Ephesians 5:19 ~ Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
There isn’t much in the New Testament on how to do music worship in the church but what we do have is clearly stated. In Ephesians, we see the connection between growing a unified church built on love and the “togetherness” of singing praise to the Lord.
Music worship involves the whole congregation
Singing to one another means that the congregation must be doing the singing together. Music worship in a church must then be done to encourage everyone to sing. We have a small auditorium in FBC and having more than one or two instruments can drown out the singing. That is ultimately why we do not have a worship band or drums.
At FBC we also use a projector to display the words over using hymnals for the sake of those with bad eyesight or mothers holding children or new believers who do not know how to read a hymnal. All these things hopefully encourage everyone to sing together.
Music worship must teach us something about God
To be edified means to grow in knowledge or learning. So, as we sing to one another the words of the hymn must be rich with truth and doctrine. I do not believe a song that repeats the words, “how great is our God,” for 7 minutes to be glorifying unless we sing about the things that make Him great.
At FBC we sing classic and modern hymns. We also sing psalms that have been keyed to music. When we introduce a new hymn, we try to teach the congregation the lyrics first. We also often sing the same hymns multiple times a year to better familiarise ourselves with the tunes and lyrics.
Music worship is about an expression of worship
To make melody in our hearts to the Lord is to contemplate the character and deeds of God that we are glorifying. His being, His grace, and mercy, His control over creation. We must therefore be mindful and sincere when we participate in music worship, focused, and not distracted, but it’s not about “feeling in the mood” either. The heart in scripture represents more than just what we feel it also represents our affections.
In other words, what we value, what we love, and what we dislike. As we sing, we must then ask ourselves, is this genuinely humbling, convicting, comforting, reassuring, sobering? It is good to consider the effect that God’s truth has on our affections when we participate in music worship.
At FBC we read a call to worship before the singing that aims to help the congregation meditate on a verse while singing. To stay focused and orientate our affections toward God while we sing.