Book Review: Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church
Yes, I am dedicating this entire post to review this book. I’ve read many books on worship and music, and there are many good ones. I can’t say I’ve ever read one so encouraging as this one. I think it is an important book for reviving passionate, joyful, and celebratory congregational singing.
Keith and Kristyn Getty have written some great new hymns for congregational use, including Keith’s first song “In Christ Alone,” co-authored with Stuart Townend. This song is a powerful, doctrinal song telling the whole Gospel story. It has been sung by many Baptist churches and included in recent hymnal editions such as Majesty Music’s Rejoice Hymns.
Click on the image below or follow the title link for the Kindle edition.
Here are the high points of why I felt this was such a helpful book on the topic (and it’s not a long read):
1. The book is predominantly positive about music and worship.
The Bible, by and large, speaks positively about worship and music. I was thankful to read a book that focused on that positivity more than all the negative debates that often surround the topic.
2. The book presents a strong biblical case for congregational singing.
This book is replete with biblical references. We often read books on worship and music that have more to do with someone’s preferences than God’s clear revelation. This book makes a strong biblical case for passionate, joyful singing.
3. The book connects present discussions with the historical development of congregational singing.
The topic of worship and music is often isolated to current or recent developments in church singing. As I shared in a recent post, simple study of the history of hymns would help us avoid ill-informed positions and preferences, such as the elevation of a specific repetoire as more pleasing to God even when that repertoire is less than 150 years old.
4. The book emphasizes the importance of theologically rich texts in church songs.
Shallow texts often lead to shallow worship. This book demonstrates both historically and practically why songs with rich theological content can powerfully fuel our worship.
5. The book emphasizes the importance of singing biblical songs as a family.
This was a special treat. An entire chapter of the book was dedicated to singing as a family. I, for one, was inspired to be more intentional in teaching my children the great songs of our faith.
6. The book demonstrates the evangelistic power of passionate worship.
Passionate worship has is attractive to the world around us. But when our lives, faces, and singing don’t match up with the truths we claim to believe, the world sees right past it. The world sees the hypocrisy. This is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
7. The book gives a specific call to action.
The book ends with a powerful question: will you sing? It’s not enough to know what you believe about music. In fact, sometimes those who hold the highest standards of music are the least passionate about singing. The debates around music have done more to silence the churches worship than to stimulate it.