“The connection between the spoken word and the sung word”

The Sunday Sample, Episode 105

Last week the title of the Sunday Sample was, “The worship leader is pastor and prophet”.  We discussed the way in which we viewed our role. Musician? Worship organiser? Worship leader? How about Pastor (Shepherd)? How about prophet?

I was really pleased to see a comment on this broadcast from my old friend Reeta. Truly this is a global community – she sent me her thoughts from Ghana. Here is her post from Facebook:

“In point no 2 he should specifically contact the preacher for his message for the day and choose songs which will reflect and enhance the word of God for the day to allow for an enhanced understanding.”

This is a great point. It set me to thinking about the connections between the spoken word and the sung word. 

Coordinating songs with the message is easier if you follow, as some denominations do, a lectionary with set texts for each Sunday of the year. Even then, some topics are harder to coordinate with songs and hymns than others. We don’t have so many songs about the Trinity compared to those about the cross, for example.

In my tradition however we don’t follow a lectionary. On occasions we decide preaching and teaching topics for a few weeks or months. For example, at the moment in the Watford church of Christ we are preaching through Acts.  When I remember, I tell Danny or Charl or whoever is picking songs what my text is and what my key emphasis is likely to be. I try and do that a week in advance. And, for the Thames Valley churches of Christ I remind the preacher to let the worship leader know what his text or topic will be.

How significant is this?  What I’ve noticed is that for some speakers this question helps them sharpen their thinking, especially if asked well in advance of the lesson. For others, however, it seems to add pressure to their preparation. I wonder what the right balance is here?

What I’d be interested in is to know what your thoughts are as to the significance of connecting songs with the Bible topic or text to be preached on any particular Sunday. Do you see it as essential, optional, preferable, insignificant or as a bonus?

Here are the key questions for today:

  1. “How important is it to link the songs with the message?”
  2. “Why do you have the conviction you do?”

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John