We talked last time about how choosing music designed specifically for congregational singing is important for helping our congregations engage on a Sunday morning. But there are many other things that help, so here’s a few more:
The Sound of Others Singing
Readability of Lyrics
presbyopia starts setting in around 40 and only gets worse as we age), you need to take their eyesight into consideration and provide larger letters on a higher-contrast background. Default to the older congregation’s needs in this case; their participation is important to teaching younger generations what gathered worship can be like, but they can’t sing the words they can’t see.
Length of the Gathering
Yes, the rumors are true: if you preach or sing or announce too long, you will lose people. They may be physically present (for now), but their minds are on grocery lists, recipes, their aunt’s surgery … anything but what you’re talking or singing about. But remember, “too long” varies from culture to culture. Keep their attention by having culturally-appropriate gathering-lengths. Again, your mileage may vary: in some parts of Africa, a congregation will not blink at a four-hour gathering, but in parts (ok ok - most) of suburban America, one hour is pushing the attention span of the congregation. This is is not necessarily something to lament, it is simply a difference in culture that requires a difference in methods of communication and types of song. And it once again means that you need to plan carefully.
Leaders Who Are Visibly Participating
Next time: making room for singing on Sunday …