When our church regathers, should we sing?
This is the “million-dollar question”–one I’ve been asked often over the past 10 days. And, though I wish I had the perfect answer, I don’t. In the oh-so-wise words of Mike Harland, “I have no idea.”
Like many topics related to COVID-19, the unique and diverging perspectives are mind-boggling. Some say, “Don’t sing! It’s not safe!” Others counter, “Christians must sing!”
Here’s what I do know: Church leaders are charged to make wise, well-informed, prayerful decisions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for their unique, particular church contexts. To assist leaders with this decision, here are four diverse, well-written perspectives related to congregational singing in regathered churches.
Key Quote: “For now, it is not safe to sing together.” — Heather Nelson
Risk of Infection Is No Reason to Stop Singing
by Scott Aniol
Key Quote: “Scripture is … clear that when we gather, we should be singing (Col 3:16; Eph 5:19).” — Scott Aniol
Before You Panic: Thoughts on Congregational Singing and Choirs in Light of the Pandemic
by Robert Pendergraft
Key Quote: “Is it wise for us to return to worship with congregational singing and gather our choirs for rehearsals at this point? Baptist polity allows us to arrive at different conclusions. It does not, however, excuse us from wrestling with the issue.” — Robert Pendergraft
Is Congregational Singing Dangerous?
by Ken Boer
Key Quote: “I can’t tell you exactly what you should do in your congregation. Each church is different, and the number of cases in your county, the size of your church, and the number of vulnerable people in your pews will affect how you begin to regather.”– Ken Boer
Churches across the United States will proceed differently. Regardless of our decision, let us do so with the gracious and loving posture encouraged by Ken Boer:
“As we move forward, let’s ask God for wisdom. And let’s offer grace to those who make different decisions than we do. For some in areas with few cases, a rousing song of praise might be the perfect way to come together. For others who are mourning losses and protecting vulnerable members, humming or praying silently to music might be the best option.
In all things, let’s remember: Love does not insist on its own way, but seeks the good of others (1 Cor. 13:5, Gal. 5:13–14).”