This last Sunday we tried something a little different. We had a song service with no instruments. Actually, that’s not quite correct. The only instruments in use were human. Vocal cords were vibrating, but no guitar strings etc.

It was a good example of a situation enforced upon us leading to a refreshing change. For some reason we were not able to get into our usual venue in time to set up for the use of instruments. Therefore we decided to go for voices only. What a delightful alteration to what we normally do!

Have you tried a voices only Sunday recently? The tradition in which I’ve been ministering for many years has an a cappella background. We moved away from that a number of years ago. But, those of us who knew that tradition well also know that we have lost something.

There’s a special sound the congregation makes when it is fully dependent on the voice for producing the sound of corporate musical worship. And there’s a special sound that comes when people are singing from the heart.

Why don’t we do it more often? Perhaps because we think the congregation won’t enjoy it. Maybe we are worried that people won’t sing out when the people around them can hear them sing (or squawk!) more clearly than when the instruments are covering the sound of what comes out of their mouth!

Perhaps we don’t know enough songs that will sound good without instruments. You’d be surprised. Many more people know the old songs than we might realise.

When’s the last time you did a voices only Sunday service? Not a devotional, nor a small group gathering, but a standard Sunday service? What stops you from doing it? Give it a go. Here are the songs we used:

  1. How majestic is your name
  2. Holy, holy, holy
  3. In the kingdom
  4. Stand in awe
  5. Jesus, keep me near the cross
  6. What a friend we have in Jesus
  7. I hear God singing to me

There’s nothing wrong with using instruments. I enjoy playing my piano and I believe it and the other instruments we often use enhance our worship much of the time. But, what about a change?

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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