I’ve been reading “Deep and Wide” by Andy Stanley.  In this book he lays out his philosophy of ministry.  As he writes about spiritual formation he lists 5 things that help your faith to grow:

  1. Practical Teaching
  2. Providential Relationships
  3. Private Disciplines
  4. Personal Ministry
  5. Pivotal Circumstances

It’s hard to argue with that list. If you listen to almost anyone’s testimony, you’re going to hear some of these things listed.

As a worship leader, it got me thinking.  What does corporate worship have to do with spiritual formation?  Specifically, what does congregational singing have to do with growing your faith?  Where does it fit in?

First, congregational singing is related to practical teaching.  Good hymns and worship songs put truth together with melody in a way that penetrates our minds and hearts.  And it stays with us.  Congregational worship also prepares our hearts for the preaching and teaching of the word.

Secondly, congregational worship also helps during times of pivotal circumstances.  I can think of one couple who saw their baby daughter endure several heart surgeries.  They told me how much it meant to them to come to church during that time and to sing Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name” with their church family.  That song still reminds them of God’s faithfulness to them through that difficult season.  We also know that often God uses a song to speak to us, or we respond to what God is saying to us through a song.  Again, I’d say these moments are often associated with pivotal circumstances.

Thirdly, songs learned during congregational singing often find their way into our private worship (and vice versa).  So our congregational worship can help us in our private spiritual disciplines –  one more intersection between Stanley’s list and what we do as worship leaders.

Surely there are more.  What are your thoughts?