Archive for July 11, 2012

Jul 11

Resources for Congregational Listening and Singing

2012 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Music and Singing,Recommended Resources,Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s sermon, “A Both/And Kind of Praise: The Form,” Ryan addressed a number of principles that give shape to our Sunday gatherings.

The Role of the Sermon Listener

We learned that corporate praise should be both pastoral and participatory. So, while some are responsible for leading in song, all of us are part of the “church choir.” We should be engaged in singing, in relating with one another, and in prayer. But we should also be engaged in the preaching. That is, we should actively listen to and digest Sunday’s sermon as it comes at us. Much of our listening in a week is passive. Not this listening.

To help with this, there are two resources available at the Resource Center that teach us sermon listening skills:

Expository Listening: A Practical Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word
by Ken Ramey

Listen Up!: A Practical Guide to Listening to Sermons
by Christopher Ash

Principles for Song Selection

Song selection is pastorally directed as well, a function of the shepherding role of our leaders. And our leaders aim to select songs that are singable and encourage our unified engagement in song. In addition, our praise, as Ryan explained, should connect us with the past and the present. For this reason, we work to utilize the best of older and newer songs for congregational singing. We want to sing songs that accurately, thoughtfully, and beautifully express the truth we love in a manner that fits that truth.

Several writers and writing groups are worth mentioning, each devoted to serving the church with texts and music for congregational singing.

Keith and Krystin Getty are modern hymn writers. You might recognize the songs, “In Christ Alone,” “By Faith,” or “O Church, Arise.” We have the Gettys to thank for those tunes and many others. Their two popular albums are, In Christ Alone, and Awaken the Dawn.  

Then, there’s Sovereign Grace Music, writing new songs and putting old songs to new tunes. You might be familiar with “Arise My Soul, Arise,” or “Now Why This Fear.” Both of these songs are from the newest Sovereign Grace album, From Age to Age.

Another group to check out is Sojourn Music, from Sojourn Church in Louisville, KY. Like Sovereign Grace Music, Sojourn writes a number of their own songs, and sets some of the better older songs to updated or new arrangements. A full list of songs with links for purchase is available here, including “Before the Throne of God Above,” “Warrior,” and “Absent from Flesh.” Examples of excellent songs that might not be familiar to you are, “Glory Be,” “Only Your Blood,” and “In The Shadow of The Glorious Cross.”

And, of course, at DSC we sing newer songs, many written by our own members, and older songs with updated arrangements. Click here for albums previously released by DSC, and check back to DSC’s bandcamp page for a slow trickle of free downloads of songs recorded at last year’s Cause for Praise concert, including, “He Hideth My Soul,” and “Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy).”

The most important singing we do in a week is on Sunday morning when we’re together. But you can’t go wrong by investing in some of these songs for listening throughout the week.