God’s Power Is Purpose-Driven #7: Church Services – The Song Service

Last time we talked about the power of God being purpose-driven within the church. Specifically, we discussed those things that hinder and those things that help a church’s spiritual health in its pursuit to accomplish its God-given purpose. We saw how God’s power dries up in the presence of secret sin, gossip, and bitterness; we also saw how God's power abounds in the midst of a church full of fellowship, love and unity.

Now we begin to consider God’s power being purpose-driven within actual church services themselves. We will consider the following aspects of a church service:

1. The song service
2. The preaching service
3. Special services

We will begin by looking at the song service portion. I am not interested in arguing what musical styles should be in a New Testament church. That's not what this is about. Some styles are obvious losers, so if you like Christian Metal or Gangsta Gospel, the intent is not to offend you is I recommend you find a genre of music that actually honors God. Like anybody else, my opinion on the subject is naturally biased in favor of my preferences. It's best to have standards but not be too rigid. There’s a place between legalistic and liberal I try to find regarding music.

Just a brief note: throughout this post I will refer to musical service as "singing". But scripturally, musical service is just as relevant in the form of playing an instrument. God is honored by an instrumentalist just as he is by singers, so understand that everytime I say, "singer", or "singing", I might as well be saying, "instrumetalist" or "playing". Keep that in mind.

Music in the Bible stirs God to action, and the best music in a church service will do that too. What kind of music does God want to hear? He wants to hear music with the intent of glorifying Himself. We’ll consider music in a church service on three levels:

1. Congregational singing
2. Group singing
3. Solo singing

We begin with the first form of music in a church:

1. Congregational Singing

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. - Psalm 149:1 (KJV)

In this portion of Scripture, we find David speaking of singing to God in the congregation of saints, i.e., at church. Throughout David’s life, God did a lot for David that deserved David’s praise, and because of it, when David came to the Tabernacle ready to sing praises to God with others who loved the Lord.

Congregational singing is a great way to promote unity within a church. When a church in one accord lifts its voice and glorifies God through music, a certain spirit fills the air, and it’s a good one. It creates an atmosphere in which God can meet with his people.

Alternatively, when someone deliberately blows off congregational singing, they’re making a few statements. It can be one, a couple, or all of these:

• I don’t see God as worthy of my praise – what’s the point of joining in?
• Congregational singing’s just something we do, it has no real meaning
• I’m out of step with the brethren, and I’m being difficult on purpose

Instrumentalists participate in congregational singing by playing their instruments, and congregational singing is for everyone. This especially includes special music singers. Special music singers should serve as examples during congregational singing by singing themselves, and any special music singer that doesn’t can forget God being glorified by their performance of a special.

Congregational singing is an often overlooked yet very important part of the service. The entire purpose of congregational singing is to glorify God with a thankful heart. The next time you’re involved in congregational singing, sing it straight to God himself. Who cares what anyone else thinks. Your worship is your worship, and God craves it from you. So why not just give God what he wants? God may use your congregational singing as the gateway to his power, and if enough people start taking congregational singing seriously, who knows what God will do!

2. Group Singing

21And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.

22And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. - 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 (KJV)

When the Ammonites and Moabites came out against King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20, he appointed singers, which means certain people were told to do it, and others weren’t. Presumably, the singers appointed to sing were singers who could sing better than the average person. As the singers praised the Lord as an appointed group (remember they’re ahead of the army), God set ambushments against the enemy (in other words, God did all the fighting himself). Music stirred God to action on behalf of his people.

Group singing was used to call God to action back in the Old Testament, and it will do the same today. This requires unity amongst the group members, something not always easy to accomplish. In other words, their hearts have to be aligned to the same direction for them to be useful to God.

Group singing is a special call to God for action within a service. This means that thought and prayer should go into the decision for which songs will be done. Group singing needs to be in accordance with the spirit of the service; that means that if the service is upbeat, don’t use slow, somber music and put everyone to sleep or vice versa.

Group singing is a special call for God to act in a service. As such, group singers had better be shining examples to the rest of the congregation, particularly in congregational singing.

3. Solo Singing

14And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

15But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. - 2 Kings 3:14-15

In 2 Kings 3, we find Elisha telling Jehoshaphat and Jehoram to get a minstrel to play for him. This caused the “hand of the LORD” to come over Elisha, giving him the understanding needed to win the battle by digging ditches. The minstrel’s music caused Elisha to be aligned to God in a very powerful way, just as the right song at the right time nowadays can cause God’s hand to come over a preacher in the same fashion.

In the portion above with Elisha, the minstrel’s playing caused God to move on Elisha. A similar occurrence can happen by playing a favorite song of the one doing the preaching. Just like anyone else, preachers have favorites songs, and sometimes being blessed by that favorite song will help him hear God much more clearly.

Solo singing fulfills the functions of the first two forms of music in a church service, but it is a step farther. An individual makes supplication before God all by himself. What would cause God to ignore a soloist? On the other hand, what would cause God to move in the music of a soloist?

The solo singer had better have it together well before getting up to sing a solo. If the solo singer lives like the devil outside of church, God will stay put. If the soloist blows off congregational singing, God won’t do a thing while that singer sings. But if the singer is sold out for Jesus outside of church service, be sure that God is listening. Remember it's God's power we're looking for, not a pristine performance from a talented and secret sin-riddled individual.


We discussed the 3 forms of music in the song service: congregational singing, group singing, and solo singing. Each has a specific function, and associated requirements.

Here’s the secret to singing with a clear heart every time: with no secret or unconfessed sin, sing the song directly to God. That's right - sing straight to him. It will change you overnight! If you sing in a group, sing the same way, and it’s the same thing if you sing solos. Sing those songs directly to God himself, and he’ll take care of the rest! God wants to show up in your church, and there's no better way to get his attention than with a genuinely heartfelt song service!

Next time we’ll talk about the preaching portion of the service. What is God trying to accomplish by the preaching? It changes all the time, and it helps to know what to look for when finding God’s purpose in the preaching part of the service. We’ll discuss it next time.

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