Why your church doesn’t sing… and what you can do to fix it! (Part 2)

Last week we kicked off a new series about what has become one of the BIG issues facing worship leaders and churches today: the decline of congregational singing.

And whether or not you believe your church is experiencing this right now, the recent trends point to the fact that more and more congregations are singing “less and less”.

Over the next few weeks I want to tackle THREE BIG REASONS for this decline in congregational singing.  The good news is it is within our power as pastors and worship leaders to correct all three… if we’ll get honest about the cause and be willing to make some small (but important) adjustments to our worship leading.

So, let’s look at the first reason your congregation isn’t singing, and what you can do about it…


Recently in the Worship Leader Gold Network Monthly Leadership and Strategy Call I talked about this topic of congregational singing and taught 7 important lessons from John Wesley for how to encourage your congregation to sing.

Gain access to that Leadership Session and instantly receive $813.20 in FREE Bonus resources when you join Worship Leader Gold TODAY!  Plus, receive additional coaching sessions, dozens of Ministry and Leadership Book summaries, and much, much more in your personalized Worship Leader Gold Hub. I’ve put the complete details in the PS below, so keep reading to learn more!


If you’ve been around Worship Leader Insights you know that I am a bit of a contrarian when it comes to worship ministry leadership. I believe we can learn lessons of leadership from the world around us, and this is a lesson we can learn from politics (and Saturday Night Live).

In the 2010 New York governor’s race, candidate Jimmy McMillan gained fame (and an SNL spoof) with his slogan, “The rent is too ____ high.”

The same can be said for much of the worship music being led in churches these days (minus the ____ of course).  The songs being released on worship albums and Christian radio are perfect for professional artists, but too high for your congregation to sing.

Now – I realize that when Chris Tomlin releases a new album that the producers put the songs in the key that is best for Chris (which I’m all for). But that key is usually not best for your congregation. In fact, I rarely (if ever) do a Chris Tomlin song in the original key at The Journey.  We have to make adjustments to ensure that the songs we’re leading are accessible to those in our church.

The average person can sing only about an octave, and cannot readily sing anything over a D.  Yet, almost all of the songs being written today push the melody to E and way beyond. While it may sound great in your voice, the men and women in your congregation are struggling to sing along in a key that simply doesn’t fit them.
Since the people in your church aren’t professional singers with a wide vocal range, you need to lower the key so they can sing it.  

Now, I know what you’re thinking… Does this mean we can never sing above a D?  

I don’t think so. In fact, in a high energy song you can “bump up against” E or F a few times because the congregation is singing out.  However, in slower songs where the energy is lower, it’s much more difficult for the church to reach those same notes.
So, to maximize singing in your church choose your songs and your moments where you stretch the congregation, but then don’t make them sing sustained notes above the threshold of comfort.

One last thing… I’ve found that you can often develop general rules for certain artists and songs.  For example, I generally lower Chris Tomlin songs a third to make them more accessible.  Hillsong Live and Matt Redman tend to be pretty close so I may lower them a second or even lead some songs in the original key. Generally speaking, hymns are written in singable keys for men and women.

What’s important is that when selecting the music for Sunday you think about the people in your church who will be singing these songs (and I’m not talking about the vocal team).

If you make it easier for them to sing, even if it’s a little lower than you like, the congregation will respond by lifting their voices in song.
And then you’re ready to tackle the 2nd reason people aren’t singing in church anymore. More on that next week…

Your partner in ministry,


PS  – Test-drive my brand-new coaching network for 30 days and receive complete access to the Seven Ways to Help Your Congregation Sing (Lessons from John Wesley)” leadership talk.


Plus – receive three additional Coaching Sessions, three Equipping Interviews, over $813.20 in FREE bonus resources immediately, plus much, much more (see below for the exhaustive list of what you’ll receive in this new network) when you join Worship Leader Gold today!

Worship Leader Gold is all about helping you develop a healthy and growing personal life (spiritual, family boundaries, physical) and ministry life (worship team systems, best practices, latest learnings). Believe it or not… you can have both!


When you join this monthly mentorship network THIS WEEK, you will instantly gain access to:


At the heart of the network is a monthly update and briefing from me via LIVE Conference Call. This monthly “pastor to pastor” call (which will be recorded on MP3 for your library) will be a personal, practical, packed-with-content training where I will challenge you, enlighten you, equip you and guide you to maximize your next season of ministry.

With the Worship Leader Gold Monthly Update and Briefing, you’ll always be one step ahead in your planning and fully inspired and equipped to lead your worship ministry at the highest level ($199.00 per month value).

