William Thornton is the SBC Plodder.
Perhaps I am in the wrong churches to evaluate the state of congregational singing in the Southern Baptist Convention but I rarely find a church where it appears that there is much concern about the congregation, rather than soloists or the choir, doing any serious singing in worship.
The whole assembly was worshiping, singing the song, and blowing the trumpets… 2 Chronicles 29:28a
There is always music planned for worship that is called congregational singing but not much singing seems to occur. The choir, praise team, music leader, platform people sing robustly. The congregation mumbles along, most being unengaged as participants. What I observe anecdotally is that there is not much of an attempt to engage the congregation in being participants in worship.
This troubles me.
When does a dearth of congregational singing become the death of congregational singing? Will perfunctory and mundane congregational singing survive or will a church eventually just dispense with it altogether?
It is difficult not to conclude that this is by design, seeing that churches pour significant dollars into sound, lighting, and stage accouterments. Churches typically light the platform, soloists, and choir and turn the house lights down. This seems to be a recipe for performance by stage personnel where there is an audience.
I thought we were, after Kierkegaard, all performers and God was the audience.
Is it just another expression of a consumer mentality, people expect this?
Not to care about congregational singing seems to me to be a deficiency that must be corrected or we will end up with concerts and performances. Perhaps we already have. Perhaps we should, though I think not.
I append the caveat here that I am not a music person. Perhaps a music person can persuade me of some aspect of my observations that are either skewed or incorrect.