The Final Set (and all it's dramas)

For a while, let's forget about singing together in the middle of our meeting. I want to focus on the song(s) we do after the sermon.
Historically, there have been many who have shied away from singing after the sermon because they believe it takes away from the message that the congregation have just heard. Ideally, for these people, church-goers will leave church with God's word on their hearts and won't be distracted by singing a song afterward.
I think that this can be true if the song that is sung is unrelated to the sermon. That is the power of song. A 45 minute sermon can be forgotten in a 3 minute song.
But ...a 3 minute song can cement an idea heard in a sermon just as effectively. This is the first reason why I believe it's important to sing after hearing God's word. If done correctly, it can be a tool in helping people retain an idea of what the sermon was about for longer.
The second reason why I think it is important to sing after hearing God's word is that this is the pattern for singing in the Bible. We sing to God and to each other in response to God revealing himself to us. We can't praise God until we know him. As we see more of him, our hearts are ignited to worship him with our lives - and our singing. This is the biblical pattern for praise.
So, while I think it is good to sing at the beginning of church, singing praise to God and being joyful and thankful as a body is much more meaningful after God has spoken through his word in the sermon. How often have you just heard a sermon that reminded you of your need to throw yourself on Christ because he alone can save you and then sung a song like 'In Christ Alone' and it has meant so much more to you. When we sing in response to God's word, our affections are stirred to match what our head is thinking through.
The question that remains for me is... should we only sing one song so that we aren't too distracted or should we sing more because this is the prime time for singing? The answer is easy. Mix it up. Sometimes it will be appropriate for the singing to extend after the sermon. Other times it is difficult to find a song that matches clearly with what has been taught and so to do more than one song would be a stretch. Perhaps at these times it might be more appropriate to have extended prayer rather than singing. Too often, churches fall into an outline rut. There is a fear of change from the way things have always been done. We are blessed at our church to have a ministry team who are not governed by traditional outlines, but are more interested in serving the church in the best way possible. It is important to be flexible.

P.S photo is related because samurai films have extended endings

PPS. 'Seven Samurai' is the greatest film ever made. I stole it from my new brother-in-law.

Posted byDan at 8:26 PM  

9 comments:

David said... 12:29 AM  

new brother-in-law - we got a reply message from him!!

i think being flexible is good.

i can see valid reasons why Bible is last. i read somehwere the other day of someone who did the Bible talk - then the Bible reading!

i'd love to do 4 songs after sermon one day!
is 3 our record?

i'm waffling.
i'll stop

alixandrrraaa said... 12:25 PM  

i love the singing after church, i dont feel distracted at all for the sermon and agree that it is useful in cementing which has been said, providing of course that it is the right song being chosen etc.

i feel like after we finish church everyone is always talking about either, why we didnt sing more songs after the semrom or how good it is that we did sing so many. I cant recall hearing someone say man im sick of singing.

Max said... 11:13 PM  

I'd agree that singing after the sermon is very helpful in reflecting on what was taught (providing the song ties in with what was taught).

Also, for me hearing God's word read and taught fuels my desire to worship Him. To have the opportunity to do that by singing right after the sermon is great.

Keep doing it.

Dan said... 1:52 PM  

What if you don't have a song to fit well with what has been looked at? Bo you think there is ever a time for not singing after the talk?

Andy M said... 11:11 PM  

I've been thinking about this issue too lately.
One issue I have faced is that, having looked before the service at the passage that is being preached on, I might choose a song that expresses a response to God that is spot on for the occasion and really captures the essence of the sermon. However, our sermon is usually followed by a prayer time (often prayer unrelated to the sermon), plus announcements, plus asking people to fill out feedback cards, and then the final song! So by the time you get to the song, the impact can be lost.

So, we're thinking of changing that and trying to have the song came immediately after the sermon as a response to God's word that we've just heard.

Dan said... 10:49 AM  

That sounds good Andy. I haven't heard of a church doing this model before but I have often wondered how it would go. The obvious set-backs would, as you say, be that the message is forgotten amongst the announcements and other stuff. Kind of like going to Wonderland and just remembering the carpark.

Dan said... 10:49 AM  

gee thats a bad analogy

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