Thursday, October 6, 2011

Can you hear me singing?


Anonymous said...

Good read, but I think that worship is presented as a false dichotomy here. I came away with the impression that the author feels that if the music is loud that congregations aren't all singing/worshipping together and people aren't feeling the power of the group all worshipping God. I've been at churches with quiet bands where the congregation drones through the motions and I've been at churches with loud bands where the congregation is loud and joyous. The issue is bigger than the music, I think, though I hesitate to say that it lies with the worshipper because I certainly am no perfect worshipper myself.

We all lapse into our individual experiential moments in worship no matter how loud the music is, and while I agree that people may be more inclined to do so if the music is louder, the loudness of the music certainly does not prohibit a congregation from moving as he describes. The important thing (in my opinion) is that we as a congregation are all worshipping and praising God for what he's done.

Abigail Cristine said...

I would agree with the previous comment. I attend a large church and the worship band is very loud. But unlike other large churches I've been to, I can hear the congregation and a quick glance around the sanctuary shows the passion with which people are worshipping. It's not some feeling or in the moment, pumped-up passion. It is genuine love for our Savior. And so, I conclude that it has more to do with the heart of worship than the volume as well. I don't think that there is anything wrong with a quiet, acoustic set any more than a loud, rock set. But if the worship is anointed and the worship team helps usher a congregation into worship, I think that the heart will show through. After all, the entire point of worship is to not focus on ourselves, but praise our Maker (as my brother stated so well in the article).

Pillar on the Rock said...


Thanks for joining the discussion. It’s always great to have new voices offering comments!

Here at Pillar on the Rock, we have a no anonymous comments and no pseudonyms policy. As such, when you comment in the future, please use your real name. If you’re curious about our reasoning, please stop by our Comments Policy page and take a look. If you have a particular need to use a pseudonym, we’d be happy to discuss it with you; you can drop us an email at

Again, thanks for offering your perspective. We look forward to interacting more with you in the future!

Chris Krycho said...

Anonymous and Abi, thanks for leaving your comments. Since you're largely on the same page, I'll respond to both of you together.

Honestly, perhaps I communicated poorly, but neither of you seem to understand what I was arguing. I don't have a problem with a loud band – unless the band is so loud that we can't hear one another. I play piano in a rock-style band at my own church, and the music is always loud. (Occasionally it's too loud on these terms, and the volume is a point of ongoing friendly conversation between our worship pastor and me.) My concern is simple: we need to be able to hear one another. So, in the example Abi gave, I don't have any issue with her church's approach: you can hear others singing.

Anonymous, I agree that the question of worship from the heart is much bigger than this little article could begin to cover. Likewise, I agree that true worship is not just a matter of volume. That said, I'm not sure that your well-taken point in any way detracts from my argument. It remains true that in our corporate worship we ought to be worshipping corporately – and that if the music is so loud that we cannot hear the person next to us, much less the rest of the congregation, that's missing.

Again: style can vary widely, and there is plenty of room between singing a capella and cranking the amps up high enough to drown out the congregation entirely. The band (or organ!) can be loud, and the people not worship, just as it can be quiet and the people not worship. In all of this, though, I'll maintain that if we're doing each other a disservice and missing out on some of what God has for us if we cannot hear each other singing!

Benjer McVeigh said...

One note to add: worship is about the congregation singing together. Instruments and vocal leaders ought to accompany, not be the primary thing heard. From the minimal musical instructions we see in the Psalms, it's often clear that the psalms were meant to be sung and prayed by a congregation of people. The issue is not the volume; the issue is what the leaders and the congregation consider the purpose of worship leaders to be.

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