I’ve been there, and you likely have as well. You’ve never heard the song your church is singing or you’ve heard it but don’t like it. The temptation is to silently mimic the words or not sing at all.
But here’s why we need to sing anyway:
It’s right to sing God’s praises.
Even if it’s not our favorite song, it’s right to join the people of God in singing God’s praises (Psalm 96). He delights in the singing of His people.
Not singing sends the wrong signal.
Here’s what it could look like: anger or distraction. Worse yet, it comes across as arrogance. And, if you’re not singing just because you don’t like the song, that really does border on arrogance. All of us model something by the way we worship. Some show the joy of encountering God. Others make worshiping God look boring and disconnected. Singing helps others to worship Him well.
Some songs you don’t like are quite biblical.
Most of us choose songs we like on the basis of the style and the melody, not on the words. Sometimes, though, the songs we don’t like are straight out of the Bible — so we miss an opportunity to sing His Word when we choose not to sing.
We can learn a song best by singing it.
I now love some songs I didn’t like when I first heard them, and I’m glad I at least tried to sing them. The same can happen for you.
Singing with the rest of the congregation promotes and reflects unity.
Churches already struggle enough with internal conflict. Sometimes, in fact, members who don’t sing are intentionally sending a signal of disapproval and division. Don’t play that game.
Singing encourages the ones leading the singing.
Few things are as discouraging for worship leaders as looking at a congregation with non-participants. We don’t really hide our silence.
I don’t always like the songs a church sings, but I still love singing God’s praises with His people. Hearing others sing, and joining them even when the song may not be my favorite, is a reminder that worship is not about me in the first place. It’s about the One whose praises we sing.
— Chuck Lawless, online at chucklawless.com, is vice president for spiritual formation and ministry centers and professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.