Why Isn’t Your Congregation Singing?

Bored congregation
Are your worship songs singable for the average congregation? (Lightstock)

Do you ever wonder why your congregation isn’t singing louder, or singing at all? Your songs may be the culprit.

Find a congregational praise song with a great melody and lyrics, and you’re set, right? Not quite. Many new worship songs only sound good when sung by professional singers, not average congregations. I believe this is one of the biggest problems with today’s music—and why your congregation might not be singing like you think they should.

Right now, pick up a songbook with the latest cutting-edge worship songs. Just look at the typical melody—it’s a syncopated frenzy and probably way out of your congregation’s vocal range. How can the average person sing that? They can’t, at least not with any confidence. And isn’t one of our goals as worship leaders to encourage our congregations to sing, and to sing with all they’ve got?

The next time you sing one of these hot songs in your church, listen closely to the congregation (or record the service). You’ll probably be shocked to hear your congregation struggling to keep up.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

One time at my previous church, I led worship from the keyboard for a small prayer meeting of about 20 people, and my eyes and ears were opened. One chorus in particular was a complete train wreck—no one could follow the melody because almost every note was on the off beat. I hadn’t noticed during church with the band blaring, but the problem was quite obvious in this casual setting. The song had great words and a nice melody, but the extreme syncopation was nearly impossible for the average person to sing. From then on, I tried to select songs that were reasonably simple to sing and within a normal vocal range. Maybe that’s why hymns are making such a comeback—they’re full of quarter notes!

Size up your congregation, too. A church body filled with 20- and 30-year-olds can handle much more adventurous songs than an older congregation. If your congregation is rhythmically challenged, find songs that, while still contemporary, can bridge the gap. “Our God” and “Here I Am to Worship” are so popular because they come from the more contemporary world yet can cross over to more traditional settings—they’re simply singable.

Bottom line: Choosing worship songs that are singable by normal mortals will create a more unified, participatory worship experience for your church.

Composer/arranger Don Chapman is the editor of the weekly WorshipIdeas.com newsletter that goes out to more than 50,000 worship leaders every week.

For the original article, visit worshipideas.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. Enroll in the FREE Mini-Course to experience Dr. Rutland's training for yourself and then enroll for the full training that will change your life and ministry.

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

NICL Training offered in FL, TX and GA - Learn everything you wish someone had taught you about business and ministry before you finished seminary. Gain the knowledge that will help propel your life and ministry to the next level as you implement practical lessons from Dr. Rutland's training. Training Dates and Details.

The NICL Online is a brand new option for those church and ministry leaders who cannot attend the in-person training. Now, you can receive all 60-hours of Dr. Rutland's training from the comfort of your home or ministry for a full year. Learn more about NICL Online.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders
AD topLeft