2) Monthly Equipping Interview/Conference Call – with me, Nelson Searcy, one of our mentors, a noted author or ministry leader – previous interviews include Steve Stroope, Larry Osborne, Patrick Lencioni, Tim Stevens and more. Listen live when you can, and you’ll receive an MP3 recording each month ($195.00 per month value).


3) Two practical, nuts-and-bolts CD’s sent directly to your mailbox each month. Even if you can’t make the live briefing or equipping calls – we’ll be sure you don’t miss a thing each month.


4) Monthly bonus mail package to help you stay on track and ahead of the calendar. This monthly kit will be mailed to you, including recordings, transcripts, members-only opportunities, event invitations and more!

5) Private Call-In-Hours where you can talk directly to me ($295.00 per month value).

6) FREE Church Growth Champions newsletter, featuring pioneers of church growth and evangelism to inspire you and your ministry.



7) NEW – Monthly Book Summaries for the duration of your membership. Your Worship  Leader Gold membership includes a complimentary subscription to the leading executive summary service for pastors for no extra charge – that’s 30 book summaries per year ($379.00 per year value).

8) FREE “Growth Points” Newsletter written by Church Growth expert Dr. Gary McIntosh. You will be able to keep up with the latest research and learnings on church growth and church health.

9) RESTRICTED ACCESS Online Membership Site/Blog/Resources ($99.00 per month value). You’ll have instant access to all your Worship Leader Gold benefits, documents, recordings, etc. in your online Worship Leader Gold hub.


10) Continually Updated WORSHIP LEADER GOLD RESOURCE DOCUMENTS AND DIRECTORY ($399.00 per month value). If there’s a document that we use at The Journey or that is shared by someone else in the network (and I think its helpful) I’ll share it with you.


11) Members-Only 30% DISCOUNT on all Worship Leader Insights and Church Leader Insights Resources ($245.00 value).


12) FREE Webinar Access to all Church Leader Insights and Worship Leader Insights Webinars ($197.00 per month value).

13) NETWORK ONLY rates on Coaching Networks and Advanced Coaching Networks
 ($141.00 per month value). As a member of Worship Leader Gold, you’ll be able to enter a future 12-Month Worship Pastor Tele-Coaching Network or put a staff member through one of our other networks at the lowest possible rate.


14) Lowest Event Registration Rate for all Church Leader Insights and Worship Leader Insights Events ($100.00 per month value), including upcoming Renegade Pastors Conferences and Church Systems Bootcamps.

15) $595.00 SHOPPING SPREE Gift Certificate upon completion of your sixth month in the Network (99.00 per month Value)

16) $813.20 in FREE Resources when you join today! These resources will be waiting for you in your Worship Leader Gold Online Hub within two hours of the time you join – you can start taking advantage of these resources immediately!

Total value of resources and training you receive in this network exceed $2,667.00 per month.


But the network is far more than just the resources you receive. The focus this network provides for your ministry and the ideas and insights in your life are simply priceless.

Are you ready to become a member of this exclusive Worship Leader Gold mentoring network?

** Yes Jason, let me in NOW. I’m ready to join Worship Leader Gold and RECEIVE MY FIRST MONTH FREE (just $99 per month thereafter – that’s ONE THIRD the monthly investment of a regular coaching network). But hurry… this is a limited time offer. Join today! **


TUESDAY MORNING INSIGHTS is Jason Hatley’s free weekly training resource specifically designed to provide you as a worship leader with proven principles, tips and practices to help you lead a healthy and thriving Worship Arts Team.

About Jason Hatley and Worship Leader Insights Jason HatleyIn 2002, Jason Hatley helped launch The Journey Church in New York City, directing the programming of their worship services. He serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts and built from scratch The Journey’s worship arts team, a group of over 200 artists and technicians who develop and implement the creative and technical elements at weekly Sunday services. The Journey has been recognized as one of Outreach Magazines fastest growing and most creative churches.

Jason has been a worship leader since 1996. He invests in Worship Pastors around the country through interactive coaching networks and worship planning resources. He has been a featured break-out speaker at the Willow Creek Arts Conference, The Purpose Drive Worship Conference, as well as seminars around the country. He has a B.M. in Sacred Music Performance from Appalachian State University.

Jason is the author of Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services and Revolve: A New Way to See Worship as well as over a dozen worship leader personal and ministry growth resources.

Jason and his family currently live in Boca Raton, FL where he serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey’s newest campus in South Florida.

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