Evangelical churches often start their services with a time of singing. Their tradition started in the Great Awakenings, when there was singing when people came in and took their place. (Hence the term gathering songs.) The singing had the function to emotionally prepare people for when the preacher took the podium.

However, David W. Manner writes:

“The purpose of our worship service music isn’t to prepare our hearts for something else. It doesn’t just set the table for the sermon.”

The Apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesians:

“…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Worship songs don’t just support or lead to something else.

William Temple wrote:

“Our worship songs won’t be seen as just service starters if they

quicken the conscience through the holiness of God,
feed the mind with the truth of God,
purge the imagination by the beauty of God,
open the heart to the love of God,
and devote the will to the purpose of God.”


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