It’s Official: People Don’t Want to Sing So Much on Sundays
Whenever I say this, those who hear me have one of two responses. The first one is absolute total agreement, usually told to me via a whisper in the ear or a hand written note that self destructs after I have read it. There can be NO evidence of this solidarity.
The second response is a casual search for matches, wood and rope so I can be burned alive at the stake as a heretic. OK, so I am exaggerating a little bit about the first response, people don’t actually pass me a note that self destructs, but you get the idea!
If you have spend any amount of time on Not For Itching Ears, then you are aware of our thoughts on corporate worship and the need to reform it. We thought it would be a good idea to create some polls about various aspects of corporate church life, and see what readers thought. So, we created several of them. The results are still coming in, but so far they are quite revealing. Taken together, the polls reveal that most of us think we spend too much time singing in church.
In one poll, we asked people to select their least favorite element of corporate worship. The answer: 48% of people chose the announcements, a no brainer! But 13% of the people polled chose the fellowship time, which surprised us. Singing took third place at over 10% as the thing people liked the least about corporate worship.
We then asked people what their most important element of corporate worship was in another poll. Not surprisingly, 32% of the respondents chose the sermon as the most important thing for them personally. Singing came in second place with 20% of the people choosing it, followed by the reading of scripture by 17% of people. Almost as many people view scripture reading and singing as the most important element of corporate worship.
We then asked people in another poll what they would do if their church eliminated singing from the service. We didn’t expect the answer to be what it was. A full 60% of respondents said that they would either stay at the church or probably stay at the church if it ELIMINATED singing. The other 40% said that they would either leave or probably leave and go find another church if the current church cut singing out.
Finally, we asked people straight out “Do We Spend Too Much Time Singing in Church?” After all the other polls are taken into consideration, the answer to this poll makes sense: 58% of people believe that we do spend too much time singing in church.
Let’s recap our un-scientific findings: Ten out of every 100 church goers view singing in church as the element of corporate worship they like LEAST. Only 20 out of every 100 think singing is the BEST part of the service. Further, 60 out of every 100 people would stay at their church if they eliminated singing altogether. Finally, 58 out of every 100 people believe that we sing TOO MUCH at church.
Every church is different, but I have been to over 30 churches in a 5 year span. The findings in these polls matches what I have seen in a multiplicity of church settings: People don’t really care as much about singing as the worship leaders do, and MOST of the people do not engage in singing.
One might think that the proper response to this would be to double down on singing and teach how important singing is. But I think that is the wrong take away. Maybe, possibly, we do sing too much and should cut back on it and add other elements like communion and scripture reading, prayer and confession. For our take on this, check out our post called “If You Want the Church To Worship More, Try This…” or “Rethinking The Contemporary Worship Service.”
Of course, our polls are un-scientific. You can only vote once. Though un-scientific, I think they are a window into the soul or our Sunday Gatherings. If you are a worship leader or pastor, I encourage you to put on some fire retardant clothing prior to publicly agreeing with these polls. At least, hide the rope!
Posted on April 15, 2014, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, Worship and tagged christianity, communion, cross-centered worship, El cristianismo, entertainment, faith, God, inspiration, leadership, Life, Not For itching Ears, religion, seeker-sensitive, singing, worship, Worship Leading. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.