A Review from Sing! Conference 20191
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Sing! Conference in Nashville, hosted by Getty Music. It was the most immersive conference I have ever attended. We worshipped in song with thousands of believers and heard teaching on the life of Christ from some of the most well-known names in the church. I came home with my energy renewed for all the tasks of daily life, especially for spending time with God on my own and with my church family.
It’s hard for me to list exactly what I’m taking away from this conference, but here are a few things that I heard that are still on my mind.
- Singing together is a powerful statement of unity. When we sing as a church, we join in proclaiming what we believe to be true. During times of singing, are we listening to the voices of our brothers and sisters? Would a non-Christian who came to our church hear the gospel in our songs? Would they be able to tell that the great things we sing about have changed our hearts?
- ECC is a singing church. Men and women, young and old, leaders and those who work behind the scenes, all raise their voices in worship. We can be thankful for this. In our culture, many people don’t think they can sing well, and so they don’t, even on Sunday mornings. Of course, God deserves the best that we can give him and excellence in music is fitting in the worship of music’s Creator. Remember, though, that a lack of participation is not excellence. He doesn’t ask certain people to give or pray while others watch, and singing is the same. We appreciate the gifts of those who lead in worship (gifts in leadership as well as music) because they help our congregation sing well.
- Several of the speakers encouraged individuals and families to put together their own hymnals. A few years ago, ECC produced a Family Hymnal, which is a great starting point. Start a list of the songs you want your kids to grow up with, the hymns that have spoken truth to your heart in times of need, and the ones you wish we sang more often in church. You don’t have to be in church to sing! Your “hymnal” might be a notebook with lyrics written in or a binder with copies of hymnal pages (www.hymnary.org is a great place to find these, free). Keep it with your Bible so that you can respond to God’s Word by singing praise to him.
- One statistic that we heard often at the conference was that modern worship songs are far less likely to mention death, God as judge, or the world to come than older hymns. Singing trains our emotions. When we sing about hard truths, we prepare ourselves to face them. I think this also applies to other parts of the Christian walk that can be dark and scary to face. Are we afraid to mention grief, fear, doubt, or anxiety in our songs? The authors of the Psalms weren’t. They brought their emotions to God, not to “vent,” but to offer them up so that God could work through them. We have the opportunity to do this on Sunday mornings through the songs we sing in our services. Whether choosing songs for your family hymnal or putting together a playlist for a long trip, I encourage you to include music that will prepare you for the valleys as well as celebrate the mountaintops on your walk with Christ.