More Participation Please

"Far better than the sweet harmonies of a few trained singers is the rough and hale sound of pardoned criminals, delighting with one voice in their savior." I have been witness to a radical change in the public corporate worship services in 30 years of ministry. The pendulum of change has made swings to both sides of the participation scale. It seems we are now on the swing to more participation and less observation.

In the 80s I served in churches where the Sunday morning service include two or three congregation songs,

  • a solo that we listened
  • a choir song we listened
  • a offertory played by the pianist or organist we listened
  • and then the sermon.

In the 90's we added praise and worship songs to the mix and had fewer solos but then we added dramas or videos therefore keeping the listening to a maximum.

But lately I have seen and been a part of a movement to get back to the 'act of worship' by the whole body for most of the service. Gone are the videos, the dramas and solos and the choir's role has changed from singing a 'special' each week to balancing their participation with worship songs that the congregation can also participate.

There is something special about a well rehearsed group of voices, but there is nothing like a large group of the redeemed shouting out their story in worship.

We can worship by listening as our minds reflect the wonder and majesty of God and the work of the gospel. However, I believe we need to make sure that there is more active participation.

Do you agree?

Does your church encourage participation?

As a worship leader what are you doing to encourage the congregation to participate?