"Christians sing, it’s just what we do.”
Many Christians would agree with this statement, but most cannot explain why, and in a culture where singing is only one of many artistic expressions, it becomes harder and harder to make sense of historic Christian rituals and how they fit into worship. As we invite students and congregations into the Gospel within the context of local churches, helping them engage in worship is key to healthy discipleship.
“Worship" is a word Christians use a lot, but if asked what precisely it is, one gets different kinds of answers. In most cases, people usually just mean the “singing” portion of gatherings. As we seek to fulfill the Great Commission and bring people from all corners of the earth into the Church, there is a growing need to create an apologetic for the role corporate worship plays in the spiritual vitality of believers. Singing has traditionally taken up a significant portion of time in corporate worship, so without a robust understanding of why Christians engage in this public ritual and what actually happens when they do, there is little compulsion for people to unite themselves to local churches.
I do not aim to cover every aspect of Christian worship in this essay; that is much too large of a topic for just a few pages. However, there are a few areas of confusion specifically around singing that will greatly aid our ministry if we understand them better. We need to: 1) clarify what worship is at its very core, outside of singing, 2) describe how singing, specifically, is an act of worship, 3) define what singing is and how we engage with it, and 4) look at the effect singing has on us while we worship and what to expect when we do it.
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As the CCO seeks to engage college students through the hands of the local church, we have compiled a song list designed to strengthen the worship of student-led campus gatherings as well as exhibit CCO singing culture to campus staff and church partners. There are many great music resources for Christians, but selections that are singable for the average voice, yet artistically satisfying and culturally appropriate, are often hard to find. This is far from an exhaustive list of good songs to sing. Rather, this collection was submitted by a group of music leaders within the CCO community as recommendations for our ministries.
In an effort to preach (and sing) the whole Gospel, we have included four theological perspectives that provide context for how to use each song (personal redemption, corporate redemption, Kingdom labor, and work of Christ). The goal is that our singing would not just be a fun ritual, but that it would enable sincere worship for a diversity of students and ministries.
More about Daniel Snoke HERE.