Skip to content ↓

We Don’t Sing for Fun

One of the trends that has swept our society through the past decades is the “funification” of pretty much everything. We have been told and become convinced that everything ought to be fun. I can’t think of a better example than in schools where the rote memorization that was once considered essential to learning was deemed too difficult and unattractive, so was replaced by activities much more enjoyable but much less effective. We can see the theme in media where in-depth examinations of key issues were reduced to soundbite punchlines from late night hosts. The gamification of everything is just a progression from the funification of everything.

Churches have not been immune either and people began to demand fun from their worship services. The call to worship drawn from the Bible was replaced by the funny video clip drawn from pop culture. The sermon that exposited and applied deep biblical truths was replaced by topical sermonettes that skipped most of the deep exposition to focus almost entirely on trite application. Ed Young preaching from a bed and a wrestling ring is not the start of the trend, but its culmination. And then there’s the music. Many churches consider singing the funnest part of the service. The songs they sing and the way they sing them is designed first to be entertaining. Less important than the words are the feels. Less important than the deep truths are the hooks, bridges, and choruses.

Singing is serious business! It is as serious as preaching and prayer and communion.

Yet singing is not prescribed for Christian worship for the purpose of fun. It actually serves a far higher purpose as a means through which we bring mutual encouragement by recounting common truths together. According to Colossians 3:16, we sing from the gospel, for one another, to the Lord. Singing is serious business! It is as serious as preaching and prayer and communion. It is not just a perk or pleasure, but a duty and obligation. It’s both a “get to” and a “got to.”

That’s not to say, of course, that worship should be tedious or uninteresting or the barest recounting of facts. The alternative to fun worship is not worship that is drab or boring, but worship that is meaningful and true, worship that gives voice to the full range of biblical truth and Christian experience. It’s not just about emotion, but reflection. It’s not just about feeling, but thinking. It’s not just about having a good time, but serving others.

If we look to the psalms, we see quickly that “God’s song book” uses the poetic form to recount the complete experience of the believer. The psalms stand in stark contrast to so much of modern worship and surely show us that our singing is to be far more than fun and to contain far more than declarations of victory. Some songs may be fun, but others are somber. Some of them may be full of joy, but others are full of sorrow. Some of them may prompt us to raise our hands and dance in the aisles, but others may prompt us to be stock-still and to weep in silence. Many of the psalms aren’t particularly fun to sing, but they are good and necessary and healthy. They show us that we are to sing about everything, including things are are no fun at all. Singing allows us to celebrate, but also to lament; to give thanks, but also to confess; to declare, but also to beseech; to express, but also to ponder.

Singing can be fun and at times will be fun. But God has designed and prescribed it to serve a far higher, far better purpose than that.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (April 13)

    A La Carte: The pain of being single; the love that holds me fast / The Christian response to cultural catastrophe / The reduction of public Bible reading / All Things (a new song) / Why should I go to church? / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Moody Publishers)

    This giveaway is sponsored by Moody Publishers, who also sponsored the blog last week with Overflowing Mercies. Attention all Bible scholars, believers in the power of faith, and lovers of the Word! Learn about God’s divine mercy and compassion with our exclusive Bible Study Giveaway. Win the ultimate bible study library including Overflowing Mercies by…

  • How Should We Then Die

    How Should We Then Die?

    Euthanasia makes a lot of sense. At least in our culture at this time, it makes intuitive sense that those who are ill without hope for a cure or those who are in pain without likelihood of relief ought to be able to choose to end their own lives. Our culture assumes there are few…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (April 12)

    A La Carte: Is God always pleased with Christians? / Southern Baptists debate designation of women in ministry / Good growth / Planted and rooted / Both worm and worthy / Scotland’s destiny and the rewriting of history / and more.

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (April 11)

    A La Carte: 4 reasons why the Bible does not support transgenderism / Your elders will fail you / 25 questions a Christian woman should ask herself when a man starts to show interest / The same person in every room / Is the story of Job historical? / Book and Kindle deals / and…

  • The Sun Is Blotted from the Sky

    The Sun Is Blotted from the Sky

    Men of great physical strength have sometimes carried outrageously heavy burdens—six hundred pounds, seven hundred pounds, eight hundred. And even then they have said, “I still have not been fully tested. Put on some more weight! Load me up!” With confidence they have gripped the bar and with great straining and groaning they have lifted…