Why Congregational Singing Matters Today More than Ever

Keith Getty | January 14, 2017

I love Yo-Yo Ma.

The stellar, nearly flawless strokes of his bow dancing upon tensioned strings—they resurrect meticulously crafted melodies conjured centuries ago among master musicians.

Centuries have passed since then. And yet I lie on my bed at night listening to these classics, revived at the hands of a modern prodigy—every note coming to me through tiny, white headphones, as if passing through time and space.

Oh, how things have changed from the days when my parents would take us on Sunday evenings to the homes of missionary or pastor friends. These nights would often end with everyone singing together, even though some of us with more dubious musical giftings could make the whole affair excruciating.

Yo-Yo Ma it was not.

But it was something, and something special. Perhaps the less-than-subtle changes between those days and now bear witness to how we digest music differently—a change that’s made its way into our churches.

Far From Dead 

Just as home entertainment has morphed from family and neighborhood sing-alongs to the ability to consume whatever music the global professionals offer, the church has shifted away from an emphasis on corporate singing. At best, larger churches have shifted to more professional, performance-oriented music. And smaller churches have adopted less of the traditional “come one, come…

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