Why your church doesn’t sing… and what you can do to fix it (Part 3)

Want to know a sure-fire way to keep your church from singing this Sunday?

I didn’t think so 🙂  But the truth is, if you’re making one of these THREE BIG MISTAKES you in fact are keeping your congregation from singing.

Recently I kicked off this new series about what has become one of the major 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”.

Today we’re going to tackle the second reason for this decline in congregational singing, as well as what you can do about it in your church.

But first an important reminder — while it is within our power as pastors and worship leaders to remove all of these obstacles to singing in our churches, it will take some work (and willingness) to make small, but important adjustments to our worship leading.

If that’s you and you’re willing, then let’s talk about the second reason…

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! 


Have you ever been to a church service where the band is fully engaged in worship, but a significant percentage of the audience is sitting back, watching, checking their phones and wondering when the set is going to end?
The band may be well-rehearsed, musically excellent and have genuine hearts for the Lord, but if the songs they’re leading are too complicated the congregation is going to check out.
Remember… the average person in your church is not a trained musician. What comes easy to you does not come easy to them. So, do your best to exclude songs that require large interval jumps or complex rhythmic, melodic and harmonic lines.
And watch your language, too (no… I don’t mean it that way).  Be aware of the phrasing and type of language used in a song. If the song is completely me-focused, it’s likely not a good corporate song choice. If the lyrics are overly specific about certain life experiences, you may alienate a significant portion of your congregation who can’t relate.
If the lyrics are difficult or feel more like a solo than a congregational song you’re likely to create spectators rather than worshipers.

Martin Luther, following the Reformation, not only translated the Bible into the vernacular (“language of the people”) for people to read and understand, he did the same with music in the church.  After centuries of music being performed only by priests and skilled musicians, it was once again being written so that the people could sing it.

Yet, nearly 500 years later we are seeing a reversal back to the pre-Reformation days of skilled musicians (the worship team) doing most of the singing while the congregation remains silent. We would do well to follow Luther’s example of making songs singable for our churches.

The truth is many of the songs be written and released for churches today are wonderfully written and theologically sound, but they’re simply too hard for the average person in your church to sing.
Does this mean they shouldn’t be written… that God doesn’t use them… or that we should not purchase any music that isn’t “congregation friendly”?
Of course not!
But it does mean that as worship leaders we must choose wisely the songs we lead on Sunday. Just because a song is on a “worship” album doesn’t mean that it’s right for your congregation.
Regardless of how much we like them and the band that recorded them, we just have to pass on some songs when it comes to congregational worship.
In Ephesians 5:19-20 Paul instructs the church to, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When we select songs that the congregation can sing we are doing our part to help the church fulfill this command and sing worship to the Lord.
Your partner in ministry,


PS – This series of articles on Congregational Singing was inspired by a leadership talk that I gave to my Worship Leader Gold network recently called, Seven Ways to Help Your Congregation Sing (Lessons from John Wesley)”.


Now – you can have complete access to this exclusive leadership session, AND 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
In 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.