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Ministering To Each Other In Song (via Andrew Roycroft)

If you attend church, you may never preach a sermon, but you have ministered to everyone over and over again.
In song.
From Andrew Roycroft at Thinking Pastorally:

The beauty of true worship is that we address ourselves to God, but we also address one another with who God is and what he has said. We worship in our spirits, by the power of the Holy Spirit, but also with deep intellectual investment, with an eye fixed on the glory of the gospel as well as a heart tuned to its sentiments. Such worship is deeply didactic, it retrains the flagging disciple, it prohibits empty sentiment, it draws our attention and our affection towards the God in whose presence and power we are meeting.

Read the whole post here.

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The Psalm Singing Church (via Nick Batzig)

Nick Batzig offers encouragement and resources for churches to consider singing Psalms in public worship during 2018.
From his post:

Perhaps such a neglect has occurred on account of antiquated translations, difficult accompanying tunes or simply because of a lack of familiarity with the Old Testament people, places, events and symbols. Regardless, the church is certainly no better for having passed over the numerous inspired songs in the Psalter.
It would be of enormous benefit to our churches if we would actively seek to reinstitute the practice of Psalm-singing in our congregations. At the very least, churches should try to sing one or more Psalms a month in gathered worship on the Lord’s Day. This takes a measure of planning and instruction on the part of pastors, elders and musicians. However, it is safe to say that any congregation that undertakes such an initiative, will reap rich, spiritual benefit.

Read it all at the Christward Collective.

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A Simple Way To Assist Congregational Singing (via Facts And Trends)

Among a number of suggestions about cultivating congregational singing in corporate worship Bob Smietana suggests:

Tell church members what they will be singing ahead of time
Let church members know in advance what songs will be sung on Sunday and provide links to the music in a church newsletter, email, or post on the church’s website. Churchgoers can listen ahead of time and be ready to sing.

It’s surprisingly simple, and mgpc has been doing so for years.
If they don’t have an internet connection and asked, I could loan them CDs as well.

Read the rest of Bob Smietana’s post here.

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Through The Love Of God Our Saviour – #GAA_16

The singing and devotional content at the 2016 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia has been a feature.
A number of the sermons/addresses are available to listen to at the PCA website.
Here’s a two verse clip of Through The Love Of God Our Saviour.
Thanks to Michael Wharton.
Not quite Welsh choir standard, but a very acceptable substitute.
And Richard did a great job on piano.

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If Jesus Loved The Psalms, Christians Should Love Them Too (via Mark Johnson)

Mark Johnson writes about the paradox of people who love and follow Jesus not using the songs that Jesus loved and used in his own life as part of their worship:
In conclusion:

The greatest reason for loving the psalms and for using them for worship and to aid us in the ongoing task of composing hymns and spiritual songs through every generation is that Jesus loved them. He loved them because they were all about him as previews of his incarnation, life and work. He loved them because they provided a musical route map to the course his life had to follow in order to secure salvation. He loved them because they led through death to resurrection and the eternal glory of the world to come. He proved that he loved them because he was forever singing and quoting them – even in his darkest hour. And if he loved them, then we his children should love them and dig deep into their content to appreciate what made them special. When we do that, it will not only deepen our appreciation of the psalms, it will also enrich the quality of the hymns and songs the church produces for God’s glory and his people’s joy.

Read the whole post here.

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The Myth That Martin Luther Set Hymns To Tunes Sung In Bars (via Jonathan Aigner)

In which the popular and pervasive fallacy that Martin Luther brought tunes sung in drinking establishments to church and set them to hymn words is taken out behind the woodshed and given a paddling.
(Again. This story won’t die.)
From Aigner’s article:

Here’s what we do know about the Martin Luther situation. Luther was obviously quite interested in empowering common people to participate in the liturgy. When it came to music, he wrote his own tunes based on existing chants and religious tunes, and folk melodies. They were chosen, not necessarily because they were already well-known tunes, but because they were accessible. That was the key. They were singable. In practical terms, they were not melodically or rhythmically difficult, didn’t stretch the average vocal range, and set the text with dignity, beauty, and artistry.
It wasn’t that he was trying to engage secular culture, it was that he wanted people to be able to participate. And though it’s well-documented that Luther had a particular affinity for the suds, as any good German, the issue isn’t really about “drinking songs” specifically, but music of low aesthetic and artistic quality (American pop music, anyone?!?). While he may have, like many after him, drawn from beautiful and artistic folk or classical sources, he would not have borrowed trite, disposable texts for congregational singing. Check out this quote from the preface to one of Luther’s hymnals:
These songs were arranged in four parts to give the young – who should at any rate be trained in music and other fine arts – something to wean them away from love ballads and carnal songs and to teach them something of value in their place, thus combining the good with the pleasing, as is proper for youth.

Read the whole post at Ponder Anew.


Finding The Right Key For Congregational Singing

It’s a common observation that a lot of new music for churches is not recorded in keys best suited to congregational singing. This can also be true of older settings for hymns.
As I search around for hints about finding suitable keys for newer songs this article by Luke Woodard at a site called Discover Worship offers helpful guidance while not being prescriptive.
It makes observations about finding a useful key (usually lower) but offers considerations to take into account so as best preserve the tone of the song as well.
Read The Wrong Key at Discover Worship.