How can we fix song service?

By: Patrick Miller

One of the many distinctive features of Andrews Academy’s student life is that a schoolwide chapel is held every day. Between the 8:00 and 9:20 class periods, a 20-minute block is reserved for all the students to gather for worship and praise together. Amazingly, the faculty sponsor is usually able to find a different speaker each day, and if an outside speaker is unavailable a teacher or student will step forward to give a spiritually themed talk.

While this could be a truly engaging spiritual time, it turns out that not too many people pay attention. When asked about the percentage of students that sleep during chapel and what percent are awake and listening, Andrews Academy junior Daniel Morant answers, “Depending on the speaker, I would say at least 30% of students sleep during chapel, and only 70% are awake and maybe listening to the sermon. But that’s on a good day.”

So what could we do to fix about our chapel? What will help wake students up and engage them?

One important thing I would change is the song service. Before the scheduled program begins, most days we have several students who go up front and lead the other students in praise songs. An effective song service will set the tone of worship and encourage us into a frame of mind where we will listen to the message. If we have people getting excited about the music, students might actually be awake for the rest of the chapel.

When I was a freshman, it seems to me that the seniors were very active in leading the praise service, and many students really participated in singing and doing the motions. However, as I have gotten older and become an upperclassman, there has been a prevailing culture to not sing in front of others. What happens when people get up front is that they end up performing a kind of special music for everyone in the audience.

So what can we do to improve the musical worship in our chapel? Senior Olivia Woodard said, “The singers who are up front need to be coordinated well, and sound good together. That way people won’t be focusing on their flaws and mistakes, and will focus on the music instead.”

Senior Sandra Mosimbwa said, “We should sing different songs that people like, and have song leaders that interact with the audience and encourage them to sing. It’s not like the audience is singing right now anyway, so song leaders have nothing to lose by being pushy and calling people out.”

All of this advice is good, but in order for it to work we need song leaders who are willing to use their talents up front for God. So I encourage you, readers, if you have a gift, step up. The rest of us are just waiting for someone to lead out.

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