these songs are easy to follow and leave the mind focused on following Christ. The pastor controls what happens next with a hand motion or even a nod of the head. Communications between pastor and music leader are established as a part of the planning of the service. The men in the congregation will likely participate.
16. Do not drag songs, especially hymns. Neither are you in a race. Keep a healthy pace. Almost anything you drag gets injured. Nothing will assassinate a service of song quicker than when hymns are slowed to a snail’s pace. Keep a normal, moving tempo on every song.
17. Music should be full and strong but never sufficiently loud to hurt or damage the average person’s hearing. The use of drums or other percussion instruments is not only fine but also biblical. But drums must be controlled. Medical personnel systematically warn of damage done to the hearing of youths at music events. But when that event happens as a part of worship, it is most unfortunate. Yet the natural crescendo of a congregation singing How Great Thou Art or some other magnificent song of worship is a taste of heavenly adoration of Christ (Revelation 5:11-12).
18. Introduce and carefully teach any new song or hymn and do this no more than once per service. That song should not be first or right before the sermon or in the invitation. There is a place for new music. Teaching new melodies and lyrics is actually a mandate. But the point here is that there is a time and a place for introducing something new and a way to do this productively. Establish a strong congregational response to singing early and then move to creative instruction. Just prior to the pastor’s message is hardly ever an option unless he intends to use the song in his message.
19. Use only soloists who are appropriately, modestly, and not provocatively attired. Tennis shoes and jeans with holes in them or anything not chaste is not appropriate. Shirt tails are always tucked. You are a leader! There is, of course, an exception to almost any rule though not to the part about dressing provocatively. A few nights ago I watched a secular concert on KERA. I was astonished at how the dress code presented here was duplicated. If we are going to imitate the world of entertainment, why not choose the best of it? For one thing, this example is part of the church’s instruction for its youth.
20. Never swig water from a bottle as a congregation watches. Triviality, some will chortle, and that may be in part true. There is a time to sip water but not in public any more than you would consider munching your cheese nachos in public. The picture painted focuses on the triviality of the whole pursuit. Such practice shouts a failure to prepare for worship and focuses on the temporary needs of the “performer” and not on the object of our adoration – the Lord Himself. This habit is something to avoid or at least minimize with careful planning.