Let’s admit it, if you go to just about any church today you will see (and probably not hear) a lot of “music mumblers” during the song service. These are the people who just mumble the words or just plain don’t sing at all. Now, I might be in danger of nit-picking here but I believe the main culprits in this “music-mumbling-mayhem” are my own gender – the males. There’s a lot of timid dude singers out there. In many churches, the few men who open their mouths to sing do so timidly, almost afraid to be heard. So why aren’t men singing in church?
There is certainly much to blame for the weakness of the evangelical man who doesn’t sing. Many articles have been written on this topic discussing those very issues. Some articles blame men not singing on the arrival of the projection screen and the downfall of the hymnal. I’ve read other articles that blame the onset of “worship bands” that drown out congregational singers. One article I read even blamed new songs that people don’t know well on the lack of singing. In my opinion, all of those are just surface level excuses that don’t really hit the main issue.
I believe that the main reason we don’t see men singing is because our churches are filled with biblically illiterate men. The cruel reality in most of our churches is that we are far off the mark biblically when it comes to the masculine vocal chords being exercised. If men really did know their Bibles, they wouldn’t stand there during the song service--they would get involved with gusto.
Let me confess something to you – I’m not musical. I enjoy listening to music, but you aren’t going to want to hear me “create” music. But just because I’m not musical doesn’t excuse me from singing. God’s people are more than just invited to sing – we are commanded! Paul told the Colossian church to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly … singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16). To the Ephesians church Paul said they were to “address one another in psalms and hymns” (Ephesians 5:18-19). When we sing we are doing exactly what God asks of us.
The Bible makes it clear that those who sing do so because they have deep roots in the Word of God. The Apostle Paul lays out his exhortation in both Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 to let God’s Word dwell in us richly, and then he tell us how to live that out – SING! Singing is one of the chief ways that the Word of God dwells in us richly. Those who know the Word will sing and those who sing will know the Word.
But true singing has its foundation not just in a knowledge of God’s Word but also the overflow of our hearts delight in God. When you sing you walk down a God-designed pathway of joy. The Psalmist would say, “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy” (5:11). Elsewhere the psalmist would write and say, “You have been my help and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy” (63:7). Persistently in Scripture, joy and singing are bound together. You can’t study one topic without looking at the other. Still don’t believe me? Ask James. He says, “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise” (James 5:13). In God’s perfect design he has placed joy and singing together in the human heart. Therefore, when you don’t sing you reveal a joyless heart. It is not too strong of a statement to boldly say that those who mumble through a song service do not posses the true joy of the Lord.
This gets us back to the issue at hand: Why don’t men sing in church? In my estimation we need a better understanding of Scripture if we are going to ever hear more men sing. We need a bigger dose of the Psalms, for example, where we would constantly be bombarded by themes like, “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!” (Psalm 81). Weak singers only reveal a weak understanding of Scripture and a weak love for what it teaches us. If we are going to hear men sing we need to hear the Word preached and we need to apply that Word to our lives.
Caleb Phelps graduated from BJU with a BA in Bible and an MA in Theology. After graduating from seminary Caleb traveled in evangelism which took him across the country to many different churches and camps. While he was traveling Caleb met the love of his life, Rachel. They got married and moved to Indianapolis, IN where Caleb now serves as the youth pastor at Crosspointe Baptist Church. You can check out his youth group's website at www.crosspointeyouth.com.
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