Title: Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church
Author: Keith & Kristyn Getty
Genre: Christian Living/Spiritual Growth
Publishing Date: September 1, 2017
About the Book:
Sing! has grown from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s passion for congregational singing; it’s been formed by their traveling and playing and listening and discussing and learning and teaching all over the world.
And in writing it, they have five key aims:
• to discover why we sing and the overwhelming joy and holy privilege that comes with singing
• to consider how singing impacts our hearts and minds and all of our lives
• to cultivate a culture of family singing in our daily home life
• to equip our churches for wholeheartedly singing to the Lord and one another as an expression of unity
• to inspire us to see congregational singing as a radical witness to the world
They have also added a few “bonus tracks” at the end with some more practical suggestions for different groups who are more deeply involved with church singing.
God intends for this compelling vision of His people singing—a people joyfully joining together in song with brothers and sisters around the world and around his heavenly throne—to include you. He wants you,he wants us, to sing.
I have to say that I have really strong mixed feelings about this book. I will admit that when I picked up this book I had specific hopes for what I could get out of it and I know that it affects my feelings toward it. There were a lot of good points made and encouragement toward making worship a part of your daily life and not just on Sunday mornings. I really resonated with this piece. My bigger disputes deal with some of their views toward the leadership in congregational singing.
I really appreciate the value that Keith and Kristyn placed on singing in worship to the Lord in our daily lives. It’s not about our talents or abilities, but our heart that seeks to praise and bring glory to our Heavenly Father. I think they may have gone a bit further than is typically realistic, but their heart for making worship an important part of our lives holds real, solid truth. I don’t know what it is about music, but it has an amazing calming, peace-giving affect over the soul. I may not always sing along out loud, but it certainly speaks to my heart. I place a very high value on worship music in my life. It helps quiet my thoughts and focus on the Lord and His goodness and love.
This leads me to what I struggle with. The church I used to go to for almost a decade before moving and getting married had a very strong worship service. It wasn’t one of those “falling on the floor, shouting to the rooftop, dancing in the isles” types of churches, but hand-raising and occasional shouts of “Amen!” and Hallelujah!” weren’t uncommon. I didn’t feel self-conscious in my worship. It was between me and the Lord and I was in fellowship with my brothers and sisters in a service of coming before the Lord with our hearts wide open. Unfortunately I struggle deeply with the worship at my current church. While they have (usually) a full worship band, the songs that are sung are often difficult to accompany and while you can hear everyone singing, it sadly lacks life. I feel self-conscious and almost never raise my hands. The songs often lack relevance and are often too wordy to the point that I’m not able to actually meditate on any of it as we sing. It’s enough that I am often brought to tears when I am able to visit my “home” church because I am starving for real, authentic worship. Allow me to say here too, that I am well aware that different people have their own preferences to their approach in worship. It’s nearly impossible to please everyone with song choice and style. But if all people are to be fed in worship, there needs to be some balance and diversity to reach all.
One of the things this book points out is that there is a “black hole” of 18-29 year-olds in church. In another part they then say to not alter music to please the younger generations. Can they not see that as part of the problem? Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying to alter everything to them and water down what is sung about, but is it not possible to find music that speaks of the deep truths of the gospel while still appeasing the musical preferences of the younger generations? I feel that part of the problem is that there is a balance that no one is attempting to reach. There are deep, spiritually rich contemporary songs just as there are the same in classical hymns. To write-off contemporary music entirely is unnecessary and damaging to the congregation. How can radio stations like K-LOVE be encouraged during the week, but the songs be shut out from the church on Sundays? I’m not sure the exact feelings the authors have towards all of this considering they did talk about the differences in “style” that they’ve seen in churches, but they also appeared uncompromising toward reaching the younger generations with music that speaks to them. I believe there is a balance that can and should be reached, but both sides need to be willing to see and understand that everyone has their own preferences and it’s immediately a bad thing.
I agree with the authors that today’s world caters to individuality instead of community and it’s a very sad thing to witness. Selfishness is sadly embraced instead of frowned upon. We often look to what we can get out of something instead of what we can bring to the table. This is something I pray about often in my hunger for spiritual food. There is no perfect church. There will always be things that you disagree with and there will always be things you wish for more of. It’s important that the Word is preached and that the gospel is taught in a way that is biblical and doesn’t water down the truth. There are things that can be overlooked, and things that cannot. Worship isn’t only for Sunday mornings in church. It should be on our hearts and lips throughout the week. It should be etched into our very being.
This book has given me a lot to think on more and to pray about, but I also feel it has missed the mark in some areas as well. I still believe it can be a useful tool in considering how we approach worship and how we choose what we sing even though I may not agree with every point made. I believe it’s important that the church think of the congregation as a whole and attempt to find music that speaks to them regardless of their age. I believe that there is a compromise that can be made but the different sides need to be open to each other and their preferences. Style can be embraced without compromising on biblical truth. Despite my mixed emotions I feel that the authors’ hearts are in the right place. I would recommend this book to those on worship teams and those who have a strong heart for worship.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from B&H publishers. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.